Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Makabuhay (Tinospora rumphii Boerl)

The makabuhay plant is a clinging vine, and the name itself suggests the primary purpose of such plant. Makabuhay is a Filipino translation of the English term ‘pro-life or to give life’. It is commonly known as the paliahan in the Visayas region. The plant belongs to the family of Menispermaceae, and can grow, or rather climb, up to fifteen meters long. The makabuhay leaves are thin sheets that are heart-shaped, and its flowers look distinct as they only have three petals. The makabuhay plant is known for its bitter nature, and the fruits of this plant are held in clusters, which can be as long as two centimeters. This plant may be propagated by planting its stem, which contains a bitter sap. However, it is important to note that makabuhay can be found in most forests all over the Philippines. It grows in tropical areas, and it is of little wonder why it is abundant in a country like the Philippines. The fruits of this plant have not been utilized nor established to have medicinal values. Only the leaves and the stems of makabuhay have been found to cure particular health concerns. For the stems, both the dried and the fresh stems are found to be beneficial.

Health Benefits of Makabuhay Plant:
The stem of makabuhay plant is a primary ingredient used to concoct preparations that would prevent spread of malaria, and may be used as cleanser for skin ulcer and skin wounds. Clinical tests have shown that the decoction of this plant cures diarrhea, indigestion and scabies. Also, it is an effective ointment for pains caused by rheumatism. However, young children below the age of three, pregnant women, patients with typhoid fever, those who are suffering from pneumonia, and people diagnosed with heart problems, should not in any way take decoction that contains makabuhay, because their weak state will be in conflict with the strong medicinal effects that it manifests.

Preparation and Use of Makabuhay:It has been mentioned earlier that this plant have several medicinal uses. Thus, the form, preparation, and manner of intake also vary according to the purpose for which it will be taken. For instance, when makabuhay is going to be used as an ointment for rheumatism, its preparation is different in such a manner that the stems have to be chopped. It is suggested that the chopped stems amount to one-half glass and such stems are supposed to be fried for five minutes in a glass of coconut oil, under low fire. Then, the stems are to be separated after frying, after which ½ glass of grated candle wax should be incorporated to it. As soon as the wax have already dissolved and cooled down, the prepared ointment can already be applied to the body, except for the face, for three successive nights.

A similar preparation is to be observed when makabuhay is to be used to eradicate intestinal worms, and cure fever brought about by malaria. However, instead of sautéing, the stems are supposed to be boiled. In preparing this particular decoction, 30 grams of fresh makabuhay stems, or 25 grams of dried ones, are supposed to be boiled for twenty minutes in three cups of water. The extracts can be derived by subjecting the boiled preparation in a strainer, therefore removing the stems from the substance that are necessary to address the health concern discussed. The preparation should be taken and drank in half a cup, twice a day before the first and last meals of the day. Like any other medicinal plant preparation, should there be complications suffered or no marked improvements seen after administering the said preparation, treatment should be discontinued and a physician is to be consulted.