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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Back Pains

One day, my husband complained of terrible back pains. I knew that it must have been a bad case because my husband hardly complains. The excruciating pain was in his lower back. In my mind , I was thinking, finally, my husband is suffering the consequences of his " champuy ' days. He probably has kidney stones, he needs a dialysis and maybe later on a kidney transplant. My mind just went on and on.

I told him I didn't know any body in the Kidney Center of the Philippines but I knew Boy Fajarfo and maybe he would want to see him. My husband is just like me, we are both scared of doctors so he agreed right away.

Upon meeting Boy, he was asked to remove his watch and Boy took his pulse. Boy said everything was ok with him except that he had high uric acid levels. My husband had just taken his blood tests a week ago and everything was normal except for his uric acid.

I mentioned the back pains , Boy looked at it and he said ' nalamigan'  . He started giving my husband a hilot massage , told him to keep his back covered with warm clothing and to remove the electric fan hitting his back! I almost choked on his last advise because my husband had just bought a floor fan and put it right behind him and used it to keep him cool while he did his computer work. It was also hitting him exactly where his pains were.

Gosh, I never thought that the innocent electric fan would be the culprit , so we had to get rid of it and his pains disappeared. That was about 8 years ago.

Be careful that you don't expose your body to a cold draft for prolonged periods, it might just cause you some sort of pain.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Viva Victoria!

I saw Ms. Aleli Pansacola on cable TV about 10 years ago. She was featured in Living Asia channel.  For some reason, they kept on replaying her episode, I began to think she was a good friend of mine because I saw her so often!

Aleli  is the manufacturer of Daila Herbal Products. Her Victoria Laundry Soap won at least 5 Awards of Recognition in different European Trade Fairs. Victoria is coconut oil based and all natural. It is very economical too because you dont need fabric conditioners or a bleaching agent because it naturally softens the clothes ( not very soft though) and your white clothes become whiter too!  You will have to use less Victoria soap for the dark clothes .

Sometimes I even use the laundry bar version for bathing, that's how natural it is! I told my sister in law to recycle the Victoria  water for her plants and guess what---- her flowering plants in the entrance of her home bloomed !

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Probiotics

Another gentleman in our  home pretends to be disinterested in everything that I do that is organically related! When I make kwento over dinner about my  ' good finds'  he is just gulping down all the food , I don't even think he chews them!! Oh my ! But now I know his secret, he has all the good bacteria, chewing on all the food that he just downed with water!

This is his stash of probiotics----amazing isn't it ?
 

Monday, 27 June 2011

Castor Oil


It is quite unglamorous to admit that I had a tiny wart near my thumb when I was 30 years old. I was either lazy or embarrassed to go to the dermatologist. At that time, I had a book by Edgar Cayce ( no computers yet at that time) and he wrote that to remove warts, put a dab of Castor Oil on it. I followed his advice and in a few days, my wart disappeared.

I am the living proof that Castor Oil does remove warts. It is also a very powerful laxative!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Headaches

Last year, before going on a short trip, I kept on getting recurring headaches. It went on everyday for about a week .  I kept on praying and thought that it was a sign from God that I shouldn't take a trip. Perhaps God had better plans for me - Something else but not the trip. Every morning , I would wake up with a headache , then it would disappear , then it would come back again.

I started doing my research on natural cures for headaches and I realized that I was dehydrated and it was possibly  causing my headaches.

An Ayurvedic doctor told me not to take any liquid during my meals. He says that the liquids would wash down the enzymes that comes with the saliva and he had so many explanations regarding the theory which sounded right to me but I can't seem to remember anymore. He suggested that I take my water 30 minutes after the meal!

I have been following his advise for years but during the headache period, I realized that I FORGOT to drink water 30 minutes after the meals. As a matter of fact , I completely forgot to drink water because I would get so preoccupied with other things.

When I started taking my 8 to 10 glasses of water, my headaches disappeared. I guess God's plan was for me to remember to drink water and nothing else. Life is really so simple after all.

So before you drink that painkiller, try drinking lots of water first.


Saturday, 25 June 2011

Throat Coats


My daughter,Rosanna, takes this concoction to battle sore throats! She was kind enough to share the recipe!

1 cup hot water
2 tbps apple cider vinegar
2 tbps honey
a dash of cayenne pepper

OR
you can substitute the apple cider vineger for fresh calamansi juice if you'd prefer!!! 

Friday, 24 June 2011

Ilocos Abel

I really try my best to be as natural and as Filipino as I can be. Instead of using comforters , woolen blankets , down or goose feathers to protect me from the cold of the air conditioning, I use the handwoven cotton blankets from Ilocos. They are quite thin and light so i usually have 2 or 3 of them in my bed in case it rains in the middle of the night and the temperature goes down. The fact that it is all cotton allows my body to breathe even when I am submerged inside all those blankets.

These Abel Ilocos blankets are so easy to maintain. The fact that they are handwoven makes them strong and will last through so many washings.

More importantly, buying them helps our Ilocano brothers meet their daily needs!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Cloves



There is big gentle man in our home who is scared of dentists but I can't tell you who he is. I promised him that I will respect and honor his privacy so I won't tell you his name.

Once he had a very bad toothache, it was soooooo bad, he stayed glued to the Internet just finding ways and means to alleviate his pain.

Voila, he read that CLOVE OIL , would do the trick, . He went to the kitchen and looked through our spice rack and settled for the regular MCCormick CLOVE spice. He rubbed the spice all over the affected area and true enough his toothache was gone.

When you smell the clove , you will notice that it smells exactly like something in a dentists clinic when you bring your mouth there for repairs.

Salt of the Earth

 
Finding natural rock salt is a fete! Everything available in the local market is iodized. To avoid the iodized ones,  I had to buy imported ones -  himalayan , kosher, mediterranean etc,,.

Last summer,on the way to Nasugbu, the fishermen were ' harvesting' seasalt. I was overjoyed at my good luck! bought one small sack for P180.00. How good God is, He answered my prayer. Thank you God! 


Here is additional info about Salt:
Salt: Vital Functions of Natural Unrefined Sea Salt (NUSS) / Rock Salt (Sindhav Namak) in the Body

Although it is generally advised to have zero salt or low salt diet, salt is essential for many of the vital functions of the body. Excessive salt in diet is no doubt harmful for health, but no salt or very low salt diet is also equally harmful. There should be regulated use of salt according to one’s health and lifestyle. Refined salt is a harmful chemical and therefore should be avoided. Although several varieties and brands of salts are available in the market, one should use only natural unrefined sea salt or rock salt and no other variety.

1) Salt is most effective in stabilizing irregular heartbeats and, contrary to the misconception that it causes high blood pressure, it is actually essential for the regulation of blood pressure—in conjunction with water. Naturally the proportions are critical.

2) Salt is vital to the extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body, particularly the brain cells.

3) Salt is vital for balancing the sugar levels in the blood, a needed element in diabetics.

4) Salt is vital for the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body. It is used for local power generation at the sites of energy need by the cells.

5) Salt is vital to the nerve cells' communication and information processing all the time that the brain cells work, from the moment of conception to death.

6) Salt is vital for absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract.

7) Salt is critical for the maintenance of osmotic balance.

8) Salt is essential for maintaining homeostasis in the body.

9) Salt is vital for the clearance of the lungs of mucus plugs and sticky phlegm, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis.

10) Salt is vital for clearing up catarrh and congestion of the sinuses.

11) Salt is essential for the prevention of muscle cramps.

12) Salt is vital to prevent excess saliva production to the point that it flows out of the mouth during sleep. Needing to constantly mop up excess saliva indicates salt shortage.

13) Salt is absolutely vital to making the structure of bones firm. Osteoporosis, in a major way, is a result of salt and water shortage in the body. At the same time excessive intake of salt results in osteoporosis and bone mineral loss with age.

14) Salt is vital for sleep regulation. It is a natural hypnotic.

15) Salt is a vitally needed to retain water in the body. Without salt all the water consumed will be lost through perspiration and bladder movement, leaving the body dehydrated.

16) Salt on the tongue will stop persistent dry coughs.

17) Salt is vital for the prevention of gout and gouty arthritis.

18) Salt is vital for maintaining sexuality and libido.

19) Salt is vital for preventing varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs.

20) Salt is vital for reducing a double chin. When the body is short of salt, it means the body really is short of water. The salivary glands sense the salt shortage and are obliged to produce more saliva to lubricate the act of chewing and swallowing and also to supply the stomach with water that it needs for breaking down foods. Circulation to the salivary glands increases and the blood vessels become "leaky" in order to supply the glands with water to manufacture saliva. The "leakiness" spills beyond the area of the glands themselves, causing increased bulk under the skin of the chin, the cheeks and into the neck.

21) Sea salt contains about 80 mineral elements that the body needs. Some of these elements are needed in trace amounts. Natural unrefined sea salt is a better choice of salt than other types of salt on the market. Ordinary table salt that is bought in the super markets has been stripped of its companion elements and contains additive elements such as aluminum silicate to keep it dry and easily pourable. According to latest research aluminium is found to be a very toxic element for our nervous system. It is implicated as one of the primary causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

22) Twenty-seven percent of the body's salt is in the bones. Osteoporosis results when the body needs more salt and takes it from the bones. Bones are twenty-two percent water. It is obvious what happens to the bones when we're deficient in salt or water or both.

In the theory of acid and alkaline balance, chronic disease such as cancer is caused by the acidification of the blood, lymph and all cellular tissues. Natural unrefined sea salt is one of the basic elements necessary to correct this problem.

Natural unrefined sea salt is slightly gray with minerals and feels damp or clumps in humidity. It contains 92 essential minerals and most of refined adulterated sea salts contain only 2 elements—sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl). Biologically, 24 of these elements in real sea salt have already been proven necessary and essential to maintain and recover health. The salinity of the water outside the cells in our bodies is the same as the ocean. See Scientific American, July 1972: "The Chemical Elements of Life," by Earl Friden.

People who eat refined salt develop craving for salt, because, salt that they eat is not satisfying their needs. Than they use more and more salt, in the desperate try to get what they need. Taking big amounts of refined salt (chemical), burden kidneys and adrenal glands, that are very important for calcium utilization. Moreover refined salt contains aluminium silicate, which is harmful for the nervous system and the brain. Modern physiology has demonstrated that an excess of salt interferes with the absorption of nutrients and depletes calcium, while if used in moderate doses, salt enhances calcium absorption and nutrient utilization in general. 

It is known that absorption of calcium depends on the health of the kidney-adrenal function and that calcium metabolism is of essential importance for the health of the nerves, muscles, heart, vascular system, and bones. Simply, the whole body is dependant on Calcium uptake.

Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Shantanu Deshpande says, “The normal requirement of salt is just 500mg per day. Normally excessive salt is excreted in the urine. But in almost 50% of individuals, the kidneys are not able to handle the excess sodium. Excess salt in the blood stream retains more water resulting in a rise in blood volume and blood pressure. It also results in hypertrophy of heart and blood vessel musculature resulting in permanent rise in blood pressure. These effects are more pronounced in the elderly and diabetics. Reducing salt intake in the diet reduces blood pressure. A low salt diet containing less than 5 gms of salt per day is recommended for high blood pressure patients who should avoid foods like pickles, cheese, processed food, and junk food.”

Senior Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Rajiv Bhagwat says, “Increase the intake of potassium, which is found in plenty in fruits, legumes, nuts and vegetables. Their intake is an effective means to reduce blood pressure.”

“Unless one is specifically advised by a qualified specialist about limiting or stopping one's (natural unrefined sea) salt intake, it should not be done so because it can cause terrible weakness, drowsiness, depression, convulsions and even coma. Even hypertensive patients need not live with this fear about salt. Normal salt intake is fine, but excess salt in the diet (consumption of French fries, pickles, paapad-s, chaat masaalaa etc.) should be avoided,” according to Consultant Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Vijay Surase.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

My frustration


via emedicinehealth

My great grandmother on my mother' s side must have been absent when God distributed beautiful feet. Some of my aunts , my mom included, and I  have terrible bunion problems.

It may be painless to some of my family but to me it is a real discomfort! A podiatrist told me to wear only shoes with arch support. I must have purchased all the colors of Birkenstock in one sitting! Then I had a custom made insole done so i can put them inside my closed shoes. What a disaster! .The insole can only fit  inside the wide Minnie Mouse looking Mary Janes! Can you imagine a grandmother wearing Minnie Mouse shoes with her draped formal gowns? My  two fashionista daughters would disown me!

There is really no hope  for my feet ,  surgery is  a definite NO !I  I am only left with these contraptions or toe separators  that I put in between my toes every night , I wear nice looking socks over them to hold them snugly in place . I religiously do this  for fear of my toes going on top of each and they will end up looking like crab claws . Most of all, I pray that my bunion would just stop growing, for the sake of my husband who sometimes feels the brunt of my frustration!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Sambong

When my only son was in college, he would show me the skin allergy  on his back which would become more pronounced every time he would play basketball. Perhaps his clothes were not rinsed properly so I would always remind our helper to rinse them well.

Finally took him to Boy Fajardo  and he advised me to switch to Victoria Laundry soap . He also told my son to shower with  sambong leaves  boiled in water. The sambong leaves could be bought in Quiapo from a vendor named  ' Nora Aunor. ' ( not the singer ) .

I told my staff to buy P200 worth of sambong leaves in Quiapo . Little did I know that she would be bringing home two heavy sacks of sambong. She even had to take a taxi just to bring them home!

Our cook boiled the leaves in a huge vat of water,  and we would all  use it for our daily  baths for a week as we had an oversupply of sambong. The scent of the sambong was very mild. It was a mix of citrus and woody elements. It reminded me of camphor.

Later on, I read that the sambong has astringent properties , our grandparents must have used them as sponge baths . Some people would even immerse their body parts that had arthritis just to help them heal faster!

I will remind my only son to  remind me to take my sambong baths if I get arthritis in my old age! 

Sunday, 19 June 2011

sweet dreams

When I go through my crazy hectic  days, I look forward to a nice cup of tarragon tea! Be sure to boil the tarragon leaves in a stainless steel pot . Cover the teacup with a saucer so that the leaves will steep some more .

I always fall into a deep sleep after a while. Hope this will work for some of you who have sleeping concerns.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Hairstyling

I have natural confused curls. I have been going to the same hairdresser for years because he is the only one who can tame my curls.

Aside from a good haircut, I also have different hair equipment that answers my daily needs. I have a wide wooden tooth comb. I use this when I don't want to use the hairdryer and I don't want my hair to be pouffy

I have a huge  wooden hair brush, that I use for blow drying my hair . I think it gives my hair a reasonable volume without making me look as if I just stepped out of the parlor everyday.

I have a carabao horn comb, the salesgirl in the bazaar says it prevents the growth of gray and white hair.I don't know if that's true though because when I bought the comb I already had the grey and white streaks.

I also have a nice absorbent towel that I use in place of a hairdryer. It leaves my hair shinier but I don't dare go out of the house with towel dried hair.

I also have a  hair brush with '  boars'  hair as bristles and ivory handles. This  was a gift from my mom when I was still in my teens.  This one really really tames my curls and I love it!

Last but not the least, I have my fingers that I run through my wet hair. It's a good substitute to the towel but it is not able to straighten the curls on lthe left side of my head.

From time to time , I ask Little Miss Dress Up , if she noticed anything new with my hair?she just gives me a blank stare.......!!!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Good Morning Juice



My heavy morning breakfast consists of one of the following fruit shakes.

1. Watermelon, slice of pineapple, 2 bananas,  calamansi juice
2. Watermelon,  2 bananas,  calamansi juice, guayabano
3. Melon, 2  bananas  calamansi juice, papaya
4. 2  bananas,  melon, dalandan

Every morning, the fruits are all freshly chopped in bite size pieces , ( except  for the calamansi juice) and put in a blender. They are also at room temperature and it would take me all of  twenty seconds to gulp the fruit shake down.  I find that I never get hungry till about midday .

I never eat anything with my fruit shake, I also prefer local fruits, I think they have less preservatives than the imported ones. I want to start my day as natural and healthy as can be ........ because by dinner time, I have already fallen into temptation.

There is always a new day to try again.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

the final rinse



Falling hair has never been a problem with me , I think my hair roots ate securely embedded in my scalp! Whether, I comb my hair or brush it, they just never seem to fall off. I attribute this to the fact that I have been using a coconut oil based , lavender scented shampoo . I also don't dye my hair so maybe the dye stuff has not weakened my hair  roots yet.

But what I do regularly use for my hair is the juice of about 8 calamansi. I apply it  to my scalp or use a fine tooth comb to let the juices go  through my hair. I think it gives my hair a natural shine.

During nights when my grandchildren sleep over,and they see me preparing my nightly rituals of coconut oil and calamansi--- they will one day ask me if I am a macaroon or a calamansi shake.

I will tell them that I am both!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

lemongrass



The first Philippine herbal tea that I took was Tanglad tea or lemongrass. My cholesterol level made me a first honor in the blood chemistry department. I would get high marks both in cholesterol and uric acid subjects. I knew I had to cut down on my sweets and nuts but that is easier said than done....so I decided to take the tea instead.

When you make the tea, be sure to wash the stalks very well, especially the lower white part of the lemongrass. It is only this part that should be made into tea, you can always alter the taste by adding or lessening the water. You can also add raw wild honey to improve the taste.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

the powerful leaf

About 2 years ago, I read an article on Ashitaba, in the Inquirer. Bio Research was propagating it and giving away the medicinal plant for free. You can click on this link to read more about it.

The very next day, I sent my staff to get some ashitaba, we planted it in  some pots but realized that the best way to propagate it was by planting them directly in the garden. The pots somehow stifled their growth. They started mushrooming all over the garden in no time, all of my workers were benefitting from it. It's some sort of cure all plant, and can be taken as a salad or mixed with natural fruit juices.

Everyday for breakfast, my younger brother has an organic mix of  4  slivers  of garlic, a small onion , pineapple, watermelon, banana and 8 ashitaba leaves , all blended to make a powerful cocktail. He claims his triglycerides have gone down considerably and his blood pressure is stable.

He also doesn't have bad breath inspite of the  daily intake of raw  garlic and onions!

Monday, 13 June 2011

see clearly


The first time my husband saw me sitting erectly at the edge of the bed, my eyes rolling up and down, left and right, he thought I was crazy. He was asking me what was happening but I totally ignored him. I continued rolling my eyes even more, making them bigger and bigger and bigger!

And then I would look far , then near, then far and near. Between these, I would  be rubbing the palms of my hands together and would lay them on my closed eyes!,  Then he freaked out because I continued to ignore him. I was having an insanity attack, he thought , and the more I made my eyes bigger!

Then after 15 minutes, I told him about my new obsession, I didn't want to wear reading  eyeglasses so I was exercising the muscles of my eyes. Years ago, I just bought a CD on the internet on how to See Clearly and was practicing it.

I am way way past the golden age and I still don't wear reading glasses. Thank God!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

hola guava

 

The past two weeks, I have been obsessed with guava leaves. I think it all started when my 2 year old granddaughter had a wound as big as a one peso coin. No one remembers how she got it , but when I got the call from my daughter about the wound, I had racing thoughts on what  natural poultice to put on it.

I zeroed in on the guava, simply because I would remember my mother reminding me to use the tea of guava leaves to heal the wounds of natural childbirth.

An empty lot near our home has a huge guava tree, I decided to pick some  leaves, the  young light green ones not the dark green leaves . My granddaughter was taking her afternoon nap, I washed the guava leaves with organic Victoria soap to remove any residue from pollution and pounded them. I then put them on her wound and covered it with a gauze. Thank God, my son in law wasn't asking what was on her leg. I asked the yaya to try to keep the guava poultice overnight .

The next morning , I called the yaya to put the guava leaves again..... After  two days, the wound was completely healed. Was I imagining it ? Or was it a miracle? I always marvel at all these natural gifts from God! So many possibilities, we just have to look around us.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

pandan to the rescue

 


saving the world from ipis one pandan at time

My number  1 enemy  are cockroaches. Sometimes, I feel they are smarter than me. Just when I thought that  I finally tortured them to death , I find out that they have moved to a new dying place in a few minutes.

A cockroach cannot be declared DEAD unless you see all the white juices oozing out of them , after you give them the last 'tadyak ' . My senses are so attuned to them that I can smell them the moment I enter a room.

Our homeowners association encourages fumigation for mosquitoes, insects , cockroaches but I choose to fight my battle with cockroaches differently.

About 8 years ago , some  herbalist friends of mine , Aleli and Boy, suggested that I scatter Pandan leaves all over the house and in the garden. Was surprised to find the Pandan leaves selling at p6.00  per bunch. I would tie these stalks into cute little knots and throw them all over the place! After two nights, I would notice dead ( really super dead) cockroaches being swept away . The best part of the mass slaughter, is I didn't use any weapon  toxic to humans or pets!

 The rare occasions that I see a flying cockroach is not life threatening to me anymore, I know that the moment they land on a surface , I can easily knock them down with a light jab! I know that it is the scent of PANDAN leaves that drives them nuts and this makes me happy.....sort of. 

smells like vinegar


One day, little miss dress up was running a very high fever, I desperately wanted to bring down the fever to make her feel more comfortable.. I remember a tv episode 'Balintataw' where I appeared as the daughter of Barbara Perez and Robert Arevalo. This was decades ago , and in that episode I was nursing a fever , and Barbara would put a towelette soaked in vinegar on my forehead.

I googled in the Internet and read up on this home remedy . In between giving little miss dress up sponge baths of tap water every 30 minutes. I also put a towel soaked in vinegar on her forehead. I even did extreme measures by letting her wear socks soaked in vinegar too. I would resoak the towel and socks in vinegar every hour. Little miss dress up was too weak to complain about the smelly vinegar , I covered her in a thick blanket and slept beside so I can guard her fever with my life. ( none of my kids hardly ever got sick while growing up so when they do, my panic button is on red alert)


The next day , Little miss dress up was up and about with no trace of the weakness and high fever of the previous day.

Up to this day, I never told her that the vinegar I used was the SINAMAK variety, one that is filled with chili peppers etc. We had run out of the plain traditional Quezon organic vinegar earlier!

Forgot to mention that I would give her two 200 mg tablets of Provimin spirulina every 6 hours to improve her immune system and lots of water too, but I made sure she didn't drown.

chocolat



I love to eat all things organic except.........chocolates.  I will believe all the benefits of eating chocolates, whether imagined or not.

Each night I pop one into my mouth, I have a ready defense in my mind --- Chocolates are anti depressants. This being the case, I tiptoe happily to the fridge.

le sponge de becky


I was first introduced to  natural sea sponges about 40 years ago. I can't remember ever being without them. I'd panic when my sponges start falling apart so its must that I have a few pieces on stock at each time.

After some research , I found out the sea sponges are really skeletons of an animal in the deep blue sea. Yikes!  In the medieval times, it had so many uses and one of them was for storing water ! How ingenious can that be!!!

I use this sponge to apply my make up foundation with. I also use it to help exfoliate my skin each night. I think that the natural softness will not strip my skin of it's natural oils, so I use it all the time.  These sea sponges are so easy to wash and keep clean , Thank God , I discovered them way back, I wonder if my daughters will follow suit. I hope my granddaughter will.

Friday, 10 June 2011

oh coco



Tuesday nights is ' Hilot Day ' in our home. Gina, our masseuse has been with us for years. She has taken care of my frozen shoulder, back aches, blood circulation etc... We only use coconut oil for our ' hilots ' ,

I read somewhere that Philippine coconut oil has the highest lauric acid content among other coconut oils. This means that the antiviral and antibacterial benefits are just amazing! I find the coconut oil that I use is very light and it is easily absorbed by my skin without leaving an oily residue.

After my one hour and half hilot session, I continue using the coconut oil on my face , above my eyes, under my eyes, over my laugh lines and on my jaw area. What an inexpensive way to
nurture my skin!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Introduction

 photo via wallcoo

My little miss dress up blogger has finally convinced me to start my own blog about 'going back to basics'!

Nothing complicated, just simple traditional Filipino home remedies for health,beauty and environmental concerns.

I will not pretend to be an expert on Philippine flora but hopefully this blog will be of help
to those interested in getting to know more about the different uses of our local plants and herbs