Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mango Tree (Mangifera indica, Anacardiaceae)

The Mango Tree

A large evergreen tree, related to the cashew family (Anacardiaceae), native to tropical Asia. This species is widely cultivated in many tropical regions for its delicious fruit and often called the apple of the tropics. Mango trees vary in height but may grow up to 100 feet and have widespread branches. Mango Trees have long life spans, some trees have been known to be over 300 years old. The lance-shaped leaves are dark green, but reddish when young, it has a leathery texture and may be over 1 feet long. The tiny yellowish-brownish flowers are borne in terminal clusters. These flowers can be in the thousands per tree. Green fruits eventually develop and take different shapes: oval, kidney and even round. mangoes also vary in color: green, yellow to red. Depending on the cultivar, sizes vary from 2 1/2 inches to 9 inches and may weigh up to 2 kilograms. The fruit of the mango tree has thick, waxy smooth skin while the flesh of the fruit has a peach-like texture, which is rich, flavorful, juicy and sweet when ripe.

Mango trees may be propagated from seed but the named varieties are usually propagated by budding or grafting. Mango trees do well in almost any kind of soil, but newly planted trees do best if the soil has been enriched with fertilizer, compost or even manure. Mango fruits mature at about 4 to 5 months from the time flowering starts and when the fruits are ready to be picked, the stem snap easily. If the stem does not snap, its not ready for picking.

Yields from a mango tree varies on the cultivar and the age of the tree. A ten year old mango tree can yield 200 to 300 mangoes while a 40 year old mango tree can yield 600 fruits. As a rule, the older the mango tree, the more fruits it bears in a season. Mango trees also have the tendency to alternate its fruit bearing. One side of the mango tree may bear fruits one season and while the other half of the tree bears fruit on the nest. Sometimes, the whole mango tree bears fruit this season and skips the next season.

Philippine Carabao Mangoes

Philippine mango (the national fruit) is known worldwide as the best tasting variety of Carabao mangoes in the world. Philippine mangoes have a distinct rich taste, no turpentine taste, not fibrous and high nutritional value compared to other cultivars. Philippine Carabao mangoes are available year-round but the best tasting fruits are those picked during the summer months. Filipinos who have grew up in the Philippines and now have migrated to the U.S., miss the delicious Philippine Carabao mangoes when faced with bland tasting mangos imported from Mexico. "Philippine mangoes" sold in the U.S. are from Mexico while "real" produce from the Philippines are marketed as "Manila Super Mangoes". Mexico is the world's top exporter of fresh mangoes cornering approximately 40% share of mango exports while India is the world's top producer of mangoes producing more than half of the world's mango output. The United States is the world's biggest importer of fresh mangoes.

Philippine Mango Industry:

The Philippines produces about 1 million metric tons of mangoes a year (3.5% of the world production) - 95% for local consumption & 5% for export -it generates about US$35 million annually for the country. In Asia, the Philippines is the largest exporter of mangoes. Hong Kong and Japan are the biggest importers of mangoes in Asia. Next to bananas and pineapples, mangoes are the Philippines' most important agricultural produce in terms of export earnings.

Products Made from Mangos:

Dried mangoes, mango juice concentrates, puree, mango juice, frozen mangoes, mango in brine, mango glaze and mango preserves.

Guanabana & Graviola

Guyabano / Soursop ( Scientific name: Annona muricata Linnaeus )

Also known as Guanabana & Graviola


uyabano/Soursop Fruit Nutrition

Guyabano belongs to the family of Annonaceae, (A. muricata L.). The flesh of the fruit consist of a white edible pulp that is high in carbohydrates and considerable amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Potassium and dietary fiber. Guyabano is low in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium. No only is guyabano a good health food, it also taste delicious. The tree and fruit is known in various names: Guyabano in Filipino, Soursop in English, Graviola in Brazil, and Guanabana in Spanish.

About the Guyabano

The heart shaped / oblong guyabano fruit has a dark green, leathery and spike-like skin that measures from 8 to 12 inches long and can weigh up to 2.5 kilos. The creamy and delectable flesh contains from 60 to 100 black-brown seeds that are indigestible and non-edible.

The guyabano tree is relatively small. It usually grows from 8 to less than 20 feet high and is sensitive to very cold temperatures. The guyabano tree requires a lot of water, warmth and humidity and is usually grown in the tropics. It is cultivated commercially in Central & South America, West Africa, Asia and South Florida in limited numbers.

Products made from Guyabano fruit:

Aside from being eaten raw, the guyabano fruit is processed into candies, tarts, shakes, ice-cream, sherbets and other beverages.

Medicinal Uses of Guyabano

Guyabano has been used as folkloric herbal medicine in many regions thought the world. It is considered to be antispasmodic, sudorific and emetic. A decoction (boiling in water) of guyabano leaves is used to kill bedbugs and head lice.

To reduce fever, a decoction of leaves can be taken internally or the leaves added to bathing water also has the same effect. The crushed fresh leaves are also applied on skin eruptions for faster healing. A poultice of young guyabano leaves is applied on the skin to alleviate rheumatism and other skin infections like eczema. Applied during the healing of wounds, this can result in less or no skin scars. The decoction can also be used as a wet compress on swollen feet and other inflammations.

The juice of the fruit is taken orally as a herbal remedy for urethritis, haematuria and liver ailments.

Studies are underway by leading medical institutes, universities and pharmaceutical companies of the healing properties of guyabano against cancers. Initial findings show that certain compounds and chemicals extracted from guyabano leaves, seeds, fruit and bark appear to kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells remain unaffected.

Other uses of Guyabano

Pulverizing the guyabano seeds and mixing it with soap & water is used as effective spray against caterpillars, armyworms and leafhoppers on plants.

The guyabano leaves are believed to have a tranquilizing and sedative properties. In the Netherlands Antilles, the leaves are placed inside pillows or placed on top of the mattress to induce a good night's sleep.

Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera)

The coconut it not a nut but a fruit. The term coconut pertains to the fruit while the tree is called a coconut palm. It belongs to the Arecaceae palm family and can grow up to 6 meters tall. Called the "tree of life" in the Philippines, all parts of the palm has uses -nothing is wasted even at the end of its fruit bearing years. Listed below are the basic parts and its uses:

Coconut Husk & Shell

- this part of the coconut is soaked in water for up to 10 months, pounded, dried and de-fibered (now by machine). The husk, called "coir" can be used to make ropes. The coconut husk is also used in making doormats, twines, padding material for furniture seats and as padding for ornamental plants like orchids. In manufacturing, the coconut husk is used in making wall boards, filtration pads, carpet underlay, insulation materials and other products. While the dried shell can be used to make handicrafts like: piggy banks, cups, decors and even musical instruments like the Vietnamese Dàn Gáo and the Chinese Banhu and Yehu.


- the trunk of old coconut trees that not as productive as before are cut down. The trunk brought to the sawmill and made into coco lumber. This soft wood is much cheaper that the standard "Tangile" lumber that is available in most lumber stores and affords may poor people build their homes at a much lesser cost.

Coconut Fruit

- the delicious meat of the coconut fruit has many uses, it can be eaten as-is, processed into snacks or sweets or used for cooking (grated & juiced for the coconut milk). While the coconut water is a health drink that not only quenches thirst but also cleanses the kidneys. The coconut water contains: anti-oxidants, sugars, proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals. The meat is also converted into copra. Copra is either exported or processed domestically into cooking oil. Recent findings also show that coconut oil can be used as a substitute to diesel. Already, coconut oil blended with diesel is being used but new test reveals that coconut biodiesel can be used alone on diesel engines without any modification.

Coconut Leaves

- even the leaves are not allowed to go to waste. The spine of the leaves are usually used as firewood for cooking while the leaves itself is stripped and turned into brooms or "walis ting-ting".

Coconut Roots

- are used as toothbrush during the olden times. When pressed the juice of the roots is used as medicine for dysentery. The root coloring can also be used as a dye.

Philippine Coconut Industry (1970s to 1980s)

During Martial Law in 1973, then President Marcos created the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). The PCA was established to stabilize the price coconut products for the benefit of the farmers. To fund PCA, it was authorized to collect a P 0.55 levy for every 100 kilos of copra produced. This levy was increased to P20.00 in 1974 to finance a new government agency called the Coconut Industry Development Fund (CIDF). It was established to finance the development of a hybrid coconut palm tree.

By the 1980's, the already huge coconut levy fund and practically the whole coconut industry was monopolized by the PCA, its bank -the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), United Coconut Oil Mills and the Coconut Producers Federation (Cocofed), all headed by Eduardo Cojuangco (a close Marcos ally) and then Secretary of Defense, Juan Ponce Enrile who was chairman of UCPB, the United Coconut Oil Mills and honorary chairman of Cocofed.

The prices of coconut products declined in early 80's and upon the insistence of the International Monitory Fund (IMF) the United Coconut Oil Mills was dismantled. After the 1986 EDSA revolution, the new government of President Cory Aquino, sequestered the coconut levy fund and all the other corporations associated with the fund. The following years saw a succession of court litigations between the Cojuanco group and the government. The funds remain frozen and the cases unresolved. All told, the coconut farmers befitted little from the coconut levy.

Philippine Coconut Industry (Today)

The Philippines is only second only to Indonesia as the world's top producer of coconut products. But the Philippines is the top exporter of coconut products -about 64% of the world's copra & coconut oil comes from the Philippines. 25% of the country's 12 million hectares of agricultural land is planted with coconuts. There are 3.5 million coconut farmers and about 25 million people benefit from the coconut industry (directly & indirectly) and not surprisingly, coconut product exports is one of the top 5 dollar earners for the county (U.S. $760 M p.a.). The coconut industry contributes about 1.14% of the Gross National product (GNP).

Durian (Durio zibethinus L./Murr)

The Durian Fruit

Durian is the name of the tree and the fruit. Durian is an expensive and exotic fruit from Asia and is referred to as "The king of all fruits". The name is derived from the Malay word "duri" meaning thorn - due to its thick, tough and thorny husk. The durian fruit is either loved by durian aficionados with an almost cult like fervor or hated by those repelled by it's smell. The rich, buttery smooth and luscious flesh of the durian fruit is delicious and is comparable to no other fruit. However, the disagreeable odor of the durian fruit gave birth to this often repeated phrase: "durian is a fruit that smells like hell but taste like heaven". While almost everyone who has tasted the durian fruit agrees the taste is heavenly, no two ever describes the taste the same.

Durian belongs to the Bombacaceae family and is native of south and east Asia and is grown in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, southern Philippines and other Asian countries. It is believed to have originated in Borneo and Sumatra. The durian tree grows up to 50 meters high with oblong evergreen leaves 10 to 20 centimeters long and bears fruits after 4 to 5 years. The durian tree can live for centuries if not damaged by lightning, disease, soil erosion or other factors.

The fruit can grow from 20 to 40 centimeters (average size is comparable to a soccer ball) and weigh from 1 to 8 kilograms upon maturity which takes about 3 months after pollination of the flowers. There are hundreds of known cultivars of the durian but the Durio zibethinus is the specie most widely cultivated and sold commercially. The fruit bearing season of durian is from May to October.

Harvesting & Eating the Durian Fruit

The most common way to harvest the fruit is to wait until the fruit falls from the tree and waiting 2 to 4 days to fully ripen before eating. This is when the fruit is most tasteful and pungent. The durian fruit looses its eating quality in 5 or more days. An exception is in southern Thailand where many harvest the fruits before falling off the tree. Durian fruit harvested this way results in firmer flesh texture and milder flavor and odor.

When choosing a good quality durian fruit, look for big, fresh and solid stem. And when the fruit is shaken, there is a sound of seeds moving inside the fruit indicating ripeness.

Products Made from Durian

Aside from being eaten fresh, the durian fruit is made into durian flavored candies, cakes, biscuits, shakes, ice cream and (believe it or not) durian flavored condoms - due to it's reputation as an aphrodisiac.

Durian Medicinal & Health Benefits

In folk medicine, the juice of the durian leaves is applied to the head on patients with fever. Boiling the leaves and roots in water (decoction) is also taken to lower the fever.

Eating durian is good for the heath. It is a good source of energy (high calorie), carbohydrates, dietary fiber and protein. The durian fruit has no cholesterol.

Philippine Coffee - Barako (Coffea arabica & Coffea canephora or robusta)

Coffee has two main varieties or species, Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora or more popularly known as Robusta. Arabica (Coffea arabica) was originally cultivated in the Arabian Peninsula, hence its name. While Robusta (Coffea canephora) is grown in many regions where Arabica would not grow but Robusta has less flavor and contains more caffeine than the Arabica. However, Robusta contains more antioxidants than Arabica coffee. Today, coffee is the second largest traded commodity in the world, second only to oil and the largest exporter of coffee is Brazil. Most espressos blends use good quality Robusta beans because it produces more foamy heads and are cheaper than Arabica coffee beans. Aside from two main varieties of coffee (Arabica and Robusta), there are lesser grown and exotic varieties of coffee e.g. Liberica (where the Philippine Barako comes from) and Exelsa.

A specie of coffee grown on one region will have distinct characteristics from the same specie grown on another region. This is due to the the climate, soil and the processing of the beans. Coffee characteristics is defined by it's flavour (e.g. citrus-like, earthy), body, acidity and caffeine content. As a rule, the higher the altitude the coffee is grown, the higher the quality.

Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee

There are many conflicting and inconclusive studies on the health benefits of drinking coffee. Initial studies are encouraging and show that drinking coffee indeed have some health benefits. Here are the result of some recent research findings:

Type 2 Diabetes - Of all the studies conducted on the benefits of coffee, the most consistent is the lowered risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes or “adult-onset” diabetes among coffee drinkers. Studies show that the more coffee is consumed the lower the risk. Men who drank 6 cups or more a day cut their diabetes risk in half while women who drank the same amount of coffee, cut their risk to 30%. It seems men benefit more than women.

Antioxidant - coffee is a good source of antioxidants. Green coffee beans contains about 1,000 antioxidants and is increased during brewing. The roasting process also creates it own set of compounds that are beneficial to health and are unique only to coffee. Coffee contains more antioxidants than cocoa, red wine and 4 times more than green tea. Initial findings show that even 1 to 2 cups of coffee a day has beneficial effects and it seems both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee increases the body's antioxidant levels.

Parkinson’s Disease - independent studies have shown that drinking coffee daily reduces the risk of Parkinson’s Disease by as much as 80%. It also appears that the more the consumption, the lower the risk. Aside from reducing the risk of Parkinson’s disease, coffee has positive functional effect on daily activities like concentration, alertness, body endurance and increased male fertility. This is attributed to caffeine's effect on brain receptors which enhances energy uptake.

There are also recent studies that show that drinking coffee does not raise the risk of heart disease - the old belief now seem to be untrue. Research continues on the benefits of coffee, other benefits include: reduction of asthma attacks, cuts the risk of liver cirrhosis, reduces the risk of colon cancer, reduces headaches, prevents tooth cavities and even offsets the damage of heavy alcohol intake and smoking.

Philippine Coffee & Barako Coffee History

Coffee was brought in the Philippines centuries ago by the Spaniards while the country was a colony. They planted coffee trees on the highlands. And because of good combination of humidity, cold, soil and the tropical climate, these plantation flourished. By the 19th century, the Philippines was the 4th largest coffee producing country in the world.

Barako coffee is the Philippine term for coffee produced in Batangas. This Philippine coffee is of the Liberica variety. Liberica is rare and exotic, grown only in 3 countries out of about 70 coffee producing countries in the world. The first Barako tree was a a cutting from Brazil planted in the 1800s in Barangay Pinagtung-Ulan, Batangas by the Macasaet family. Barako coffee has strong taste, flavor, and has a distinctively pungent aroma. All coffee grown in Batangas is generically called Barako.

During this golden times of coffee production in the Philippines, the town of Lipa in Batangas flourished and many plantation owners became millionaires. In 1887, Spain's Queen Isabella elevated the town of Lipa into a city named it Villa de Lipa owing to its prosperity. Lipa became one of the richest cities in the Philippines during the coffee boom.

Today, there are only a handful of Barako trees and is in the brink of extinction. The title "coffee capital" of the Philippines has also shifted from Batangas to the town of Amadeo in Cavite province. The decline of coffee industry in the Philippines stated when crops were plagued by "Coffee Rust" an infestation the almost wiped out the Philippine coffee industry. And South American countries took over to satisfy the world demand for coffee. In recent years, this was aggravated by the flooding of Vietnam with cheap coffee which made the world prices collapse even further. Even today, world prices of coffee is a fraction of the prices during the boom years.

The recent world wide popularity of special brews and exotic blends of coffee gives a sliver of hope to the Philippine coffee industry. This new trend might be the breath of life that the Philippine coffee industry needs to savour once again the taste of Barako coffee's golden years.

Other Herbal & Non-Herbal Medicine: Philippine Plants, Fruits & Trees

The Abaca plant

belongs to the family of the banana plant (Musaceae family) and is indigenous to the Philippines. The banana plant and the abaca plant has a striking similarity in looks but the main difference is that the fruit of the abaca plant is inedible. Its fibre is known as the Manila Hemp. Abaca is not a hemp but since hemp was the main source of fibres for centuries, the abaca fibre was named Manila hemp. Abaca has been cultivated in the Philippines since the 1500s and became known worldwide in the 1800s mainly used as ropes in ship rigging.

The abaca plant grows up to twenty feet when mature. About 2 to 4 times a year the trunk is cut down above the roots to harvest the fibres. New sprouts will grow from the roots soon after cutting. Leaf sheaths are then stripped and pulp is scrapped off to get the abaca fibre strands. To make ropes, the strands are twisted together. These strands are mainly composed of cellulose, pectin and lignin.

Superior qualities of abaca fibre:

-Extremely strong and durable
-Resistant to salt water
-Can be made into many hard-wearing products
-Relatively cheap to produce
-Has a beautiful texture when made into hats and other products
-Biodegradable and eco-friendly
Products made from abaca fibre / Manila hemp: Rope, abaca paper abaca rug, abaca furniture, abaca dye mat, abaca carpet, manila envelope and countless other products.

Atis Fruit Information

Atis is the Philippine name for Sweet Sop and Sugar Apple. Atis is a relative to custard apple and belongs to the Annona family. Atis is native to Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. Atis was introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish times.

Atis is a small tree that grows between 10 to 20 feet high when fully matured with oblong leaves and green heart-shaped fruits with polygonal tubercles. The atis fruit has a white, sweet flesh and black seeds.

The Atis tree is easy to grow. Just plant a seed on almost any soil and atis will grow. However, it requires tropical or near tropical weather. When planted, Atis will begin to bear fruit in about a year's time. It will bear fruit about 3 times a year and the sweetest fruits are those borne during the summer months.

Avocado Nutrition Information

(Persea americana)

Avocado is a fruit and a tree. It often said to be the most nutritious fruit in the world - and it is. Avocado provides more than 25 essential nutrients such as protein, potassium, vitamin E, C, B-vitamins, folic acid, iron, copper, phosphorus and magnesium, just to name a few. Avocado also provides calories for energy and beneficial phytochemicals such as beta-sitosterol, glutathione and lutein.

Avocado contains fat, that is why it is a good source of energy, but the fat in avocado is mostly monounsaturated. What should be avoided or reduced is saturated fat that is present in most dairy and animal products. In fact, avocado helps in the absorption of nutrients that are fat-soluble such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, when food containing this nutrients are eaten with avocado. Avocado is also high in fiber that is good for the digestive system and the heart.

Overall, avocado is considered a complete food. With vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, calories and fiber with no cholesterol and is sodium free. Avocado is ideal for growing up children, adults and even for babies, especially when blended with other fruits. For athletes, avocado is a nutritious energy booster to rev up the body's strength.

Avocado can be eaten as is, mixed with other fruits, as salad, a shake, baked in breads and even made into a dip. In the Philippines, ripe avocado is often eaten as a snack by scooping from flesh from the skin then mixed with a some sugar and milk or cream. It is simply delicious! 

Avocado Nutrition Facts

The banana plant is not a tree but is an herb belonging to the Musaceae family. Bananas don't have a woody trunk like a tree but has what is called a "pseudostem". Both the plant and the fruit are called bananas. This perennial plant is native to southeast Asia but now grows worldwide specially in the tropics. Bananas can grow up to 8 meters tall but the average height is between 3 and 5 meters.
There are many varieties of bananas but generally, they can be categorized into sweet bananas (yellow when ripe) and the cooking bananas (green). Most bananas traded worldwide are of the sub-group of the sweet variety called: Cavendish - mainly because of its long shelf life.

In some African, South American and Asian countries, green bananas serve as a staple food, (akin to potatoes) specially in poor agricultural areas where bananas serve as the staple while waiting for the harvest season. Worldwide, bananas rank 4th as the most consumed food after rice, wheat and corn.

A banana plant bears only one bunch in its lifespan, before it dies, offshoots grow from the "rhizome" -the base of the pseudostem. A bunch consist of clusters with up to 20 tiers - a tier is called a hand with up to 20 banana fruits in each hand.
Eaten raw or cooked, bananas are very nutritious. It is a good source of carbohydrates, fibre, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Products made from the banana plant:

-Banana Chips - both the green and yellow bananas can be used to produce banana chips but green is preferable. The fruit is pealed, thinly sliced (sometimes brown sugar id added) then fried.

-Banana Flour - the fruit (any variety) is dried then is grounded into powder and used as flour. The flour can be made into banana bread, cakes, etc.

-Banana Alcohol - bananas are allowed to ripe, juiced, then fermented. The beer like beverage, which is low in alcohol content is popular in Eastern and Central Africa.

-Banana Catsup - instead of tomatoes, the banana is used to make catsup, in the Philippines, banana catsup is commercially produced for domestic consumption & for export for many years.

-Banana Clothing - the fibre from the trunk of the banana or pseudostem is dried, processed, dyed and made into exotic clothing. In 2002 a Japanese company, Nisshinbo Industries introduced a denim like clothing made from the stems of bananas. Clothing made from banana fibers can "breath", absorbs water well and is easy to dry.

In addition to the above, bananas are also made into purée, juices and shakes. Banana fibers are made into different types of products. In many countries, banana fibers are made into: bags, hats, belts, paper, shoes, slippers, picture frames, place mats, greeting cards, fashion accessories, home decor and countless other products.

Philippine banana plant industry:

The world production of bananas per year is valued (estimate) at US$ 5 Billion. The Philippines is the 5th largest exporter of bananas in the world after India, Ecuador, Brazil and China (2002 figures). The Philippines produces a about 3.5 metric tons of bananas (est. value U.S. 700 Million in 2004) and yearly exports more than US$ 200 Million worth of bananas. This is made possible because of the favorable climate in the Philippines and that 382,491 hectares or half of the Philippines' land area planted with fruits are planted with bananas.

Banana production not only earns much needed dollars for the country but more importantly, it generates employment to thousands of Filipinos and greatly contributes to the Philippine economy.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Refloxology Benefits

Treat of Treatment?

Your Feet first session includes:
Foot spa;
Reflex treatment;
Aromatherapy foot massage;
Please allow 1 and a half hours (1.5) for the first appointment, subsequent treatments are for 1 hour;
$80 per session (including GST - rebates available from many leading health funds).

Your treat begins with having your feet soaked in a foot bath with aromatherapy oils, commencing the relaxation procedure.

This is followed by a blissful hour of pampering in peaceful beautiful surroundings.

The whole experience results in:
Deep relaxation
Stress relief
Improved circulation
Revitalised energy
Stimulation of creativity
Improved gait and posture achieved from the deep relaxation

This natural healing process has many proven benefits. As a preventative therapy, reflexology works on the thousands of nerve endings in the feet, thereby stimulating the central nervous system.

Treatment can result in:
Improved sleep
Total relaxation of the body and mind, which promotes healing.
Cleansing the body of calcium deposits and toxins.
Stimulating energy flow throughout the body.
Balancing the whole system. For the body to be healthy, everything must work together.

Philippine Herbal Medicine

Philippine Herbal Medicine Site list the most popular Philippine medicinal plants, herbs and fruits used as traditional and alternative medicine in the Philippines. Featured herbs and herbal remedies on this site are: Akapulko (Cassia alata), Ampalaya (bitter melons), Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa), Balanoi, Bayabas (Guava), Bawang (Garlic), Carrot, Gumamela, Lagundi, Luyang Dilao (Yellow Ginger), Mabolo, Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana L.), Malunggay, Makabuhay, Niyog-niyogan (Quisqualis indica L.), Oregano, Pandan, Pansit-Pansitan, Saluyot, Sambong, Sabila (Aloe Vera), Silymarin (Milk Thistle), Tsaang Gubat (Wild Tea), Ulasimang Bato (Peperomia pellucida) and Yerba Buena (Mentha Spicata). Featured as well on this site are the ten (10) herbal medicines approved by the Philippine Department of Heath (DOH) as alternative herbal medicine. This site also contains is a sub-section on other Philippine plants, fruits and trees, some of which are also Philippine herbal medicines.

Use of Ginkgo to Treat and Prevent Alzheimer's

The herbal remedy ginkgo may prevent, and even treat, Alzheimer's disease. However, research supporting this claim is limited.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is sometimes known as the "Fossil Tree," as it is the single survivor of a primitive genus of trees that was common millions of years ago. It has been used to treat a myriad of conditions in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, from circulatory problems to ailments of the mind. Currently, it is best known for its use in dementia and improving memory.
Efficacy Against Alzheimer's Disease

While it is believed that ginkgo may prevent or treat Alzheimer's disease, research supporting these uses is inconclusive at best.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is funding a large 10-year study called the Ginkgo Evaluation in Memory (GEM) study. Begun in 2000, this program involves more than 3,000 volunteer subjects over the age of 75 who take 240 mg of ginkgo daily. Although the study is not scheduled to end until July 2010, preliminary results show no effectiveness for ginkgo.


Latest articles in Health & Wellness

Natural ways to improve memory include using soy lecithin, ginkgo biloba, vitamin B1, folic acid and multivitamin supplements.

Memory loss or poor memory is a very common complaint, which primarily affects older people, but can affect anyone who is under a lot of stress or is suffering from underlying physical and/or mental health conditions. Thankfully, there are a range of practical tools and supplements available, which can be used to help prevent memory loss and improve memory.

How to Prevent Memory Loss

The best way to prevent memory loss is to ensure one eats a healthy, nutritious diet and takes regular (ideally daily) exercise from a young age. Something as simple as reading a daily newspaper and doing the crossword or sudoku puzzle, will make a real difference. In The Essential Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Supplements, Brewer (2010) highlights some practical ways to help prevent memory loss, to include the following:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

438 pass licensure exams for physical and occupational therapists

A total of 434 out of 938 examinees passed the Physical and Occupational Therapists Licensure Examinations given in Manila and Cebu earlier this month, according to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

[Click here for complete list of successful Physical Therapist examinees.]

[Click here for complete list of successful Occupational Therapist examinees.]

Ella Mae de Guzman Cruz from the University of the Philippines in Manila topped the list of successful Physical Therapist examinees with 88.15 percent rating, while Kim Gerald Granil Medallon from University of Sto. Tomas topped the list Occupation Therapist examinees with 81.60 percent rating.

The other top Physical Therapist examinees are:

2. Mary Grace Calma Morales Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila with 85.75%
3. Patcholo Yap Paglinawan, UP-Manila, 85.70%
4. Joma Guerrero Cabrela Galang, PLM, 85.60%
5. Katrina Torres Roberto, UP-Manila, 85.50%
6. Paul Daniel Garcia Nerit, Manila Central University, 84.65%
7. Louis-Albert Go Lee, UST, 84.50%
8. Mary Grace Lagrana dela Peña, UP-Manila, 84.45%
Keziah Loren Pascual Shan, Velez College, 84.45%
9. Peter Julian Rivera Menorca, University of Perpetual Help System, 84.35%
10. Kristin Mae Uy Decena, Far Eastern University-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation, 84.24%
Marcial Merina Patrocinio Jr, PLM, 84.25%

The other top Occupational Therapist examinees are:

2. Amy Fritzi Chiu Yee, Velez College, with 80.60%
3. Anna Louisa Young Tiu, UP-Manila, 80.20%

Registration for the issuance of Professional Identification Card (ID) and Certificate of Registration will start on August 4, 2010 but not later than August 20, 2010, the PRC said.

The oath-taking ceremony of the successful examinees in the said examinations as well as the previous ones who have not taken their Oath of Professional will be held on September 19, 2010 at 1 p.m. at the Manila Hotel, One Rizal Park, Manila. - KBK, GMANews.TV

You’re Surrounded By An Ocean Of Miracles

I turned 44 this month.
I’ve noticed something: The older I get, the more I believe in miracles. In fact, I believe I’m surrounded by an ocean of miracles.
Everyday, I see God-Coincidences.
Divine Appointments.
Supernatural Connections.
Mysterious Surprises.
Spontaneous Healings.
More and more, I believe in the unexplainable, beautiful, mystical work of God in our lives. That no matter how impossible the situation, I believe that God will make a way where there seems to be no way.
Yes, I believe in magic.
I live in a magical universe!
I believe that in every moment, God is performing miracles.
In every moment, He is blessing you, healing you, touching you, and guiding you.
The 3 Stages Of My Spiritual Life
Let me tell you how I came to this belief.
Because it’s my birthday month, allow me to be autobiographical. Hope you don’t mind.
Let me talk about my 30+ year journey with God. (No, this won’t be 30 pages long! Perhaps 29… Just kidding.)
I believe I went through three distinct stages in my spiritual life:
· First Stage: Super Spiritual
· Second Stage: Highly Practical
· Third Stage: Peacefully Mystical
Which stage are you in?
Find out.
Let me describe each stage to you…
First Stage: Super Spiritual
(Age 12 to 28)
I got to know God at age 12.
Since that time, all the way until I was around 28 years old, I was super spiritual.
I had hyper-faith.
I wanted God to do everything for me.
If I did something, it meant that I didn’t trust God.
If I was hungry, all I had to do was open my mouth.
Because I expected God to plant a seed, water it, fertilize it, grow it, pick the fruit, slice it, fork it, and feed it to me. I even wanted God to chew the fruit and spit it in my mouth.
I shunned the world.
I didn’t like secular music, secular books, and secular movies.
I didn’t like insurance or saving money, or the stock market.
I believed that the purpose of life was to go to Heaven.
My faith was inhuman.
Bottomline, I didn’t like my humanness.
I believed my flesh was tainted with evil.
I was a spiritual being trapped in a human body, and my goal was to escape my earthly tent as much as I could.
How I Dressed Up
I wore the crummiest clothes.
Old sandals. Old jogging pants. Old shirt.
The more holes, the more faded, the better.
I felt that if I wore a clean shirt and nice shoes, it was vanity—a sin against the Almighty.
I didn’t comb my hair lest the Holy Spirit would be displeased.
Reason? To try to look handsome is about “self”. And self is bad. I’d be filled with pride and endanger my eternal soul.
I wanted to focus not on being presentable to men, but presentable to God.
Thus, I didn’t put on deodorant too.
I reasoned that if I smelled bad, there was a sacred purpose behind it.
Was it to save on bug repellant? Because of my unique odor, insects dropped dead within a two-meter radius around me.
Saints had what people called the odor of sanctity. Whenever they entered the room, people would smell the scent of fresh flowers. That made people fall on their knees and pray.
I too had that same effect. When I entered the room, people didn’t just only fall on their knees. They’d have a near-death experience and pray for their salvation.
My whole persona—how I dressed, looked, and smelled was my AAD. My Anti-Attraction Device. So girls won’t fall in love with me—lest I fall into lust. (Haha.)
This over-spiritual attitude spilled over to how I preached…
How I Gave My Talks
Whenever I preached, I didn’t want to prepare too much.
I wanted to be led by the Spirit.
I would preach in this way…
“Brothers and Sisters, good morning….” In the middle of my talk, I’d close my eyes, pause for a few seconds, while murmuring, “thank you Jesus, speak to me Jesus, thank you Jesus…”. Then I’d open my mouth and say, “Today, God told me to tell you that He loves you very much…” And then I’d close my eyes, and murmur my prayers again, “thank you Jesus, speak to me Jesus, shalalalala…”
This super spirituality spilled over my decision-making too…
How I Made Decisions
Every choice had to be prayed for.
Every decision!
What I should do on a particular day.
Who I should talk to.
What I should say.
What I should eat.
Where I was going.
What I would wear. (Crummy shirt #1 or Crummy shirt #2?)
No decision was too minor.
If I didn’t hear anything from God, I’d cut the Bible.
If you don’t know what “cutting the Bible” means, let me describe it to you.
One day, my friend was in an Eat-All-You-Can Buffet.
Being super spiritual like me, he prayed, “Lord, what do you want me to eat?”
He closed his eyes and opened the Bible.
He pointed his finger on a page, and read, “Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights.”
His face turned pale in terror.
He said, “Lord, this is a mistake. Do you really want me to fast?” With shaking hands, he cut the Bible again.
The verse he opened to?
“And Jesus said, ‘Go and do likewise.’”
Disturbed With My Super Spiritual Approach
Because I was super spiritual, I didn’t want to finish high school anymore. I felt schooling was useless because Jesus was coming again. Perhaps he would come next year. So why bother with Trigonometry and Chemistry? How can I use those in Heaven?
But my parents insisted I finish high school. And they also pushed me to go to college.
But after two years of college, I dropped out and became a fulltime missionary.
But as the years progressed, I began to grow uncomfortable with my extreme spirituality. Something was wrong.
As I grew older, I saw that being human wasn’t so bad after all. In fact, a quote from St. Irenaeus jolted me to the bone. He said, The glory of God is a human being fully alive.
Slowly, I began to move to the next stage of my spiritual life…
Stage Two: Highly Practical
(Age 29 to 43)
In my late twenties, I began to appreciate my humanness.
I realized God created me to be an incredible human being that can dream, plan, design, think, and act. Why did He give me all these fantastic abilities if He didn’t want me to use them?
If He wanted me to simply depend on Him and do nothing, He should have made me a stone or a plant or an amoeba.
But no. He gave me a phenomenal brain that was more powerful than all the computers of this world put together.
And ever so slowly, I morphed.
I began to be more down-to-earth.
More pragmatic.
More realistic.
More open…
How I Saw The World
I started reading secular books.
I got to know secular people.
I learned that atheists, agnostics, irreligious, and immoral people were children of God and they had much to teach me.
Stage 2 gave me a very precious gift: It took away my self-righteousness and spiritual arrogance.
I began to love people genuinely.
I got to know the secular world that I thought was totally condemned by God. (It wasn’t. I saw God’s fingerprints all over.)
It was a terrifying yet liberating experience.
I realized my spiritual world was very small. Puny!
And my version of God was tiny too.
I realized He was bigger than my narrow definitions.
How I Saw Romance
When I was 30, I decided to get married.
That helped a lot in moving me fully into Stage 2.
Stage 1 kept me in limbo—Celibacy or marriage?
I couldn’t decide.
For years, I was trying to find God’s Will and was terribly confused.
But in Stage 2, I realized that His Will was my deepest desires. That through the scalpel of discernment, I can strip the layers of shallow desires until I touched base with the core desires that God has placed in my heart.
And in Stage 2, I finally chose my lovely wife—after so much dilly-dallying in Stage 1.
That was when I wrote my controversial book, How To Find Your One True Love.
I wrote it for single people who were super spiritual, waiting for their future husband (or wife) to fall out of the sky on a silver platter.
In that book, I taught mature singles how to pray, yes. But I also taught them how to write a checklist of what they want in a spouse, how to change their daily itinerary to meet more singles, and how to have more friendly dates.
That book was a huge bestseller because for the first time, a spiritual book gave singles permission to do something in finding a spouse aside from just praying and waiting.
How I Saw Money
In Stage 1, I remained poor.
I watched this same phenomenon among super spiritual people. Though close to God, they were far from God’s material blessings because they believed poverty came with the territory.
They’re in debt. They don’t have savings. They live hand to mouth. Because they depend on God totally. They don’t like talking about money. They don’t want to learn how money works.
I was so frustrated not having money when I had all these great projects that I wanted to do for God.
So at the age of 32, I became an entrepreneur.
I became an investor.
Today, God has prospered the work of my hands.
A few years later, I wrote my book, 8 Secrets Of The Truly Rich. It rocked the world of many spiritual people. For the first time, a spiritual book gave them the permission to become wealthy in the right way.
How I Saw Dreams
In Stage 1, I didn’t allow myself to have dreams.
I considered that selfishness.
But in Stage 2, I wrote my dreams, read them daily, and saw them being fulfilled one by one. I was mesmerized by the power that God gave us to make our dreams come true.
So I taught people to dream and pursue their dreams.
I taught them that their actions shaped their future.
I told them, “God has placed your destiny in your hands!”
It was an exhilarating experience.
But deep within, something was brewing in my soul.
Disturbed With My Highly Practical Approach
The past year, I saw a certain movement in my spirit.
It was a gentle call from God to a deeper kind of trust.
I saw myself walking to a new stage in my spiritual life.
Stage 3: Peacefully Mystical
(Age 44 To Eternity)
Today, I’m a mystic. Again.
I’m back believing in miracles.
Obviously, I never lost faith in miracles.
But in a more profound way, I’m realizing that everything that I do is dependent on miracles.
Yes, I’m returning to an enlightened version of Stage 1.
But it’s really Stage 3: Peacefully Mystical.
It’s my second naïveté.
How did this happen?
I really have no choice: It’s the only way to keep my sanity.
As overall leader of Light of Jesus and our other ministries, I’m faced with gigantic problems every single day.
I do all I can. With the best of my abilities. But the problems are still there.
So I reach this point where only God can solve the problems.
I have only two options: To be stressed or to be blessed.
Stress and trust cannot co-exist.
If I’m stressed, then it means I don’t trust.
If I trust, then I won’t be stressed.
So I decide to trust.
And I like a child, I tell Him, “I’ve reached a point of incompetence. Lord, this is your problem. Give me a miracle.”
And He gives me a miracle! He actually comes in and performs a beautiful miracle right before my eyes.
Why I’m Relaxed
My wife says I’m always cool.
No matter what happens.
Let me tell you why.
I believe that I live in a friendly universe.
I live in a gracious galaxy.
I live in a universe that is conspiring to bless me.
Every atom of God’s creation is strategizing how to prosper me, solve my problems, open new doors of opportunity, give me divine connections, supernatural appointments, send miracles on my path, heal me, make me stronger, increase my peace, increase my money, tighten my relationships with my family, give me more wisdom….
And problems?
I believe that when a problem comes, it brings within it a beautiful solution. When a trial comes, it brings within it a treasure waiting to be unearthed.
I just need to be open to it—and the miracle will come.
Let me tell you how magical my life is…
Someone Stole Our Vault
Last Sunday night, our ministry office was burglarized.
It was no ordinary robbery: The thieves carried out our entire vault.
I say “thieves”—plural—because I know the weight of that vault. Two or three guys are needed to carry that thing.
But here’s the miracle.
Every Sunday, after the Feast (our large prayer gathering), our staff would count the offering, bring it back to the office, and put it in the vault. So that they could bring it to the bank the next day.
But last Sunday, for some magical reason, our chief accountant decided not to put the money in the vault. She placed the money beside the vault.
So here’s what happened. The robbers got the vault. But left behind the big money beside the vault!
How can you explain that?
Only one reason.
We live in a magical universe.
I’m surrounded by an ocean of miracles.
Yes, there was a little money in the vault—and we lost that.
But we’ll be wiser now.
But I’ve now learned that sometimes, God allows small problems to protect us from bigger problems. He allows us to lose a small amount, so that in the future, we won’t lose a bigger amount.
Even In Your Biggest Problems,
God Is Performing Miracles
A few years ago, my friend was fooled by her business partner. This partner ran away with their products—and my friend was left holding the empty bag.
Result? My friend was now P20 million in debt.
Everyday, she cried out to God.
Everyday, she was filled with so much stress.
She couldn’t eat.
She couldn’t sleep.
Her heart was filled with worry, fear, sadness, and anger.
Her soul was filled with questions.
Why God? Why did you allow this to happen?
But she kept her faith.
She kept attending the Feast (our weekly gathering), believing that God will rescue her from her trials.
Today, five years later, my friend has paid all her debts.
Her business is better than ever before.
And her trust in God is so deep!
She never brought her ex-business partner to court. She didn’t want to waste her time or money in bringing her to justice. She decided to focus on rebuilding her business.
In fact, the P20 million debt turned out to be a blessing.
Why? That huge debt hanging on her head forced her to become a better entrepreneur and make more money than ever before. Today, her business is bigger, stronger, and more prosperous! Something that may not have happened without the tragedy she went through.
What happened to her ex-business partner?
She found out that she’s now in jail—because of another crime that she committed.
What did my friend do?
She visited her in jail and forgave her.
Why? Because her God is a big God.
Bigger than a P20 million debt.
Bigger than her anger towards her business partner.
Here’s what I learned in life: God’s size is flexible.
Some worship a big God.
Some worship a small God.
It depends on your faith.
Do you want to know the size of your God?
Look at the size of your fears.
If your fears are big, then it means your God is small.
But if your fears are small, then it means your God is big.
Today, my fears are getting smaller and smaller, because my God is getting bigger and bigger.
Even In Your Biggest Problems,
God Is Performing Miracles
Another friend had a problem with her eldest son.
She came up to me one day and said, “Oh Bo, please help me. My son likes to drink and smoke. He’s not doing too well in school. He’s a rebellious kid and hates authority…”
She would call me up, crying on the phone.
And we’d pray together.
The months turned to years, and she’d tell me that her son is still the same—rebellious and addicted to vices. For six years, it was as though nothing was happening.
But one day, a miracle happened. Her son was invited to a youth ministry—and a spiritual conversion took place.
Today, her son is now leading that youth ministry. He’s preaching, bringing a lot of young people to God.
I can imagine what was happening during those six years of waiting, whenever she prayed to God with a lot of tears. I bet God was saying to her, “This storm will end. Your miracle will come. What you wish for will be granted.”
You’re Surrounded By An Ocean Of Miracles
Perhaps right now, you too have experienced a loss.
Perhaps you’re going through a heavy trial right now.
And it seems like it’s an impossible situation.
But in God’s vocabulary, there’s no such word as impossible.
In God’s dictionary, the word “impossible” isn’t found.
I have a simple message for you: Trust Him.
God will make a way where there seems to be no way.

You’re surrounded by an ocean of miracles.
May your dreams come true,
Bo Sanchez
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PS4. Gatherings On Fire, Seminar-Workshop on Prayer Meetings on July 31. Do you feel that your prayer meetings need a makeover? Let the wisdom and experiences you’ll get from this seminar-workshop bring your gatherings to ‘the next level’. Arun Gogna and his team offer tips on animation, great topics, overall flow and dynamics, and everything you can do to liven up your prayer meetings. Let’s answer your questions from A-Z… A must for your community! It’ll be on July 31, 8am-5pm. Early bird registration is P795 only. For more information, call Noel at (02) 6687766 or 09154493600 or 09282109765.


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