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Lagundi

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LAGUNDI (Vitex negundo) is a shrub that grows in the Philippines. It can grow up to five meters tall. It can be described as a cross between a shrub and a tree with a single woody stem (trunk). One of Lagundi's distinctive features is its pointed leaves with five leaflets set like a hand. (see picture here)

Commonly known in the Ilocos region as dangla, lagundi has been clinically tested to be effective in the treatment of colds, flu, bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, and pharyngitis. Studies have shown that Lagundi can prevent the body's production of leukotrienes, which are released during an asthma attack. Lagundi contains Chrysoplenol D, a substance with anti-histamine and muscle relaxant properties. Even in Japan, lagundi is becoming recognized as an effective herbal medicine, especially since researches have shown that it contains properties that make it an expectorant and it has been reported to function as a tonic as well. More than that, most of the parts of the lagundi plant have medicinal value.

The roots of this shrub are also used as treatment for rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, and leprosy. The leaves, flowers, seeds, and root of Lagundi can all be used as herbal medicine. A decoction is made by boiling the parts of the plant and taken orally. Today, Lagundi is available in capsule form and syrup for cough. For its part, the flowers are recommended as a cardiac tonic, as cure for liver diseases, and other internal disorders such as diarrhea and cholera. The lagundi plant also has anti-inflammatory functions, and its cooling effects are ideal as treatment for skin diseases such as leprosy.

Here are the benefits
• Relief of asthma & pharyngitis
• Recommended relief of rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, diarrhea
• Treatment of cough, colds, fever and flu and other bronchopulmonary disorders
• Alleviate symptoms of Chicken Pox
• Removal of worms, and boils

Preparation and how to use
• Boil half cup of chopped fresh or dried leaves in 2 cups of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink half cup three times a day.
• For skin diseases or disorders, apply the decoction of leaves and roots directly on skin.
• The root is specially good for treating dyspepsia, worms, boils, colic and rheumatism.

A decoction (boiling in water) of the roots and leaves of Lagundi are applied to wounds, and used as aromatic baths for skin diseases. Boiled seeds are eaten in order to prevent the spreading of toxins and venom from bites of poisonous animals. Juice extracted from the flowers of Lagundi plant is taken in as an aid for disorders like fever, diarrhea, liver disorders, and even cholera. While a decoction of the plant leaves is suggested to be taken by individuals to help increase the flow and production of milk, as well as to induce menstruation.

Source: Adapted from Philippine Herbal Medicine, http://www.philippineherbalmedicine.org/lagundi.htm

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