Aloe Vera


1:01 AM

Aloe Vera, or more popularly known in the Philippines as Sabila, has more than 200 species worldwide. The existence of this herb has been dated for more than 6,000 years ago as inscribed in Sumerian Tablets.  Even well- known beautiful Egyptian royalties like Queens Cleopatra and Nefitiri indulged in this herb as their beauty secret. Since the virtues of this plant covered beauty, wellness and longevity, ancient Greek physicians called it a miracle plant. There’s no wonder it’s an attraction when added to any product!


Aloe Vera contains:
      1.       Minerals such as Calcium, Sodium, Iron, Potassium, Chromium, Magnesium, Manganese,    
      Copper, Zinc;
      2.       Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, Folic Acid and Niacin;
      3.       19 amino acids;
      4.       Mucopolysaccharides which is the matrix for the repairing connective tissues;
      5.       Keratin which comes from sulfur-containing protein that make up the hair and horny tissues, and  Panthenol which is derived from Vitamin B5 called chiral molecule which helps retain moisture of the skin and hair;
      6.       Antiseptic that has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. 

This plant also contains natural immune enhancers which aids the body in controlling asthma, allergies and respiratory infections (except for patients taking corticosteroid). Its detoxifying properties also helps clean the digestive system so that nutrients are better absorbed. It also cleanses the circulatory system so blood can circulate the body more efficiently. Its alkaline property is able to neutralize acidity from heartburn. It also encourages the release of pepsin, a gastric juice enzyme necessary for digestion when the stomach is full which aids in healing of ulcers according to Journal of the American Osteopathic Society.

Aloe Vera contains some ingredients of mucopolysaccharides which is important for tissue repair.   Mucopolysaccharides are defined as an amorphous matrix, a ground substance of the connective tissues which is made of highly hydrated gel. This gel matrix is like a web where substances going to and coming from the cells have to pass. The quality of repair is influenced by this gel ground substance which is the reason for aloe vera’s popularity in aiding in healing minor burns and wounds with no scarring! Aloe vera contributes its ability to repair ligaments, muscles, tissues, and organs to its gel. It also works as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory that gives relief to arthritis and rheumatism, and to the external skin infections like blisters, sores, rashes, eczema, Athlete’s Foot, fungal and feminine infection.

Aloe vera is also good for dental health because it has the raw materials of a good toothpaste. It can fight tooth decay, reduce plaque, and help bleeding gums and sored gums sans the artificial chemicals.  You can pick a young aloe vera leaf, squeeze its juice, and use it as toothpaste.  I also use the juice for gargling and aloe vera pulling. I also apply the juice on my face, arms and legs before I apply sunblock to prepare for brisk walking which oxygenates my 30 trillion cells. (Did you know that your body is dehydrated after sleeping overnight? Rehydrate your body by drinking 3 glasses of water sip by sip as soon as you wake up. Visit Do you drink Water Sip by Sip?’ for more of its benefits.)

In the past months, I experienced cough with asthma because of weather change, and pollution from burning of cut trees and garbage in the neighborhood.  I ended up with a hoarse voice because of my sore throat.  What I did was I gargled freshly squeezed Aloe Vera juice for about 5 minutes, and repeated it every time I felt my throat itch. I kept a leaf stored properly in a container so I can use it as needed. I’ve also tried squeezing the juice into a glass bottle, making sure it is properly sealed.  I also made Aloe Vera syrup by adding together fresh Aloe Vera juice and honey with a 1:1 ratio, taking a tablespoon every other day or sometimes mixed the syrup with fresh juice.  With Aloe Vera and herbs in my garden like Lagundi, oregano, Ashitaba, Dokudami, and Serpentina, I got better without taking medication and antibiotics although it took a longer time.

You can also add Aloe Vera gel to ethyl alcohol to lessen the strength when applied to hands and skin since it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. It helped in the healing of my cracks and scratches because of gardening. I also make my own Aloe Vera sanitizer. (Visit Herbal and Herbs in Personal Care for more information.)



Although this is a good herb, there are some cautions that we should be aware of.
      1.        Its matured leaf has latex, a yellow substance located closest to the peeling called aloin which may cause allergic reaction to sensitive skin and cause rashes, itching, and abdominal pains. This can also cause a laxative effect to those suffering with diabetes and kidney disease.
       2.       Those allergic to onions should avoid this herb because they both belong to the same lily family.
       3.       Pregnant women should not take this herb to prevent uterine contractions and that may trigger miscarriage.  This should also be avoided by those who have inflamed intestinal disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids and women having their periods.
       4.       Taking Aloe Vera syrup for asthma should not be for more than 6 months.  One tablespoon of Aloe Vera and honey mixture with a ratio of 1:1 can be taken every other day or can be mixed with fresh juice.
       5.       This should not be taken by those undergoing medication, oral steroids, digoxin and diuretics for arrhythmia.
       6.       It should not be used for major wounds because it can delay the healing process.
       7.       Taking too much of it can cause electrolyte imbalance.


When caring for Aloe Vera, take note that it gets brown under strong sun even if it is a cactus.  It is a low maintenance plant that needs watering two times a week, or when soil is partly dry. It has no pest problems, but the soil should still be maintained with organic fertilizer or compost, garden soil, and with sand to keep soil aerated with oxygen and well-drained. (Read more at: Herbal and Herbs: Plant Care)

Take good care of your wonderful Aloe Vera plant and help your natural body heal itself.

The Gardener


Kumar, Vijaya,2012, The Secret Benefits of Aloe Vera , pp.12, 30,33, 41, 49, 50, 52, 87, New Delhi, India, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd
Encyclopedia Brittanica Macropedia 28, 15th Edition, Connective Tissues, pp. 299-301, Chicago, USA
Keratin : Webster’s new Dictionary of the Englsh Language, Keratin p. 287, copyright by Merriam Webster, Inc., Popular Publishing, LLC, New York, USA
Journal of the American Osteophatic Society, 1963, vol. 62.

alternative medicine

Celery For A Youthful and Active Body

2:12 AM

Natural sodium-rich foods keep one youthful and active by keeping muscles limber and pliable.
Many people who lack natural sodium have stiff joints and cracking knees.

Apart from its youthful properties, natural sodium also acts as an acid neutralizer and blood cleanser. Having the right amount of natural sodium in our system will not only prevent arthritis, neuritis, and rheumatism, it's good for the brain and nervous system, too.

Natural sodium can be found in vegetables like celery.  Celery is perfect for juicing with other fresh vegetables because of its cooling properties, but it is popularly mixed in soup and salad.

Celery plants like full sunning and needs to be watered every other day (or when the soil partly dry). It is recommended to put organic fertilizer monthly on it every day. (Visit Plant Care for more information.)

The Gardener


Jensen, B. (2004). Foods that heal: A guide to understanding and using the healing powers of natural foods. Paharanj, New Delhi. Health & Harmony.  


Organic Soil, Insects, and Insect Bites on Leaves

11:08 PM

It is easy to grow herbal and herb plants. But just watering these like decorative plants will not assure the nutritional benefits that we expect to get from it. Herbs are just like vegetables. They need extra care to be able to supply good health.

Organic Soil Mix

Most herbal and herb plants need a good mixture of soil to be healthy. Garden soil is loose when wet, but too tight when dry. Adding sand loosens up soil - providing aeration and also good drainage to bring out excess water.  It is important to note though that there are some herbs which prefer just sand with compost. An example of this is chamomile. But regardless of soil mix, organic fertilizer should be applied monthly so as to give the herbs, herbals and vegetables that required proper nutrition. (Visit Plant Care for more information).


Insects are part of the food chain.  Although there are beneficial insects, non-beneficial insects need to be driven away to prevent infestation for the herbs to survive.  When I water my herbs, I add crushed Oregano or any minty herb. When I pour it on the leaves, stems and soil, I often see insects flying away.  Even herbs that do not need daily watering surely wouldn't mind a little water trickling down their leaves and stem just to get rid of insects affecting them. Oregano water can also be sprayed or be squeezed out from a recycled dish washing bottle.

Insect Bites on Leaves

Insects are obvious when you see these black hairy creatures lying down on the leaves comfortably or hiding under leaves by pairs or in groups. But some insects are trickier to spot because they are too small.  When non-beneficial insects are not very visible, their presence can manifest in the reaction of the leaves. Leaves with insects and eggs tend to have a different form as compared to others. These can curl up, have a different color, or may even stick together. Some stems may even have black spots on them.

If any of the leaves or stems have insects and eggs, just remove the infected parts so that the plant will survive.  Crushed oregano may also be applied directly on the plant to prevent further infestation. Any minty herb may be used as natural pesticide.  Also, the infested stems and leaves can be soaked in water overnight to kill the pests and eggs. These may be used as mint water for the plants the next day.

According to Dr. Shinya, author of The Enzyme Factor, there is no such thing as “harmful insects” since everything in this world is interconnected. This is why I retain leaves with insect bites (as long as it has no eggs) because the insect’s body, hands and feet, while in contact with the plant, leave  an enzyme called chitin-chitosan. This enzyme is found in the hard covering of an insect’s body which is the same enzyme found in the shell of shrimps and crabs. Chitin-Chitosan enzyme is an additional nutrient for herbs and also vegetables. It is a factor that is absent in edible plants that are contaminated with chemicals and pesticides.

Gardening is challenging with the presence of insects.  But it is good to know that insects, whether helpful or termed as “harmful” have such a valuable, nutritious and delicious contribution.   

The Gardener


Shinya, H. (2014). The enzyme factor: Diet for the future. New Delhi: B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.

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Thyme for Respiratory Infections

2:49 AM

Thyme originates from the Mediterranean.  Its name comes from the word thymus which means fumigate.

As a kitchen herb, it is used to flavor tomato sauces and is a great stuffing for meat, lamb and chicken.

As a herbal tea, it induces sweat and eases colds and bronchitis. It even helps heal indigestion. This is also effective for asthma since it relaxes the spasm in the airways.  It has a moistening effect that causes one to expectorate. Thyme sterilizes the lungs which makes it a front liner for respiratory infection.  Known for its bacterial and anti-fungal properties, it is an ingredient of Vicks and Listerine.

As a herbal bath, this herbs eases rheumatism and muscular aches and pains.

Thyme likes light soil and full sun for best aroma.  It needs watering every other day or when soi is already partly dry. It requires organic fertilizer monthly. (Visit Plant Care for more information.)

The Gardener


Harding, J. (2002). Holistic herbs: An introductory guide to the healing power of herbs. Bath: Parragon Publishing

Cammarata, J. A guide to herbal remedies: Safe and effective remedies for achieving and maintaining health. New Delhi: Goodwill Publishing House


Rosemary for Stress and Headaches

2:38 AM

Rosemary is a tall, woody evergreen shrub that can grow up to 3 meters.  Its scientific name is Rosmarinus officinalis. During the ancient times, rosemary was used as incense.

As a kitchen herb, it flavors chicken, lamb and red meat well.

For wellness, rosemary-infused teas help heal headaches and relieve stress. It should be taken only thrice a day like any tea. Rosemary tea should only be taken for a week maximum. It also should not taken by pregnant women.

It is a good tonic for the hair and scalp.  The tea can be mixed with shampoo. (Visit Hair Products: Shampoo, Conditioners, Dye and Green Tips.)

Rosemary needs full sun, watering every other day (or when partly dry) and organic fertilizer monthly. (Visit Plant Care for more information.)

Get your Rosemary at!

The Gardener


Harding, J. (2002). Holistic herbs: An introductory guide to the healing power of herbs. Bath: Parragon Publishing


Coriander for Metal Detox

2:25 AM

Coriander is mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus dated around 1550 BC. This is also one of the oldest spices mentioned in the Egyptian documents 1000 years ago.  Its scientific name is Coriandrum Sativum. It is also called Cilantro, Coriander, or Wansoy (Chinese parsley).

 As a kitchen herb, it can be used as a dip for fried, broiled or steamed fish or meat by its mixing leaves with onion, tomato and vinegar. It can also flavor noodles, salads, curry and Indian dishes.

For wellness, it is effective for flatulence, and nervous tension. The seeds act as digestive stimulant by increasing gastric juices. It is good for the kidney. It is a good metal detoxifier and is also referred as the “Poor Man’s Chelation” which removes aluminum, lead, mercury contamination trapped inside the body. (Visit Metals: Home Appliances and Heavy Metal Contaminationfrom Fish, Aluminum Cookers and Pans, and Coriander Detox.)

Coriander needs well-drained soil, full sun, watering every other day (or when partly dry) and organic fertilizer every month.  Its leaves also make effective pesticides. (Visit How to Care for your Herbal and Herbs for more information.)

The Gardener


Harding, J. (2002). Holistic herbs: An introductory guide to the healing power of herbs. Bath: Parragon Publishing

halamang gamot

Peppermint for Indigestion, Colds and Aches

2:13 AM

Peppermint is a perennial plant which is a crossbreed between water mint and spearmint.  In the Philippines, it is called Herba Buena or which loosely translates as “good herb”.  Its scientific name is Mentha x piperita. Ancient Greeks and Romans used this for d├ęcor for feasts and an ingredient for sauces.

As a kitchen herb, it can be used as minty topping for salads, added to chicken, meat or fish, and for sauces.

As a herbal tea, it can soothe indigestion and colds. Fresh or dried leaves can be made into herbal tea. Fresh leaves can be eaten, or crushed on aches and pains like headache, sinusitis, arthritis, etc. to directly apply enzymes. It may be slightly placed under the fire before direct application. It can also be made into homemade oil for massage for body pains and before bath. (Check Herbal and Herbs in Personal Care for more information.)

For plant care, peppermint needs part sun exposure, daily watering and organic fertilizer monthly. (Visit Plant Care for more information.)

Get your Peppermint at!

The Gardener


Harding, J. (2002). Holistic herbs: An introductory guide to healing of herbs. Bath: Parragon Publishing