Her attention caught by DLSHSI’s exhibit on its research on herbal remedies, a foreign IALU Encuentro X delegate casually asked VC for Research Dr. Mel Frias if they have something for her Impetigo. To her surprise, he said yes, and introduced to her an organically-formulated Virgin Coconut Oil which research has found to an effective remedy against this contagious infection of the skin which cause blisters that form yellow-brown scabs. She left DLSHSI and the Philippines with a bottle of the VCO. About two months later, Dr. Frias received an email from her thanking him for the lotion which has brought her great relief from her Impetigo.


The VCO lotion is only one of the herbal-based remedies that the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute’s – Angelo King Medical Research Center (DLSHSI-AKMRC) in Dasmariñas Cavite has contributed to medical care through its researches that center on our indigenous natural resources as possible health remedies.


For example, researchers in the Dasmariñas, Cavite-based Lasallian community have already proven that indeed, extracts of a specific part of two local plants have possible effects in raising platelet count, which is key in dengue patients. They are now initiating Phase II clinical trials on the formulation to determine its toxicity levels. Research for medicines against dengue is complemented by another research on black pepper to target dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Another plant is also now the subject of another study, this time for its possible use against cancer.


Also, in two collaborative studies with researchers from DLSU-Manila, DLSHSI researchers, have proven the effectiveness of our local Malunggay seeds and Yacon leaves as remedies against common skin bacterial infections. There are also on-going researches on at least 10 plants for their possible uses as anti-TB remedies.


In addition to the VCO lotion, the Research Center has also developed other herbal-based topical remedies: Akapulco lotion for scabies, Neem lotion, an effective insect repellant; and Atis leaves for the treatment of head lice.


DLSHSI’s focus on discovering and developing herb or plant-based remedies is motivated by its mission to find ways to make quality medical care more accessible to poor Filipinos by delving into our rich resource of locally-available plants.


These efforts are critical for the health industry, especially in the midst of the prevalence of herbal supplements being sold in our country today, which claim “medical benefits.” This thriving multi-million peso industry indicates a strong need and belief among Filipinos for herbal-based health remedies. However, experts contend there are issues of toxicity and actual efficacy that must be addressed before they can be used as treatments. This is the research gap that DLSHSI-AKMRC aims to bridge. A tall order, but this group of researchers is ready for the challenge.