Doctor stresses efficacy of lagundi tablet, syrup for mild symptoms of COVID-19

January 13, 2022 - 5:03 PM
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Photo of lagundi or the five-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo L.) via the website of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development

A doctor refuted social media users who cast doubt on the efficacy of the lagundi plant as a treatment for some mild symptoms of COVID-19.

In a Facebook post, Carlo Trinidad, also called kidney doctor on social media, shared the benefits of the herbal plant on January 8.

Lagundi, also known as the five-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo), is a woody shrub that is widely used in the Philippines as herbal medicine.

“Lagundi para sa mga sintomas ng mild covid-19: Ayon sa EVICT (Efficacy of Vitex negundo or lagundi for COVID-19 trial) ng UP NIH – Institute of Herbal Medicine ay epektibo ang lagundi upang mabawasan ang sintomas dulot ng mild covid,” Trinidad said in his post.

The doctor, however, reminded his followers that a lagundi tablet or syrup should not be considered as cure for the highly-transmissible disease.

“PAALALA: HINDI NAKAKAGAMOT NG COVID-19 ANG LAGUNDI. Para lang ito sa ubo o hirap sa paghinga dulot ng MILD COVID-19,” he said.

“Kung labis na nahihirapan huminga o mababa ang oxygen saturation (<95%) ay maiging pumunta sa pinakamalapit na ospital upang matingnan ng doctor,” he added.

Details for the appropriate dosage to take were also provided in the graphic.

This infographic came from the University of the Philippines-Manila, Institute of Herbal Medicine.

The institute posted this on its own Facebook page last week.

Despite his post being backed by science, Trinidad was disappointed that some social media users preferred to believe on TikTok videos more than the scientific proof.

The doctor expressed his sentiments on Twitter.

He also attached some screenshots of comments under his Facebook post that showed comments of online users who were doubtful of lagundi’s efficacy against mild symptoms of COVID-19.

“I am shocked that there are many doubting the efficacy of Lagundi for symptom-relief. Maybe next time scientific studies should publish their findings in TikTok as well, since most people believe its videos right away,” he said.

In a separate post, Trinidad also shared screenshots of comments of online users whom he said have misunderstood his post.

“Nagpost ako na ok ang lagundi para mabawasan ang SINTOMAS ng MILD COVID gaya ng ubo. Tapos may disclaimer kasunod nito na hindi nakakagamot mismo ng COVID and lagundi. In ALL CAPS. Reading comprehension left the group,” he said.

Scientific studies on lagundi

In the study Trinidad cited on Facebook, researchers from the UP-Manila Institute of Herbal Medicine found significant changes in patients who took lagundi tablets or syrup as compared to those who did not.

“Mayroong naging mahalagang pagbabago sa mga nakaranas ng kawalan ng pang-amoy o anosmia at sa total symptom score ng mga pasyente na nasa lagundi group kung ikukumpara sa nasa placebo group,” the study said.

“Mayroong pagbuti sa symptom score ng mga nakatanggap ng lagundi kung ikukumpara sa mga nakatanggap ng placebo para sa ubo, sipon, pananakit ng lalamunan, pagkapagod o pananakit ng katawan bagamat hindi ito umabot sa statistical significance,” it added.

Another study titled “Recommended Medicinal Plants as Source of Natural Products: A Review” published in 2018 stated the Department of Health approved the chaste tree as a medicinal plant in the country.

Its medicinal uses are—“Cough, asthma, pharyngitis, rheumatism, boils, diarrhea, and dyspepsia.”

Other plants the DOH approved as “medicinal” are the following:

  • Garlic or bawang
  • Nagal camphor or sambong
  • Ringworm bush or akapulko
  • Mint or yerba Buena combined with oregano
  • Scorpion Bush or Tsaang-Gubat
  • Bitter Melon or Ampalaya
  • Silver Bush or Ulasimang Bato
  • Guava or Bayabas
  • Rangoon Creeper or Niyug-niyogan

Last week, several social media users reported that some drug stores declaring out-of-stock of brands of Biogesic, Neozep and Decolgen and other pain relievers amid the rising COVID-19 cases in the country, fueled by the Omicron variant.

In view of this, some online users suggested home remedies and herbal medicines for flu in the meantime.

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