Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Marvelous Taheebo

There is some confusion in using common names. One example is taheebo. Taheebo is supposedly a medicinal plant, a wonder drug if some may call it. But most literatures actually do not include absolution to what is the identity of taheebo.

If you base what taheebo is commercially, the plant prescribed would be Tabebuia sp. (I read in a blog that it is Tabebuia avellanedae). Tabebuia is the New World genus of landscape trees and shrubs in the Bignonia family. Incidentally a lot of Tabebuia species have made it to the Philippines as landscape plant, like T. pallida, lutea, rosea etc. Now another species has made it to Philippine shores via the vitamin supplement route.

My Marvel Taheebo, the food supplement, claims that the active part of taheebo comes from the inner bark or phloem. If I remember my Biology right the phloem is the one that distributes food from plant leaves back to the roots (that is why when you ring or circumferentially debark a tree, it dies). Commercial taheebo is said to have the ff properties: analgesic, anti-oxidant, decongestant, diuretic, hypotensive and ultimately as cancer therapy. Truly marvelous but not what I am after this moment.

The less popular taheebo is the one they call balbas pusa in Philippine countrysides, or Orthosiphon aristatus. Though not the one used in the wonder drug it has its shares of wonders as an herbal cure. In fact it is more known to albularyos and faithhealers (local witchdoctors) than the commercial taheebo.

According to, the balbas pusa is an effective diuretic and cure for kidney and urinary problems. The leaves are supposed to contain a lot of potassium salts. These are boiled and drank as a tea.

I remember my parents resorting to a faithhealer years ago to cure some ailments they had. The albularyo made use of heated drinking glasses and placed it on my dad's bare back. Up to this day they could not forget that painful experience. When they were on their way home the faithhealer gave them cuttings of the balbas pusa as a sort of drug prescription. That is why to this day I have the plant as a weed in our garden.

I inquired with Leonard Co the origin of Orthosiphon aristatus. He said a lot of literatures have indicated balbas pusa is a native plant of the Philippines. But in all of his local field work he had never encountered the plant in a natural and wild setting.

But in any case the balbas pusa has rooted itself deep into our traditional and folk culture as medicinal plant. The white spike flowers are an added bonus, rendering the plant landscape worthy. It is also easy to propagate by plant cutting, thus an economical planting material.


Dimple Santiago said...

I want to plant this Taheebo because we know we can get many benefits from this plant. Hope I can find it. Thanks.

Kirstz @ tree planting Philippines

Azoreskid said...

I have taheebo plants here in my place in Los baƱos, Laguna. In fact, I have just trimmed my plants because of its luxuriant growth. I was planning to dry the leaves, grind, and boil as my morning tea.

dcgm said...

sir can you contact me regarding the taheebo tree thanks 09178511377 tnx

LuckySLM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LuckySLM said...

First i would like to thank God for this "Divine Plant" or " Miraculous Plant" as a gift for me. I have suffered for arthritis pain for almost a year, been through hilot and medication but nothing happen. I saw this plant at nieghbour and asked to give me some so i can plant it until it grows faster but i never know the name, until asked her and she said that it is Taheebo. I started searching the benefits of Taheebo and how to make it as tea. It did wonders for me, my arthritis gone and made me feel energitic againot whenever i feel tired, coughing, flu i drink it. I am drinking my Taheeboo tea 3 times a day or more without adding sugar. Thank you Lord for providing me this wonerful plant.

hou said...

sir can you contact me regarding the taheebo tree thanks 09178511377 tnx
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Unknown said...

if you want cuttings of balbas pusa, i have it in my house..message me in my fb. aileen banaga..ty

Unknown said...

Ang dali dali po tumubo nito. Magputol lang ako ng sanga at itutusok ko sa empty bottles na ginawa kung paso, after a couple of days hercomes tumubo na po agad.

Unknown said...

just got a mine from my landlady but she called it serpentina but her son inlaaw said it was taheebo, those 2 are different plant but they both have good health benefits for us. try to search serpentina and ashitaba health benefits too, you guys might surprise. I am starting to change my garden instead of usual plant i gonna grow serpentina,ashitaba and taheebo plants and include them on my daily diet.

Unknown said...

Is Taheebo a Tree or an ornamental plant?