If you base what taheebo is commercially, the plant prescribed would be Tabebuia sp. (I read in a blog samuraitsinay.multiply.com 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 www.stuartxchange.org, 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.