Herbal Therapies for Women's Health in Indigenous Atis of Brgy. Sta. Barbara, Iba, Zambales

Maria Stephanie Fay S. Cagayan, Isidro C. Sia, Aubrey B. Manzo, Dewayne Jay M. Hafalia, Leah Rizza A. Dando, Lizza May H. Nava


Background: Cultural traditions in many rural areas of Southeast Asia form the core of women's primary health care. Women are the most frequent users of complementary and alternative medicine and herbal preparations, particularly, traditional herbal therapies for reproductive health. The Atis (Negrito people) are one of the many ethnic groups in the Philippines who are recognized as having good knowledge of traditional medicine.

Objective: This study aimed to document existing traditional practices on the use of herbs of women belonging to the Sambal Tina Ati indigenous group.

Methods: Data gathering was done through observations and interviews with key informants such as
traditional healers, barangay health workers, and community members. Focus group discussions were
conducted for validation and clarification of beliefs, knowledge, and practices of the participants. Sample medicinal plants were measured and taken for proper identification.

Results: Five traditional healers, 4 barangay health workers, and 11 community members were interviewed. Seven plants were identified and used for various women's health problems such as Artemisia vulgaris L. and Mimosa pudica for menstrual disorders, Capsicum annuum L. for labor induction, Tradescantia spathacea, Blumea balsamifera (Linn.), and Musa Textilis for postpartum relapse as well as Moringa oleifera for lactation. Commonly used plant preparations included decoction, infusion, and oil extract.

Conclusion: The research demonstrated that the traditional knowledge and practices in indigenous cultures are still present and thriving. It also showed the diversity of medicinal plants used by the Ati women. Age, educational level, and number of children affect knowledge and use of phytotherapies.


traditional medicine; women's health practices; phytotherapies

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Print ISSN: 2704-3517; Online ISSN: 2738-042X