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Lagundi and yesteryears

By Pet Melliza

The weather has gone haywire. It blows hot and cold. Unexpected downpours during All Saints Day after an interlude of parching heat makes nights and early morning cold, confusing our body defense system.
I had cold and flu after the All Saints Day but I managed to move around normally without lying in bed.
Thanks to lagundi (Vitex negundo). I stock dried lagundi leaves at home that is ready to drink as tea by pouring hot water on it in a ceramic cup. However, as I felt my throat becoming itchy, my fever rising and chest becoming tight, I drank at least three cups daily.
After the second day, my sore throat was gone, my chest loosened, and phlegm easily expelled from my throat and nose.
Lagundi in tablets, capsules or emulsions are now available in drugstores. Its sales must be brisk that multi-national companies are spending millions in mostly negative advertisements. Instead of just promoting their respective brands, they put down herbal medicines that are becoming popular to Filipinos.
One of their main targets is lagundi in their line “the one, not dahon (leaves)”.
I love to punch the nose or wish somebody else could with greater vigor, of the clown who stars in advertisements that cast aspersions on “dahon”. To irritate him further, I invite readers to surf on  http://www.medicalhealthguide.com/articles/lagundi.htm.
Let me quote a portion of the blog:

“The efficacy of Lagundi has also been verified by the Philippine Department of Health and other Philippine based scientists which concentrated on its use to ease respiratory complaints. Lagundi is generally used for the treatment of coughs, asthma symptoms, and other respiratory problems, Lagundi is also known for its analgesic effect that helps alleviate pain and discomfort. Other traditional benefits that are derived from the use of Lagundi are as follows:

  • ·       Relief of asthma & pharyngitis;
  • recommended relief of rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, diarrhea; treatment of cough, colds, fever and flu and other bronchopulmonary disorders;
  • alleviate symptoms of chicken pox;
  • removal of worms, and boils”.
My stock of dried lagundi leaves comes from the nearby three hills of the plant at home. Lagundi grows fast. I would shear it of its entire canopy of leaves but in a month’s time, another batch of leaves is ready for harvest.
Lagundi is easy to grow, either through its seeds or twigs. A branch the size of coconut midrib and five inch long can be used as seedling in an asexual propagation. Just plant as many of that in a pot. At least one-half of that survives and is ready to transplant to individual pots after a month.
Happy planting.
With the advent of the “-ber”  months (September, October, November and December) the weather is supposed to be dry and cool, with very, very seldom rains.
Harvest season is supposed to be in progress and farmers are busy harvesting and drying their palay.
Before the advent of the mechanical thresher, farmers  remove the grains from their bushels by foot that they called “linas” on a bamboo platform about six feet high.
People then were  not in a hurry. They didn’t rush to prepare their fields for the next cropping. They fallow or let their fields rest after harvest that today’s farmers are loathed to do nowadays.
Harvest was done in the last quarter of the year but people didn’t rush to thresh their yield. They waited for the months when the winds are favorable. They stacked their bushels into mounds called “tumpi” that were so designed to withstand mist or showers and at the same time keep the gains dry. The “linas” or threshing was in the windy months of January or February that kids called kite flying season.
As farmers threshed the bushels of palay with their feet on a bamboo platform, the grains fell down and were collected in a bamboo mat below. However, the winds blew  the “upahon” or branny ones away from the mat. Farmers after the linas would winnow the palay by pouring the grains on the bamboo mat for the wind to blow away the “upahon”.
Those were yesteryears.

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