Balanoi is a plant, which belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, grows to an erect length of 50 to 80 centimeters, the leaves of which are oval-shaped, and have slightly-toothed edges. The flowers of balanoi or common basil are either white or purple. The compounds that can be extracted from this plant vary, but it has been determined through various experiments and researches that its dried leaves contain 0.20% to 1% of essential oils. Balanoi has been renowned throughout the Philippines and in various parts of the world because of its medicinal and health benefits. It can be found all over the country, and have several uses. Balanoi’s use is not only limited to medicinal purposes, rather, extracts of common basil can be found in cosmetics, and are mixed in liquors and fragrances as well.
For instance, in South Africa and in India, the rhizomes of the Balanoi plant are extracted and are used as mosquito repellant. This plant has also been found to aid people that suffer from various health ailments. Studies have shown that there are particular activities on which Balanoi plant extracts and oils address. For one, it serves as an anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medicine because of ethanol substance that it has. It has also been used as a stimulant, and has been found to be an effective means to remove cold sores. In the Philippines, it is an option to alleviate pain caused by headaches, cramps, and even shortness of breath. The same goes true for sprains, and the way to do this is to rub the oil or the extract of the Balanoi plant leaves, mixed with alcohol, to the ailing part of the body. Balanoi also manifests anti-bacterial activities, in such a manner that intestinal worms are eradicated from the body when the ethanol extracts derived from it are taken in as a form of medication. There have also been clinical experiments showing that balanoi extracts, especially its ethanol content, can be used as anti-cancer, anti-ulcer, anti-diabetic and even shows promise for the protection of humans from radiation.
Preparation of Balanoi as Herbal Medication:
There are several ways to prepare the plant for medication, depending on the nature for which it is going to be used. The amount of raw materials and extracts that are needed also vary depending on the use. When the balanoi leaves are to be used to stimulate the body, it is recommended for the individual to permeate about twenty (20) balanoi leaves with 200 grams of water, and three to four cups are supposed to be drank a day. A combined weight of 40 grams basil leaves incorporated with 200 grams of water is to be used for gargling in order to remove cold sores. Health experts suggest that this be done three times every day, until the cold sores are gone. Now, for people who are suffering from shortness of breath, they are suggested to drink one glass of boiled balanoi leaves, consisting of twelve leaves mixed with one and a half liters of water, twice a day. Balanoi also helps regulate the women’s menstrual cycle, and if one is interested in this, they are supposed to prepare a mixture of 100 grams of balanoi leaves with a liter of water. It is recommended for people to drink four cups of this preparation several days before one’s expected period. As for its antibacterial purposes, ten grams of balanoi leaves fused with 100 grams of water should be boiled and drank a glass per day, during early mornings or when the person still has an empty stomach. Lastly, for the aid that it effects for pains caused by rheumatism, simple headache and occasional sprains, one should grind a concoction of balanoi, rosemary and ruta, in equal proportion. It should be rubbed to the ailing or throbbing part for eight days, the application of which may be continuous day and night.
Balanoy – Scientific name: Ocimum basilicum L.
English: Sweet Basil
A very fragrant herb, growing up to 70 cm high. An erect, branched undershrub, glabrous or somewhat branched; very aromatic when crushed. The stem is squarish. Leaves: simple, opposite, ovate to oblong-ovate, entire or slightly toothed, with acute tips and glandular spots on the lower surface. Flowers: the inflorescences are racemes, usually purplish with short pedicles. Calyx of the individual flower or floret is strongly reflexed, the upper lobe round, the lower two narrowly lanceolate and acuminate, and the lateral ones ovate. Corolla bilabiate, exerted, and upper lip broader, subequally 4-fid, the lower lip entire. Petals pink or purplish, stamens exserted.Fruits: nutlets, smooth or somewhat rugose.
There are two common species in the Philippines: O. basilicum and O. sanctum. Both can be used medicinally.
Tannins; polysaccharides; saponins; flavanoids; volatile oil.
Carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge, diuretic, demulcent, mucilaginous, cooling.
Distribution and Cultivation
Grows well in open areas with moist, well-drained and friable soil. Occasionally cultivated throughout the Philippines. Common garden plant. It flowers all year round. The plant is deeply rooted. Prefers warm and moist habitat, sensitive to dryness. Soil should be well-drained, and rich in humus to produce higher yields. Use seeds for propagation.
Mature fresh leaves are harvested 2 to 3 months after planting. Leaves are picked leaving the branches on the plant to allow it to flower and produce seeds for the next season.
The leaves are air-dried until they crumble when crushed with the fingers. Store in amber colored bottles in a cool, dry place.
The leafy and flowering tops are used as condiment; eaten sparingly in salads.
Cough: Expectorant properties – Take infusion or decoction of herb (9-15 gm of dried herb) or tops as tea.
Leaf juice helpful for expectoration of mucus.
Decoction of leaves also used for hiccups, vomiting and nausea.
Gas pains: Decoction of herb as tea helps to expel wind from bowels.
Snake bites: Crush fresh plant and poultice the bitten wound.
Gonorrhea, using a decoction of the roots and leaves of plants.
Decoction of leaves used as a wash for ulcers.
Used in baths for rheumatic pains.
Ringworm and insect bites: Apply juice of crushed leaves.
Skin ulcers: Decoction of herb as wash.
For delayed menstruation: take the juice of the leaves with water.
Seeds are used in treatment of several eye diseases.
Toothache: Wet small piece of cotton with juice of crushed leaves and insert into tooth cavity.
Postpartum: Decoction of seeds used to decrease postpartum pains; the seeds are mucilaginous.
Poultice of seeds used for buccal sores.
Decoction of seeds also used for constipation.
Acne: Infusion of 3 tsp of dried leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 20-30 minutes. Apply externally or drink decoction of tea or infusion 3 times daily.
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