Brunei Medicinal Plants

A few years back I had this pain when urinating and forcing the urine to flow out felt as if someone had kicked me in the groin. It was that painful. The concensus among relatives was it was either appendix but it couldn't be because I didn't have any other symptoms or it could be stones in the kidney and it's making its way down. Anyway, after a very long wait to get a referral to RIPAS for a scan, and to cut a long story short, the scan showed nothing but the pain remained. Another trip to JPMC to get a second opinion said that that might be tiny stones or crystals instead of bigger stones. Whatever it is, it *&#*#$*?* hurts like crazy, I remembered thinking then. The medical solution was - wait for the tiny stones or crystals to wash out, if it washed out. What?!

My better half suggested a natural traditional solution. With pain that bad, I was more than willing to try anything. So we went to see this lady herbalist and she prescribed a plant whose leaves I had to blend and drink raw every morning. I did that for about a week, holding my nose trying to swallow this blended liquid (washed but uncooked and unboiled) down my throat. It was like drinking raw grass and leaves, which it was. But, lo and behold! It worked. After a week, the pain disappeared and another quick check at both RIPAS and JPMC showed nothing.

Now, I am not one that believed much in traditional medicine. But that particular one time I had to believe in it. I still am not sure what plant that was. Anyway, everytime I tell this story, a lot of elderly Bruneians (those older than me, so that would make them much older to you readers) will always come up with names of other plants that can heal practically all the diseases in the world. I remembered one plant my brother-in-law told me to look after and said that it will cure hypertension and I asked him how do I take it and what dosage? He looked at me funny. That was when I discovered that most of this knowledge being passed down are just the names of the plants and their supposed possible ability to cure certain illnesses but nothing else. To rely on them can mean signing your own death warrant if taken excessively. You would think someone ought to study this further as after all most medicines in the world started off with some plants or other. Remember quinine?

Actually a study has been made in Brunei Darussalam by the Agricultural Department and in fact a book entitled the "Medicinal Plants of Brunei Darussalam Part One" was published in 1992. (I am still waiting for Part Two.) The ethnobotanical information for the book was made with the cooperation of four local practising herbalists from Muara, Lamunin, Sengkurong and Jangsak. According to these four the plants in Brunei range from Akar Saga which can cure a certain urinary disease (blood in the urine) to Tahi Ayam plant which can be used for fever and coughs and leaves used for pouliticing wounds and skin itch to Sambal Bagangang which can strenghen one's body especially the back. Others include plants such as Bayam Berduri when boiled with Allium cepa and Nigella sativa apprently can cure Kencing Masin. Another plant Daun Pahit can be used to cure diabetes and reduce high blood pressure. Even the leaves of well known plants such as Durian Salad can also be used relieve certain allergies.

In the book, more than 100 of these plants were described. The book also described the ways in which the plants have to be prepared. Depending on the plants and the cure, the leaves or the plants can be prepared in several ways such as decoction, infusion, maceration, pounding, grinding or filing, sap application, vapour application, chewed concoction, smoke application, fresh consumption, ash application, tincture and warm compress. A list of cures with the plants used are also indexed in the book. A number of diseases have more than one plant cures such as blood pressure which has about 8 different plants which can either cure or alleviate it.

With synthetic drugs having side effects and sometimes ineffective against certain diseases, natural herbs need to be reexamined to see whether these can be used as alternatives. According to some study, plant-based drugs are valued at billions of dollars and with Brunei Darussalam possessing a very diverse tropical flora which contained many plants that have not been evaluated for medicinal purposes, it makes sense that we look into this 'wealth'. Research into these plants are really really essential which may help to diversify our economy.


Anonymous said…
Durian Salad ataupun Durian Salat?
Anonymous said…
I remember UBD Library have introduced a medicinal plants webpage, quite years ago and were launched during CONSAL IX in Brunei in the year 2001. This project actually cooperation with the department from Pertanian, Sinaut
Anonymous said…
I m taking one medicinal plant to reduce the size of the fibroid so that surgical operations can be avoided.
Anonymous said…
Oh i forgot to add, i eat it raw. Some did ask how could i eat it raw. Well, just imagine that we are eating salad or raw vegetable.
Anonymous said…
I am also taking herbal chinese medicine to shrink the size of my 'goiter' in my throat and it works wonderfully to me! From my own experience whoever tries herbal chinese medicines must have a lot of patience because one's cannot see the result automatically but slow and lasting and no recurrence if taken according to their advise, insya'Allah.
Anonymous said…
Natural medicines are better, not many side effects. Also, i hav an interesting post at my blog, visit if hav time. Thanks.
DocMamau said…
I personally think there is as much danger/risk with taking herbal medicine to conventional medicine. We dont know the chemical content of the plants, and if you dont know what you are trying to treat as well... well, i dont see how any good cn come out of it. On the other hand, if u do have some idea about what is wrong, i am never the one whos against 'combination' therapy..

Btw, Mr Br... when i first read abt ur symptoms,i was thinking of either u had urinary tract infection or as u said, stones that r too small to b seen by the scan. I tend to advise my patients to drink loads and loads of water, and also try taking cranberry juice (must be 100% pure for it to work!). If its proven UTI, i will give some antibiotics as well of course... heheh..
Anonymous said…
Mr BR, you wrote:
"My better half suggested a natural traditional solution. With pain that bad, I was more than willing to try anything. So we went to see this lady herbalist and she prescribed a plant whose leaves I had to blend and drink raw every morning. I did that for about a week, holding my nose trying to swallow this blended liquid (washed but uncooked and unboiled) down my throat. It was like drinking raw grass and leaves, which it was. But, lo and behold! It worked. After a week, the pain disappeared and another quick check at both RIPAS and JPMC showed nothing."

Scientifically speaking, this could mean one of a number of possibilities:
(1) It was the consumption of the traditional remedy that caused the desired outcome, which reading your succeeding paragraph would indicate that this was your conclusion.
(2) Conventional medicine foresaw this outcome, i.e. the stones did indeed pass, though this was un-noticed by the patient and the traditional remedy did not have any effect on the outcome.
(3) The stone(s) would have passed regardless, however, this process was sped uo by the utilization of the traditional remedy.
(4) You were misdiagnosed, and in fact, this was not a stone or other obstruction, but something else entirely such as a urinary tract infection (UTI) which was resolved due to the body's own immune system.

I think it is very dangerous to conclude that traditional remedies work on the basis of your experience. Further it is important to highlight that even taking traditional remedies alongside conventional medicine may be more detrimental than beneficial, particularly in patients with kidney problems such as renal failure. In these scenarios, even administration of certain drugs such as certain antibiotics or painkillers could be all it takes to push a patient over the edge into acute renal failure. The inability of their kidneys to clear toxic substances combined with the unknown components of the traditional remedy must surely preclude any sort of trial of these therapies.

At the same time, it is not unreasonable to suggest that we should be open to the first and third of my above list of permutations - that these traditional drugs do indeed have a scope, albeit limited, for use alongside more conventional treatment regimes. Laboratory-based examination of its contents, coupled with animal trials, followed-up by Phase I clinical trials should results prove encouraging, would indeed be a good starting point for the first major research project for the newly establised Institute of Medicine at our University.
anakbrunei said…
Interesting post there Mr BR. I had the same symptoms some 3 yrs ago and again recently. To illustrate the sensation, "kalau memigang pokok kelapa waktu bekamih atu, tecabut pohon kelapa tu!!"

Anyway, the prognosis was sharp little crystals passing through the urethra hence the pain and bleeding followed by urinary tract infection. I was told that this happens when you are on medication for prolonged periods.

In my case, hypertension and cholestrol medication for the past ten years was the culprit. I was advised to bring up the acidity of my diet by eating oranges and other acidic fruits...
Anonymous said…
I only know of one medicinal plant that is commonly used in my family to help combat diabetes..

Sad to say a few of my cousins who are between the ages of 30-40 have fallen victim to the disease not due to bad eating habits but due to genetic reasons and over sights.

So one of my elderly relatives suggested he/she drink a mixture made from "jangut kuching" Its a small plant that grows easily even if potted. So you boil a handful of this "jangut kuching" leave it to cool and it tastes similarly like really strong bitter tea.

Alhamdullilah so far it has proven to work for my dear cousins as they have been able to control their sugar level but not eliminate the disease entirely just yet..

However a word of warning, due to its effectiveness, those with mild diabetes can go into Hypo cos this stuff does eliminate the glucose level in your system..
viagra online said…
Can you recommend a book to identify some of these species and the kind of help that can produce?
Cialis said…
That sounds very unpleasant!
Elliott Broidy said…
This is wonderful information
I didn't know that this plant has many medicinal properties. Thanks for posting such an informational post. This is what is required in today's world is to spread the beam of knowledge.

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