Category Archives: Health Matters

Ashitaba Leaves: Edible and Wonderful

To be packed with much properties alledged to be beneficial to human health is just too wonderful for a leaf! And because the leaf comes from a plant that has grown and been used by Japanese since when makes it more believable.

And why not? Japanese people are amongst those with highest life expectancy in the planet earth (Population Reference Bureau 2016). When a group of humans live ten to twenty years more than the rest in the same universe, they must have something that the rest do not have. They must have better environment, better peace and order, healthier food, more positive outlook in life, happier relationships, more resilience and more.

So, let us get back to Ashitaba leaves. I am a fortunate recipient of Ashitaba plant from a classmate-friend Jenny who lives in a cool, farm-conducive, mountainous Bukidnon. Bukidnon province is one of the vegetable baskets of the Philippines. I did not know about Ashitaba but this friend’s generosity led me to it. Jenny knows I am a natural remedy advocate. With my husband’s help (in getting good soil), our home is now with this Japanese plant Ashitaba.


In more complex but delicious taste, the leaves can be taken in as a juice, smoothie, tea or salad dressing. For no hassle, simply pluck a leaf, wash and eat!

My son has this eating vegetable challenge in his health class today. The easiest and fastest way is to cut three tip branches from the Ashitaba plant and voila! Johm has now the ready to eat veggie. Off to school he went this morning with these leaves still on the tip branches inside a clear plastic food container.


So, what are those alledge health benefits of Ashitaba leaves? Here is a good write-up about Ashitaba from Ashitaba Plant website.

What Is Ashitaba

Ashitaba has the scientific name Angelica Keiskei. This plant naturally grows on coastal lands in Japan (here is in depth article about growing ashitaba). Ashitaba has been a staple in the Japanese diet and “regular” in their medicine cabinets for centuries. Recently, Ashitaba has begun to grace in natural food stores and on the worldwide web.

Based on folktales, the Japanese have used Ashitaba for generations. Only in the 90s that modern researchers—hearing of its benefits —dig deeper about the plant.

Scientific Researches on Ashitaba

In 1991, Y. Inamori and his group of scientists from Osaka University in Japan set out to find what was so magical about the plant. They were specifically studying “chalcones”—naturally occurring antioxidants found in the plant that provide the medicinal properties.

Inamori’s research was focused on two specific chalcones (xanthoangelol and 4-hydroxyderricin) which he isolated because they were thought to provide powerful anti-bacterial benefits. The scientists actually used the drug Streptomycin in the study, and compared its potency to Ashitaba. While Streptomycin was more powerful than the plant, they found Ashitaba to be very effective against Staph and Strep infections (and you don’t even need a prescription!).

At the end of the study, the scientists said that Ashitaba “possessed potent anti-bacterial properties.” They concluded by writing, “The growth-inhibitory effects of II [Ashitaba] on plant-pathogenic bacteria is also reported for the first time in this paper.”

Another research group lead by Takata Okuyama from Meiji College in Tokyo, was looking at the anti-tumor benefits of Ashitaba. They were focusing on Ashitaba’s golden, oozing sap that is extremely rich in specific “chalcones”. The scientists stated that potent anti-tumor promoter activity has been found in “extracts of the root of Ashitaba which is eaten as a vegetable in Japan”.

The Meiji College group was focused on two completely different chalcones (xanthoangelol and ashitaba-chalcone). According to their report, both of the chalcones revealed anti-tumor-promoting activity and “may be useful in developing effective methods for cancer prevention.”

Ashitaba can also keep your blood healthy. This, according to Jing-Ping OY, and associates at the Medical College of Wuhan University, Wuhan China. This group of scientists wanted to learn if Ashitaba could protect human endothelial cells. Endothelial cells are cells that line the blood vessels.

They discovered that Ashitaba had anti-atheroscleroticeffects on high cholesterol. In other words, Ashitaba is “heart-protective.” They actually went so far as to write that all the health problems associated with high cholesterol could be “reversed by Ashitaba [angelica] significantly; our findings provided experimental basement for the clinical application of Ashitaba [angelica] to prevent the development of atherosclerosis.”

For this last research group, Wang X and his scientists reported in the Archives of Pharmaceutical Research on findings discovered about the plant. These researchers wanted to know if there was a connection between Ashitaba and blood circulation. The scientists placed red blood cells (RBCs) in various concentrations of Ashitaba in test tubes. Their question: Does Ashitaba affect aggregation or “clumping” of red blood cells? (Clumping of blood cells is not good because it can result in strokes and other problems.)

Further, they wanted to know—when Ashitaba was present in the blood— how red blood cells preformed when they were “squeezed” or “squished” as they passed through tiny capillaries in the body (scientists call this deformation, and only healthy red blood cells can withstand the pressure).

Amazingly, the researchers showed that when the chalcones in Ashitaba were present, red blood cells were strengthened, didn’t clump, and could withstand their tight passage through minuscule capillaries. In other words, the blood cells were made stronger. Ashitaba has a “positive effect against certain cardiovascular diseases.”

Welcoming Ashitaba

Knowing all these health benefits, it is just sensible to include Ashitaba in daily regimen. The plant is too gardener-friendly it grows without much effort and hassle. And it tastes alright like other vegetables.


Inamori Y, Baba K, Tsujibo H, Taniguchi M, Nakata K, Kozawa M. Antibacterial Activity of Two Chalcones, Xanthoangelol and 4-hydroxyderricin, Isolated from the Root of Angelica Keiskei.
Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Japan. Pharmacol Ther 1991 Dec;52(3):331-63.

Jing-Ping OY, Baohua W, Yongming L, Lei W, Jingwei Y Effect Of Angelica On The Expressional Changes Of Cytokines In Endothelial Cells Induced By Hyperlipidemic Serum.Department of Pathophysiology, Medical College of Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430071, P.R. China. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc 2001;24(3):201-5.

Wang X, Wei L, Ouyang JP, Muller S, Gentils M, Cauchois G, Stoltz JF. Effects Of An Angelica Extract On Human Erythrocyte Aggregation, Deformation And Osmotic Fragility Group Cell and Tissue Mechanics and Engineering, LEMTA – UMR 7563 CNRS/INPL/UHP, 54500 Vandoeuvre-les- Nancy, France. 1991 Mar;14(1):87-92.

Okuyama T, Takata M, Takayasu J, Hasegawa T, Tokuda H, Nishino A, Nishino H, Iwashima A. Anti- tumor-promotion by principles obtained from Angelica keiskei. Department of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Meiji College of Pharmacy, Tokyo, Japan. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1991 Jun;39(6):1604-5.

Minerva’s 10 Triumphant Years Over Cancers

Below is a poem I posted as birthday greetings for my once-a-nun sister-in-law, Minerva, on her Facebook wall. Minerva, or as we fondly call her Bebang, celebrates her 49th birthday on 5 October 2016. She is cancers’ survivor for ten years now. Her life is a living testimony of God’s immense grace and how life is not dictated by bookish pathophysiology   of cancer or other so-called “terminal” illnesses. That we are reminded to look beyond what is before us. That while we adhere to the medical interventions prescribed by modern medicine, we also need to exhaust other sensible therapeutic options available. That we may need to sacrifice our palate’s wants from time to time for the greater purposes of healing the greater parts of out body.

Ter Minerva, you’ve journeyed well the bumpy roads from ten years ago
The year Lagud Sam’s born was your victory over cancers
Yes, not just one but two – for being a woman and for being brainy too
Stage 2 then stage 4, oh you’ve jumped off those perilous stages

Foremost by God’s grace you joyfully live life and continue to shine
Each day as God grants you without falter is an amazing experience
As you continually gives praise to God in all your circumstances
We are witnesses to how you glorify God even in smallest graces

True with such major procedures you are in such a delicate condition
But it never stops you from living life and outdo whatever the situation
For your upkeep you commute and work just like any industrious worker
Shielded by your unwavering faith and of course there’s FLP your forever

Indeed you are the real epitome of your fave song “I will survive”
Ten years of God’s immense grace is one of those life’s miracles
Ter, you certainly inspire many hopeless to rise and enjoy the ride
In this life’s vehicle on loan to us we must at all times be courageous


bebang at 49.jpg


Menarche: A Developmental Milestone, A Rite of Passage

For individuals born with female reproductive system, menarche is an expected event during adolescence.  It marks the delineation of a girl and a woman.  Menarche, pronounced as ˈme-ˌnär-kē, refers to the first menstrual flow of a female. On average, among Filipinos, it usually occurs at age 12 years old.  Although, among those who consume more of high-protein diet, menarche may occur as early as age 9 years old.  But for those who are skinny to the point of appearing dehydrated, it may occur as late as 16 years old.


Location of the Pituitary Gland in the Human Brain

With the interplay of hormones in the body, secondary sex characteristics among females are activated during the adolescent stage.  A part of the brain, the pituitary gland, makes it possible for the release of gonadotropin hormones (LH and FSH), which are responsible in the dynamics of a ripened egg cell.  The anterior pituitary gland produces seven important hormones: human growth hormone (hGH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin (PRL), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH).  The ovum or ripened egg cell is released by either of the two ovaries towards either of the left or right fallopian tubes. If a female is observant of her body, she will notice a mittelschmerz or that dull pain felt upon ovulation in either left or right part where ovaries lie.

female repro system

The Female Reproductive System

Having a menarche calls for a celebration among some people.  Mothers prepare a menarche party.  In some societies, girls on menarche undergo certain rituals. In the Philippines, there are traditional ways to do upon menarche, transmitted by mothers or grandmothers to their daughters.  Recalling our own moments of menarche, friends hailing from the provinces, share similar experiences.  There was this instruction to leap three levels of a stairwell in the house.  There was also a gabi leaf to sit on to, with the rationale of evading possible overflow on skirts.  The list could go on…

What really sets the present generation apart from the past, when it comes to menarche, is the availability of sanitary napkins.  Along with other positive social change that benefit the present-day population, having menstruation on a monthly basis has become comfortable.  Gone are the difficulties of using pasador, washing it, and reusing itPasador is a cloth used in lieu of the present sanitary napkin.  These days array of sanitary napkins are available to choose from.  There are those for day use and night use, for heavy flow and for ebbing flow.  There are also those which are ion-based, which are healthier to use compared to ordinary napkins.

Now, it is my and my friends’ daughters’ turn to experience menarche.  I prepared mine by letting her wash her undies and teaching her how to wash them properly.  Barely half a year since washing her own undies and she has now her menarche.  There’s no party and no transmission of the traditional ways.  There were just congratulations, health education on hygiene and propriety, and thanksgiving prayer for such a milestone in life being experienced.



for mariam cali: the myoma story

hi beauty! since i wasn’t able to see you there for that “myoma story,” let me just share with you about it here online. (sosyal noh)

having that FLP therapy did wonders to a number of diseases i had had. because of the aloe vera properties, which by principle would eliminate whatever is foreign inside the physical body (abnormal presence there), there were growths i had which were also melted away simultaneous with the main purpose – myomata elimination.

I had this childhood hemorrhoid, from my father’s side, which had grown in size as i also grew older. In fact, I sometimes could NOT sit flat on a chair due to the inflamed (at times bleeding) hemorrhoid.

There was also a recurring tonsillitis since i was in grade 2; i was in antibiotics for this from erythromycin to servitrocin by 500mg since (I didn’t know then how bad these drugs are to the kidneys & liver). Then it just worsened & recurred approximately every month during the first years of MSU work with all those committees to attend to. When my tonsils get inflamed i would have high fever (38-390C), chills & body malaise (can’t seem to do a thing due to weakness).

Then there was that very bad dysmenorrhoea since I had my first menstruation at age 12. Grabeh, it’s also increasing in level of pain, as in, it came to a point that i can feel the discomforts at my back & front even a week prior to the actual menstrual flow! Then during the first two days, i had to position myself in fours (murag sigbin) to somehow ease the pains, apart from alaxan (hay, dili motuo og Mydol!). Plus the crying spells! I would learn later that those were caused by the hormonal imbalance within my body.

Then there were those 6 myomata (myoma) surrounding my uterus as actually seen by the Cesarean operation team during my first CS (jan2003).  The team could not take out those, except for the one which was situated away from the intestines, for the purpose of a biopsy (that turned out negative, PTL). Since it was an emergency CS, i was not prepared for the operation like not eating for 12hours (NPO), my intestines were bloated & were touching the uterus. By the way, i was on CS because of oligohydramnios (no more “water”). Kim already was on the 2week “plus” of actual due date. Martin was too keen to have detected the bradycardia (low fetal heart rate, down to 85beats per min; normal is anywhere between 110-160bpm) caused by the oligo state.  Martin made it a habit to count FHR every morning by placing his ear on my bulging abdomen. He knew how to do it as he was a trained nurse aide at Mindanao Sanitarium &Hospital.

Actually, two myomata were seen on my 2month-ultrasound that grew bigger in size during my 6month & 8th month untrasounds. i had 3ultrasounds every pregnancy, one per trimester…been pregnant 3times, hence i had 9ultrasounds in all, all at micron.

I was told by my gyne & the naturopathic specialist of the possibility to have hysterectomy (complete removal of my internal reproductive system) when i’d reach my 40s, so i was advised to reproduce as i could (notice the 3kids from 2003 to 2006!).  Kim (15jan2003), Johm (29dec2004), & sam (8dec2006). Per job advantage, they were all planned to be born by December so i can attend fully to the baby for 5months! Mathematics in motherhood! Christmas vacation to 2month maternity leave to summer vacation. By the time i’m back to the limelight (er classroom diay), the baby’s able to eat soft food, convenient for the daddy to babysit. Ay! Back to myoma.

This prompted me to seek for alternative medicine that would prevent the hysterectomy. I’d say, it was good that I had been a believer of natural healing; this is not to say that i’m not for the artificial. I seem to have collected IDs from my registration with different companies offering natural health products since 1992: Jason Winters Tea, Shaklee, Forever Living Products, E.Excel, DXN, Kinotakara, K-Link. These i’d tried the products & i’d say, each had good effect on me & my parents (beneficiaries of my purchased items too).

At that time my husband’s relative (Sweetie Morales Maquiso) was so ecstatic in sharing with us how she was spared of the planned surgery when her ovarian cyst ceased to be visible in ultrasound.  She said she had FLP therapy, that’s why.

Hence, even when pregnant with Kim then at seven months in my uterus, with the professional medical guidance & suggestions of my naturopathic specialist, I underwent FLP therapy. First effect – i was never bothered by my hemorrhoid even with my heavy abdomen.  Next, tonsillitis has not shown off anymore.

Then when Kim’s one year & two months, we decided it’s time for the second baby (braving the Cesarean section wound eh). I went to Cebu to learn more about FLP in the two-day training from Ms. Yasuy (a beauty-brainy-wow-sexy nutritionist turned practicing FLP prescriptionist…& very good at it! Lots of testimonials from cases turned down by western med doctors but became well with the FLP combination therapies).

I continued with my FLP therapy. Back to the principle, only what is foreign is eliminated (myoma, hemorrhoid), what is natural (fetus) is nourished. My 4month ultrasound did not register any sign of the myomata; the same with the two succeeding ultrasounds. Then when the same CS team in the same hospital (Mercy Community Hospital) performed CS on me on dec2004, they could not see a trace of the 5myomata! Recall, that of the 6myomata, one was taken out for a biopsy. BUT… the area where that one myoma was surgically scraped off… there was sprouting/budding (like that of a pruned tree branch). This made me continue still with my FLP therapy, albeit with modifications of the 5-8combination products by the naturopathic specialist DocNonoy.

The second CS was again an emergency because of fetal tachycardia (more than 160bpm, opposite to the first CS). This was due to the position of the baby as he is bigger. Johm was born 7.8lbs then.

My third baby (Sam) was scheduled for CS 8Dec2006, same CS team & hospital.  It was confirmed by the team that there were no more trace of the myoma, even those sprouts were gone!

I guess it turns out positive that we didn’t see each other at the College for i was forced to put my experience into writing. And, in doing so beauty, i can’t help thinking how fortunate i am to have treaded that path to wellness, with few individuals I met as instruments to it. I thank God for allowing me to know FLP, for unlike the usual buntis who experiences the common hassles of pregnancy, i was kind of spared from those. my tummy’s just grown big, that’s all.  And my kids are in great shape, not much of synthetic supplements ever, only FLP!  Understandably, as always, I have the fervor to share the good reaps I had with FLP. TGBTG! PTL!

May my story help you in any way, beauty. For sure God provides us with what is in nature for us humans to use for our well-being & happiness & peace. For how can we be happy if we are ill, with dis-ease; how can we have peace with any disturbance to our health at all!  As what health experts would say, seek a second opinion.  Consult the general practitioner, the family doctor who sees you as a whole person & not just by part according to specialization.  I suggest… you see the naturopathic doctor this time. The natural… the less side-effects or no side effects at all.


DISCLAIMER: This is not written for and in behalf of the Forever Living Products Company. This is just a written account of the author’s personal experience with the efficacy of the products taken by her and her immediate family members.  

[originally posted at Multiply, 13 June 2008 7:30 AM] by Mary Ann

Bebang’s Experiences of Cancers: Her Therapies and Survivor Spirits

We knew about sisBebang’s cancers from Day1 and how she survived from those with God’s compassion and grace through different ways, including FLP.

Barely a year after Bebang left the convent life in 2004; she was diagnosed with 7myoma.  When she joined the world of workcancer1a, she was employed as call center agent of a western company based in Manila. The fast-paced metropolitan life subjected her to unhealthy diet of fast-food meals and snacks, irregular and deficient sleeping hours, lesser physical activities and the like.  With the company’s regular medical check-up, her multiple myomas were discovered.  

Probably owing to her company’s large coverage in health insurance, she was administered two separate medical procedures within a 5-week gap. She first  underwent D&C (dilatation & curettage) on 9Sept2005 where the myomas were sloughed off from her left ovary.  And on 12Oct2005 she underwent hysterectomy (complete removal of 2ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus). Biopsy of the growths revealed cancer at Stage2.cancer1b

She decided to go home to her mother, already 70 years old, who is in Iligan City.  Her only brother met her at the airport in Cagayan de Oro CIty.  In a wheelchair, her brother recounted that he did not recognize his sister who looked really sick, thin and lackluster.

While in Iligan, she took heed of her family’s advice to take on health supplements to enable her to recuperate faster. Bebang religiously took the prescribed combination of FLP supplements & tried hard to follow a healthy diet of fish, vegetables, and fruits.  For the record, she grew up a meat eater and a fastfood regular.  Consequently, her sacrifices paid off, and her health had tremendously improved.  Looking good and feeling better already, she went back to Manila and resumed her work as Call Center Agent.  While working, she simultaneously underwent chemotherapy at St. Luke’s Hospital, with her former religious sisters and some officemates as companions.

She was back to to her commercialized diet and work-stresses.  These and her continued chemotherapies with no more FLP supplements probably ignited the lurking CA cells once more and at a higher level.  Barely a year had passed when she underwent hysterectomy, a spread-out tumor was spotted on her MRI reading.  The tumor blocked some of her proper braicancer2an functions that she experienced erratic coordination between her intended task and actual realization of such task.  While she ate, her spoon passed by
her mouth.  She looked a little cross-eyed at times as the affected eye was fixed while the other eye moves about.  Later, she had seizures.

The tumor’s condition was difficult to operate since it was spread out, considering the delicate brain matter and the time needed to take out the tumor.  It was at this condition that, with her family’s prodding, Bebang took FLP again.  The gel (AVG) reportedly (by testimonials) has the property to encapsulate tumors.  She took the supplements while the family scouted for the appropriate hospital with reasonable and affordable medical costs where the procedure would take place.  Her surgeon suggested that instead of having the procedure at the Medical City, where she was confined, it will be done at the PGH.  Same procedure, same doctor, different hospital, lesser costs.

cancer2bTo the amazement of her doctors, subsequent MRI showed a consolidated localized tumor.  What the naturopathic doctor, Dr. Yasuy, said about the Aloe Vera gel chemical properties capable of encapsulating tumors had came true to Bebang’s case.  This encapsulation story had been experienced by a number of patients under Dr. Yasuy’s care.  It is worth to mention here too that my own ruptured appendicitis in August 2009 also localized and did not spread to cause systemic infection, given that rupture was approximated by Dr. De la Cruz to be over 24 hours already.

Localization of the tumor made it possible for the operation.  Hence, on 23Sept2006, she underwent Craniotomy (opening of the skull to expose the brain) so doctors could take out the tumor there. The biopsy from PGH & St. Luke’s revealed the same, Cancer of the Brain at Stage4.  The said biopsy was even repeated five times in both hospital laboratories as it baffled the doctors what type of cancer was it, primary or metastatic.  She had CA Stage2 for her lower reproductive system, if it would metastasize it would affect nearby organs like the liver, lungs, or colon.

Part of her medical management was for her to undergo radiation after the craniotomy.  She decided to have her radiation in Cebu, home province of both her parents.  One of her physicians revealed to her his medical opinion that given the gravity of her case and the corresponding management she had, still she may possibly have three to six months or more to live. This prompted her to request us to go to Cebu and bring the kids, especially the newborn third child, Sam.  Despite the fact that baby Sam was still 3weeks old, we travelled to Cebu as per her tita’s request to “at least see” the new niece Sam. Of course, there was the then 2-year old Johm and 4-year Kim. There was also me who was just 3weeks postpartum from the third Caesarian operation.  One can just imagine Martin’s challenges at that time.  We had to come home immediately then, after three days, for my BSN classes at Sanitarium. 

After the radiation therapy, Bebang with 70-year old mamaNene as companion came home to Palao.  While at home, Bebang had to grapple through the walls as she treaded from her room towards the other parts of the house.  That time, her remaining medication was only Dilantin, a medicine to take if there is a hint of aura for possible seizure.  Technically, she had no more medicine for her condition as she was done with the medical management planned for her, operation-medication-radiation. Once again, she embarked on the FLP therapy and healthy diet.  Gradually, she regained back her health. When baby Sam turned a year & a half, Bebang started working at her Alma Mater, St. Michael’s College.  The RVM sisters who were with her all through her health struggles told her that she must work so as not to be bored and treat work as something to make her happy and not be stressed out. She continues to take her FLP supplements & consults docNonoy now & then. 

To date, baby Sam, who becomes the point of reference of Bebang’s life after her survivorship of cancers, is at present 3 years old and 4months.

Indeed, it is only God who has the final say when He will recall us back to His fold, in His due time.

Year 2015 UPDATE: 

Our reference point of Bebang’s second life is our youngest child, Sam, who is to turn 9 years old this December.  Indeed, God is good, all the time.  Below is how Bebang looks.  She always don her head with a protective headband with attachment cloth to cover her head.  Her 76-year old mother, Sam’s Lola Nene, hand-made a number of these headbands in various colors to suit Bebang’s office uniform, church clothes, and casual daily wears.



DISCLAIMER: This is not written for and in behalf of the Forever Living Products Company. This is just a written account of the author’s personal experience with the efficacy of the products taken by her and her immediate family members.

PHOTO CREDITS: from personal album of Minerva Daclan and the author

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AND POSTED at multiply on Apr 23, ’10 11:00 PM