Makabuhai / makabuhay, the common Tagalog name; means, “to give life”. According to BPI, it is a climbing; dioeciously vine reaching a height of 4 to 10 meters. The stems are up to 1 centimeter thick and somewhat fleshy, with scattered protuberances. The leaves are thin, ovate, 6 to 12 centimeters in length and 7 to 12 centimeters in width, with pointed and truncate or somewhat cordate base, smooth and shining. The petioles are 3.5 to 6 centimeters long. The racemens are solitary or in pairs arising from the axils of fallen leaves, pale green, slender, 10 to 20 centimeters long. The flowers are pale green, and short-pedicelled. The fruit is 7 to 8 millimeters long.
This vine is considered as a universal medicine. It is the most popular of local medicinal plants. It has the following uses:
- It is commonly prescribed as an aqueous extract in the treatment of stomach trouble, indigestion, and diarrhea.
- It is the basis of a popular preparation, which is used as a cordial, a tonic, or an ingredient in cocktails.
- It is also an effective remedy in the treatment of tropical ulcers.
- In powder form, it is prescribed in fevers. A preparation with coconut oil is an effective cure for rheumatism and also for flatulence of children, kabag.
- A decoction of the stem is considered an effective cure if used as a wash for tropical ulcers.
- The decoction or powder from is used as a febrifuge, or lowers body temperature to prevent or alleviate fever.
- The decoction of the stem is also an excellent vulnerary for itches, ordinary and cancerous wounds.
- Guerrero reports that internally it is used as tonic and antimalaria; externally as a parasiticide.
How to Prepare
- The preparation is made by chopping the makabuhai stem into pieces of 1 or 2 inches long,
- Place them in a jar with coconut oil, and cook them under the sun.
- Age for one year before using.