I have personally proven lagundi as an effective cough remedy in my family. I’ve seen its powers too many times to doubt it. Whenever I notice any of the members in my family coughing or sneezing, I just pick a cupful of lagundi leaves from my garden and make lagundi juice, the recipe of which you can see here. But is lagundi backed up by science? Or is it just a folkloric treatment whose powers can be nothing more than a case of placebo effect?
I’m here to tell you that yes, Lagundi or Vitex negundo is legit. No less than the Philippine Department of Health has formally recognized and promoted lagundi as one of the 10 herbal medicines that have proven therapeutic value. Two decades of extensive and intensive medical research went into the study of lagundi. The clinical trials that have been undertaken have shown lagundi as more effective and six times safer than carbocisteine in treating cough. This was the finding based on studies done by the Irish Medical Board on Carbocisteine. (See references below the article.)
A March 26, 2012 issue of science.ph (the information arm of the Department of Science and Technology) reported that Ascof Lagundi — the first lagundi syrup that has been bottled and marketed in the Philippines — as the most successful phytomedicine or plant-based therapeutic medicine at that time (2012).
The manufacturer of the first commercial lagundi syrup is Pascual Laboratories, a homegrown pharmaceutical company which has over 65 years of experience in the industry. The company developed the organic and natural product after an intensive collaboration with 4 agencies — the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Health, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and the National Integrated Research Program of Medicinal Plants. Today, lagundi medicine now comes in the form of syrups, tablets and capsules and are prescribed for cough and asthma.
Lagundi treats cough and asthma by way of three mechanisms:
1. Bronchodilation — dilation or widening of the airway tubes to facilitate breathing
2. Mucolysis and expectoration — dissolution of mucus and expulsion of phlegm to clear the airways
3. Antihistaminic — calming down allergy that is often the underlying reason behind most respiratory ailments
Lagundi has Chrysoplenol D which has antihistaminic as well as muscle relaxant properties. Lagundi has been shown to effectively prevent the release of leukotrienes during asthma attacks.
Lagundi is now officially recommended by the above government agencies to be prescribed for the following:
- relief of cough due to common colds and flu
- treatment of bronchospasm in bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
- prophylactic or preventive maintenance medications for the relief of reversible, mild to moderate bronchospasm in those with airway disease
That’s not all there is to lagundi however, as its other plant parts are purported to have other applications.
- The roots are said to be good treatment for rheumatism, boils and even leprosy.
- The flowers are said to be a cardiac tonic (strengthens the heart) and cures liver disease.
- Decoction of lagundi leaves can be used as baths to treat various skin diseases. Lagundi leaf tea is also said to be a galactagogue (can increase milk supply).
- Boiled seeds when eaten are reported to prevent the spread of venom in case of snake or other animal bites.
Is your doctor prescribing lagundi for your cough? Looking back, I can say mine has not — at least as far back as my pre-lagundi juice making years — and I don’t know why. Perhaps the DOH has not done enough to promote this indigenous, safe and effective cough treatment among our physicians?
As for me, I would go for lagundi for as long as I still have lagundi in my garden. Lagundi formulations in the market would be a close second option.
Here’s how to prepare lagundi juice for your kids whenever they come down with cough or respiratory ailments.
Disclaimer: I am not paid or compensated by Pascual Laboratories to mention their company or product. Also, as I am not a medical doctor, do not take my word as professional advice but only as personal experience and research. I use Lagundi to treat the first signs of cough — not cough that has been going on for more than a week or weeks. Consult your doctor if symptoms persist.