Filipino Health Hacks: Staple Home Remedies

Abigail Sabido
April 26, 2019

More people are joining the natural movement that’s making the switch to organic food and even natural medicine for a healthier way of living. In the Philippines, traditional practices are in tack in many rural communities and even in metropolitan areas. Many factors contribute to its continual use despite progress in medicine and healthcare.

Rising healthcare cost is one. This is why Filipinos (especially older folks) turn to traditional health hacks for relief. Heavily influenced by oriental medicine, these remedies have been passed down to younger generations, making them a staple in a typical Filipino home.

Camphor Oil

Body pains are common after-work woes. That’s why almost every Filipino family has camphor oil like Efficascent oil (a popular brand) in their first aid kits. After a long day’s work, Filipinos enjoy a relaxing massage and it’s normal for houses to smell like painkiller oil in the evening.

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile oil is used for baby colic and adult stomach cramps after a heavy meal or during cold weather. Filipinos believe that “hangin” (wind) or “lamig” (cold) can penetrate a person’s skin. This results in muscle spasms or loose bowel movement. Aceite de Manzanilla, a popular brand, is rubbed on the stomach and portions of the back. Burping and passing wind are signs that the oil worked.


Locally known as “luya”, ginger is the go-to solution for sore throat and raspy voice. Ginger is heated in pans or grilled until it becomes tender for easy chewing. The sick person can opt for tea or juice for additional benefits like relief from bloating, indigestion, and nausea.

White Flower

Most Filipinos keep this ointment handy. White Flower oil is a blend of essential oils including eucalyptus and lavender oil. It is a popular relief for dizziness and nausea. It’s an all-around remedy, especially when someone passes out. White Flower is immediately applied to temples and below the nostrils as first-aid.

Hampol (poultice)

In rural areas, people grow herbs in their backyards. Oregano (pot marjoram) and pasaw (nalta jute) are often used as “hampol” (poultice) for coughs and fevers. The leaves are sterilized and fastened to the head with a cloth. The leaf extracts’ natural minerals are believed to contain healing properties are then absorbed directly by the body.


When someone is running a fever, it’s common practice to cover him with a thick blanket to quicken perspiration. Sweating promotes the cooling down of the body, thus hastens recovery. As the sick person often feels cold, he’s also made to wear socks and/or jackets plus a thick blanket to do the trick.

In a country where it’s hot (and only gets hotter) all year, illnesses like influenza, cough, rhinitis, and fever are no longer seasonal. Getting sick takes a toll on the person’s body and his pockets, that’s why Filipinos turn to cheap alternatives. Despite the lack of scientific proof, a lot of people (even the younger generation) would vouch for them.


Abigail is a senior writer in Xilium. Before joining the company, she worked as a content creator for online startups and has written about current events, health, lifestyle, and entertainment for US-based online news portals and lifestyle blog sites.