Monday, September 3, 2012

I can watch butterflies all day!

I was canvassing the internet on blogs that are about my favorite insect...the butterfly. I also love bumble bees! The Bumble Bees are huge, black and they love to pollinate my flowers! They don't harm me but sometimes they get all excited and fly right for my face! I just have to freeze, stay calm, and they excuse themselves and go right back to the flowers!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rice Fields

I was traveling around my province of Cavite and it was still drizzling. Uncommon during this time when we are about to get into our tropical summer season. I stopped to admire farmers harvesting rice, and ready to plant a new crop while the rains still were coming in very regularly.


There is that song I learned in grade school, that keeps playing in my head when I am near a rice field..it goes something like " Planting rice is never fun, bend from one to setting sun "



Anyway....these muddy fields were side by fields with tiny rice stalks already planted




The tiny rice plants are actually monocots...or grasses that bear the staple starch food of Asians..




And then the harvested rice stalks are all cut and passed through the grainary to produce at least a few sacks of rice.....


What a beautiful scene...like an Amorsolo painting...the rice fields with the spire of a Church in the background and the tropical sky above!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Banaba Tea -- Cure for Diabetes and Kidney failure

The banaba tree is a rainforest tree growing in Southeast Asia and India. The scientific name is "Lagerstroemia speciosa L" and it is a flowering tree that has lavender blooms. Banaba is also known as the "cape myrtle" tree. The bark, and leaves of this tree is used in the Philippines by herbolarios or herbal medicine men/women to treat "manas" or swelling of ankles or other parts of the body. Banaba's principal ingredient is corrosolic acid, a substance that has the same effect on the body as insulin medication, only without the harmful side effects that chemical medicines have on the human body.

India and parts of Thailand, and the rest of Indochina and Southeast Asian countries are familiar with herbal meds. Ayurvedic ways of cooking, and preparation of teas from bark, flowers and other parts of plants can heal the body and restore health.

Even the most illiterate provincial people are aware of the benefits from drinking banaba tea, even if they are not fully aware of why. The very significant problem that is treated by drinking banaba tea is inflammation of the kidneys and kidney stones. Drinking banaba tea will safely melt down stones and plaque in the kidney restoring it to normality after only a few days.

Banaba is also used to treat diabetes and kidney failure, obesity and high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The only thing is be careful of the dosage. Too little is ineffective, and too much can actually send one into shock!


Banaba tea must come from dried leaves. The leaf of a banaba tree must be a mature leaf almost ready to fall from the tree. The tree leaves are then washed then dried carefully with a towel. Place leaf in an airy and sunlit area on a matt, and dry for 2 weeks. Cover with gauze to keep dust and insects away from the drying leaves. Crumble the leaves after it has dried totally.

Small amounts of crumbled leaves are then infused into a pot taken off the heat. First start boiling water. Turn off heat. Pour boiling water into a tea pot. Do not boil the leaf, merely drop a few dried leaves ( about a teaspoon) into a pot of about 4 cups of hot boiled water. Wait at least 3 minutes or until the water turns a light brown color. Then drink 1 cup after a meal.

Patients who are on insulin or cholesterol medication must start taking banaba tea slowly. Banaba tea has an insulin like effect of lowering the glucose in the body. Banaba can lower cholesterol, and high blood pressure, but the dosage must be one cup after a meal, and no more unless there is clear indication that the patient is suffering from swelling of the ankles or other parts of the body.

Patients must talk to their doctor before attempting curing themselves with banaba tea. Banaba tea is very effective for those just beginning to show a high normal to slight increase in glucose after check-ups reveal there is an onset of diabetes.

Doctors can take medical blood exams to establish their patients level of diabetes before they will advise them to take banaba tea after meals. As the glucose levels stabilize towards a lower level, many patients find themselves gradually decreasing their insulin intake, or tablets, but increase the dosage of banaba tea to two cups after meals until the glucose levels are back to normal.

Obese patients also find that after taking a meal, the drinking of banaba tea helped them cope with incessant cravings for sweets or more food. Eventually, drinking 1 cup after every meal, patients reported a drop in their weight, and loss of inches! After using banaba tea as a after meal drink, instead of coffee or regular tea, patients report that their weight has stabilized after about 3 months. Banaba tea is a safe way to lose weight, because the enzymes in the tea restore the normal ability of the body to regulate the absorption of carbohydrates. Banaba tea after a heavy meal of pasta or rice, will delay the absorption of starches and the conversion into glucose. This will prevent the body from storing excess fats.

Banaba leaves are also rich in vitamins and minerals including zinc and magnesium which help regulate colon functions, allowing more bile to be passed out of the body instead of being stored in the bile duct. Banaba is also rich in dietary fibers that can ease constipation too.

The drinking of banaba tea is beneficial for flushing out toxins and harmful plaque in the kidney. A blocked kidney results in higher creatinine, and high uric acid build up in the body. Drinking banaba tea can help kidney failure patients restore their kidneys back to health, and avoid dialysis. Drinking banaba tea should be increased only if patients are no longer taking medicines for their kidney or diabetes. Only those who are cleared by the doctor should attempt taking banaba tea.

Drinking a higher dosage will prevent patients from bloating and the effects of a blocked kidney will show in a matter of days.

The taking of banaba tea should be maintained until swelling decreases for those suffering from what locals call "manas," or inflammation. Usually, just 1 cup after meals must continued for several days with remove blockages in the kidney and promote cleansing of the blood cells that are full of toxic substances.

In the province, banaba teas are used to treat kidney ailments and constipation.


Studies done in Japan have shown that banaba tea contains corosolic acid that acts like insulin by lowering the blood sugar in the body and in some circumstances totally cure diabetes patients. The corosolic acid is also equal in improving cellular uptake of glucose, restoring organs that were malfunctioning due to a lack of glucose in patients taking insulin. The chemical in banaba ," triterpenoid glycoside " can restore the pancreas to normal.

I had a slightly high level of glucose in the blood, but after 2 weeks use of banaba leaf tea, my glucose level is now normal.

Patients suffering from "manas" or swelling of the ankles, or limbs must take at least 2 cups after every meal until kidneys are back to normal. Do not take banaba tea on an empty stomach. This may cause a mild reaction by increasing the secretion of stomach acids provoking vomiting or gas pains. Always drink banaba tea after a meal.

Banaba is not toxic if prepared properly. Consult with your doctors who are familiar with this Asian herbal cure. In the Philippines, there are many doctors who may even encourage herbal teas instead of putting patients with mild diabetes symptoms, and those with kidney stones on chemical medications. Always consult the doctor first and take tests to confirm if banaba tea is helping lower glucose levels, and alleviate swelling of ankles.

The only negative effect of banaba tea is sometimes the effect causes sneezing, phlegm excretion if taken in excess. This is because the corosolic acid removes toxins in the blood, and debris in tissues of the lungs, kidney, liver, and other organs.

A study was done by a US drug company, using a synthetic version of banaba tea's main ingredient, corosolic acid. There was a significant reduction of weight in obese patients. Non-diabetics blood was not affected by corosolic acid and did not create hypoglycemia as do diabetic drugs. Big pharma however, filed to patent corosolic acid to make a lot of money selling a synthetic version of banaba tea to treat obese patients.

This makes my quite upset because in the Philippines, God gave the Filipinos herbal cures for free. Only some companies have created packaged tea bags to make it more convenient to get banaba tea, but it doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and is readily available in supermarkets!!! That is how safe banaba tea is!

Although according to studies done in the Philippines by the local drug and food administration, there were no known toxic or adverse effect from drinking banaba tea. However if discomfort occurs, stop using Banaba herbal tea.

Those with high blood pressure, or those with cholesterol problems can substitute 2 cups of banaba tea after a meal to decrease the bad cholesterol in foods..

Be careful about taking banaba extractions that use harmful chemicals and gases, solvents to get the potent substances in natural banaba leaves. Buy banaba tea from reputable organic sources...and don't be fooled because banaba trees are abundant in Asia. The leaves of tree is not at all difficult to acquire in the Philippines. Ayurvedic practitioners who are educated and have some degree of competency won't charge you for dried banaba leaves to make into tea. Be careful of the "faith healer" who masquerade as "herbolaryos" , because these fake healers are guilty of making too much money from sick people who are desperate for a cure. The fake healers sometimes charge almost as much as regular doctors to cure diabetes and kidney diseases by passing off "magic" potions, that are just banaba extractions. The Department of Food and Drug here in the Philippines allow licensed herbalists and pharmacies to sell banaba tea along side many other Filipino herbal teas.

I would never trust a Filipino herbolaryo, or faith healer who uses slight of hand, extraction of bloody tumors that are just chicken guts, or who use any mumbo-jumbo spells, and rituals to cure. A real herbalist will reveal their ingredients that can be found in any garden like my farm, and just explain what to do to get the tea done properly.

Any questions, please go to any Filipino pharmacy and they will help you find the right herbal tea for your ailment. However, remember that you need a licensed doctor to evaluate your condition first..so don't assume you have some disease unless it is confirmed by a doctor.

In the Philippines, I can be happy to find doctors in the local community who understand how to blend medical technology and knowledge with Asian herbal cures. After all, I believe that all the cures are in the plants.

I've seen birds take sage leaves, lavender and eucalyptus leaves to their nests and eat these leaves during rainy season to cure them of whatever maladies they have. Keeping my garden full of flowers help feed wild birds and even my free range chickens are free to eat my herbs to maintain their health.

We can live with nature, and though viruses, fungus and bacteria make us sick, we can find all the cures too in plants if we just ask native people about their herbal cures. You would be surprised how simple to maintain good health using Filipino herbal medication. Here is a photo of the BANABA TREE in the Philippines. The tree grows abundantly in the Philippines, but deforestation has resulted in many important plants, bushes, trees even weeds to be destroyed! These plants have medicinal qualities that tribal folk have used for thousands of years as their own pharmacy to cure their ailments. The Banaba tree blooms all year, even during summer and rainy seasons. This tree stands out among all other trees because of the flashy purple flowers in bloom.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Flash

I visited my farm yesterday, and fell asleep almost when I got in. The air was so fresh, the oxygen in the air totally relaxed me to the point I recovered many months of insomnia during a three hour nap. Waking up, I heard my favorite kingfisher screeching, and went out right away to see what he was up to.

My kingfisher lives in the coconut tree next to my bedroom. He senses I am there, because my farm hands tell me the bird never performs antics when I am not around. Again, I see him perched on the bar beside the stables. He jumps up and down, flashing his aqua colored feathers at me, then flies high into the air, does a spin before diving and catching something in the grass. He returns to his perch beside the horse stalls, and starts beating up a worm or grasshopper against the metal, then gulps it down. When his appetite is satiated, he sits and wanders around the farm, going up to have a view of the entire farm from the water tank tower.


His flashing me the iridescent colors of his feathers is a sign of his dominance over the farm as his territory, but I interpret it as his way of saying he is happy I am there to see him!

I feel the animals on the farm seem to want me to know they are around, appreciating the flowers I plant, or the fruit trees, and citrus bushes that give them plenty to eat like caterpillars and other bugs that flock to my flower bed.

The weather was cool, about 71*F, or about 21*C thereabouts..I estimate the temperature is pleasant enough, like someone turned on the airconditioner outside my garden.

Ahhhh...such a wonderful day watching "The Flash."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Remembering the energy of 20 years ago..and making a serious decision..

I've been staying too long in the city. My lungs hurt from inhaling the foul air, especially during the holidays when fireworks go off for hours after the clock strikes midnight during the New Year celebrations. Metro-Manila's smog was full of dangerous chemicals in fireworks that blended with the regular pollution. It was time for healing and meditation once more at my countryside hideaway in the uplands of Cavite province.

The small place that I own has become a haven for me and even a few of my friends who like spending a few days while they go about their business in the nearby towns. My little house and garden has been neglected for the time being. I notice the need for repairs, and reviving the energy that my husband and I had when we started building the house back in the mid 1990's. Imagine that...it has been 20 years!!! I can still see my daughters running to play with our country ponies...and my first farm dog, Keannu was alive and running about.

We had so much fun, and lots of dreams that seem to fade as each year brought me deeper into the golden years of my life. In fact, those same challenges still exist, but the farm has allowed me to gain back my strength, recover and sometimes heal from many challenges I had to face. I felt the pain of grief as I had to deal with passing of my mother, and then my father...older brother. The farm, with the perpetual renewing of life, helped me appreciate living more than dwelling on the hurt that death brings to those who are left behind.

I miss my father, who always showed interest in organic gardening and helped me understand that the purpose of having a farm is to provide good, nutritious food and herbal medicines to the community. I miss my grandmother and my mother and all her delicious home made food I enjoyed growing up.

I have not been selfish at all, and shared my knowledge and encouraged others who may be interested in improving their life,to grow vegetables and flowering plants around their homes.


I want to live in a country that is proud of the people's efforts to preserve the forests, and protect the watersheds that are vital to all life. I want to wake up to birdsong, and take walks again in parks and safely go about my daily routines without having to own a gas guzzling, maintenance costly, vehicle.