Upland communities in Mount Matutum, a protected area in southern Mindanao, have been using traditional medicines derived from forest to treat their ailments and diseases. However, these medicinal plants have not been fully identified. Their use or application is largely undocumented and no specimens have been formally collected and deposited in a plant herbarium.
A team of students from Mindanao State University-General Santos City (MSU-GSC) embarked on collecting samples of these medicinal plants in Mount Matutum. This was the fifth field expedition by MSU-GSC as part of a USAID-funded Protect Wildlife project on plant species used by indigenous peoples in Mount Matutum for healthcare purposes. The research also aims to assess the knowledge and expertise of tribal healers in preparing and using these herbal plants as a medicine.
In collecting the samples, medicinal plants were identified, geotagged, and documented. The collected samples would be tested and analyzed in the laboratory to become part of MSU-GSC’s herbarium.
The use of natural medicinal resources dates back to ancient times and plays a vital role in healthcare and maintenance activities of traditional communities. To date, it has been observed that communities, especially in developing countries, go back to and increasingly rely on traditional medicinal resources for healthcare needs because of high costs of modern treatment. (PWP/ Meg Yandoc)