Script 27.8

Notes to broadcasters

Content:  Many effective and inexpensive medicines can be made from common plants. Here is a cough medicine you can make from tamarind, ginger, and lime juice.


For centuries, people have used plants to treat diseases and promote good health.

Many manufactured drugs are made from chemicals found in plants. For example, aspirin was developed from a substance taken from the bark of a willow tree.

Here is an example of a plant medicine you can make at home. It is easy to make cough syrup from leaves of the tamarind tree, a piece of ginger root, and the juice of a few limes. Ginger root, tamarind, and limes all contain volatile oils. These oils warm and soothe the respiratory passages we breathe through.

This cough syrup should not be used to treat serious coughs that come with illnesses such as tuberculosis, whooping cough, diphtheria, or pneumonia. But it will soothe the ordinary coughs that come with colds or bronchitis.

Cut one medium-sized ginger root into thin slices. Put three handfuls of fresh tamarind leaves into a pot, and then then put the sliced ginger on top of the leaves. Add two glasses of water. Boil the mixture for about 30 minutes or until there is only about one glass of liquid in the pot. Then strain the liquid through a piece of cloth.

To one glass of the strained liquid, add half a glass of sugar. Boil the liquid with the sugar until the liquid becomes a thick syrup. Let the syrup cool. Then stir in the juice of three to five limes. You could also use lemons or oranges. The juice is added mostly for flavour, but the volatile oils and vitamin C also help treat the cough.

A person who has a cough should take the syrup every three or four hours. Adults should take one large spoonful every time. Children should only take one small spoonful every time.

If the cough lasts for more than a week, you should see a doctor or health care worker. And remember that this syrup should not be used to treat serious coughs, such as those associated with whooping cough, diphtheria, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.

This is just one of the many simple remedies you can make from plants. There are probably many more plant medicines you can make from plants that grow where you live.

Information Sources

World Neighbors in Action, Volume 15, No. 4, World Neighbors International Headquarters, 4127 NW 122 Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73120-8869 U.S.A.

Other Information Sources

  • Lampuyan: Ideas for Community Projects on Medicinal Plants, AKAP Research, 66 J.P. Rizal, Project 4, Quezon City, Philippines.