Uses and Benefits
Though pito-pito is widely known in the Philippines, not everyone is a aware that it’s not actually a plant.
In fact, there is no plant named Pito-pito.
Pito-pito is actually a combination of seven herbs and seeds, namely bayabas or guava, mangga or mango, alagaw, pandan, banaba, anise seeds, and coriander seeds.
Typically, the leaves and herbs are blended into a tea. But due to its popularity, you can now find tea packets containing pito-pito.
What are the ingredients of pito-pito?
Before we discuss pito-pito as a whole, it’s important to know about its constituents:
- Banaba is highly available across Southeast Asia and its leaves are beneficial for those who are suffering from diabetes since they can lower blood sugar levels.
- Alagaw is not that famous compared to other herbs, but its leaves have promising antibacterial properties. This is why it is often used as part of body wash.
- Guava leaves are often used to treat wounds. But currently, guava or bayabas is also hailed for its ability to promote heart health and digestion; it can even lower blood sugar levels like banaba.
- Although a beloved Filipino fruit, only a few people know that mango leaves are highly beneficial. Mango leaves can help treat diabetes, ease stomach upsets like dysentery, aid in treating high blood pressure and soothe throat problems.
- Pandan is often added when we cook rice (sinaing) because of its refreshing scent, but the leaves are known to have diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cilantro or coriander seeds, one of the two kinds of seeds in the pito-pito blend, are known for their antioxidant content and their ability to help indigestion. They may even help fight cancer.
- Star anise seeds can also help treat flu symptoms as well as cough and colds.
The Most Renowned Benefits of Pito-pito
It’s safe to say that the individual properties of each ingredient are carried over to the pito-pito blend.
So it can help with diabetes and high blood pressure, but what are the most known benefits of pito-pito?
It helps in treating cough and cold, as well as flu
Because of its health-boosting and antimicrobial properties, pito-pito helps ward off pathogens that may cause cough, cold, and flu.
Additionally, the anti-inflammatory property of the blend helps ease the pain brought about by sore throat and headache.
It promotes digestive health
When blended into a tea, pito-pito becomes a good digestive tonic that aids the body in breaking down food.
It helps in treating respiratory conditions
The anti-inflammatory properties of pito-pito can help reduce the swelling in some of the most common respiratory conditions, such as asthma.
Precautions and Warnings
Because pito-pito is a blend, please take note of the following reminders:
What should I know before using Pito-pito?
The ingredients of the pito-pito blend may differ if you opt to buy the commercially prepared tea packets.
The mainstays are often the leaves, mangga, guava, alagaw, pandan, and banaba. The seeds are sometimes replaced with Tsaang gubat and papaya.
In other preparations, one or two of the leaves are substituted with kaimito or pineapple leaves. Because of this, always check the constituents of the tea bags you purchase.
How safe is Pito-pito?
Generally, pito-pito is safe as long as you take it as instructed and in moderation.
Special Precautions and Warnings
While generally safe, do not forget to determine if you are allergic to any of the components of the pito-pito blend. The possibility is rare, but it’s still there.
And of course, when planning on taking any type of herbal medicine, consult your physician first, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Side Effects and Interactions
If you are taking any medication or sticking to a specific diet regimen, talk to your doctor first before consuming the tea.
For instance, banaba is said to interact with diabetic medication. Because it also lowers blood sugar levels, it may lead to hypoglycemia (state of having low glucose in the blood).
Dosage and Forms
Note that the preparations are meant to help and educate and not to replace any piece of advice given by your doctor.
As of now, there are only two ways to take pito-pito: either prepare it fresh by collecting the leaves and seeds or purchase the commercially prepared tea packets.
Should you choose the former, you need to collect 7 pieces each of the leaves of mannga, bayabas, pandan, alagaw, and banaba. For the anise and coriander seeds, you need to prepare 2 teaspoons each.
Place them all in a pot of water, which you can adjust depending on how strong you would like the tea to be, and then boil for 30 minutes. Strain the leaves and seeds and enjoy the tea.
The easier way, of course, is to buy the tea bags. To prepare, simply follow the package instruction, but the common way is to steep the bag in a cup of warm or hot water for 3 to 5 minutes. Then remove the bag and enjoy.
Pito-pito is an effective blend for people who want to ease their respiratory and digestive upset as well as the any pain they may be feeling.
It may not be easy to use fresh ingredients to make tea because some of the leaves are hard to find, but today, there are commercially prepared tea packets that are readily available and convenient to use.
Finally, because there are many constituents, it’s safe to do in-depth research on them if you plan to take pito-pito regularly.
Learn more about herbal medicine here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.