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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Kalabo, The Philippines Oregano for Coughs and Colds

Kalabo is a Philippine oregano. Also called origanom vulgare, Suganda in Tagalog language and coleus aromaticus, its scientific name. The Philippines oregano plant can grow up to 90 cm (from my tropical garden) tall and the leaves can grow as big as a baby hand. The leaves are in heart form and a bit hairy. 

Kalabo is a perennial herbal medicine which is not only used by the local people in healing their coughs and colds but also using the leaves in their cooking. The leaves are very aromatic and they have balsamic flavor. 

My Kalabo Plant

I was in my home country for a few months last year. The weather was so hot and humid. I think I  was no longer used to the tropical weather that I  thought my childhood asthma was coming back. There were days when I was okay and there were nights that I kept on "barking". It usually happened in the middle of my sleep. Water was always nearby to consume.

One evening when I was attacked by my coughing, I remembered my herbalist late grandmother. She had always chopped herbs packed in wilted banana leaves just in case one of her children and grandchildren got sick. The packed herbs were then roasted in an open fire in our "dirty kitchen". We cooked with coconut firewood and charcoal at that time. No electricity yet. 

Kalabo, Philippine Oregano

How my grandma made Kalabo / Oregano tea:

I remembered how my grandmother made Kalabo / Oregano tea. She prepared every afternoon wrapped Kalabo/Oregano in a piece of wilted banana leaves for emergency purposes. 

1. She got a handful of Kalabo or Oregano from her packed herbs, washed them and put them in a mug. 
2. Then she poured boiled hot water from the thermos in the mug.
3. Left the Kalabo leaves in the mug for around 15 minutes.
 4. Remove the leaves from the mug.
5. She then added brown sugar from sugar cane she bought from the market.
6. Then she gave the Kalabo tea to me and I had to drink it.

After that drink, I  was able to sleep well. It reduced my coughing and it was very calming to me that I could rest the whole night. Kalabo was and still is the best organic plant remedy for my coughs and colds.

Remembering the sleepless night when I had an asthma attack, I  saw my grandmother in me now, collecting Oregano leaves in our backyard. How I wish she is still here beside me. I have a lot of herbal questions to ask.

                                   My YouTube Channel

Some parts of this post were published before on Niume site in 2016, which is now gone forever.

Here are some beautiful plants in my tropical garden:

Thank you very much for reading my blog. Please feel pray to comment, like and share this post on your social media sites. Have a great day everyone.

Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved by Thelma Alberts 


  1. I'm new to your blog. I found your post interesting. Please check out my blogs at and . Hope you check it out.

  2. Hi Crystal And Daisy Mae. I will check your blogs out. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. A great post, Thelma. How nice your grandmother passed these recipes to you. Herbs are always the best way to cure anything.

    1. Yes, it was very nice of her to pass those recipes by just showing us kids how she did it. My late grandmother was a herbalist. Thanks for dropping by Darlene. Have a nice week.

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  5. Hi Thelma. Reading this article of yours about oregano gives me nostalgia. Its one of the Filipino herbs that can be used for almost everything. My grandmother thought me everything she knows about the use of oregano when I was a teenager and I could still apply it to my own family today.

    1. Hi Jing Cruz. I can relate to that as my late grandmother and my late mother taught me about the uses of our Filipino Oregano. I am also applying it to my family. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week.