The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) expressed optimism that Lagundi (Chinese chaste tree) will soon be considered as a remedy to be used by patients with mild symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
During the Laging Handa public briefing on Wednesday, June 30, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña shared the initial results on the clinical trial of Lagundi for mild COVID-19 cases.
“Una, lahat sila ay gumaling. Kasi yun pong ating participants hinati sa dalawa – yung isa binigyan ng lagundi, yung isa placebo na walang lamang lagundi (First, all of them recovered. Our participants were divided into two – one was given Lagundi, the other was placebo without Lagundi),” he explained.
De la Peña said that the clinical trial for Lagundi expected to be completed by the end of June. He explained the there were a total of 278 participants for the Lagundi clinical trials. The patients were gathered from various quarantine facilities.
The participants were divided into groups. “Ang pagkakaiba lang po nila, yung mga nag-lagundi, madaling bumalik ang kanilang pang-amoy (The difference between them is that those who took Lagundi, they were able to regain their sense of smell easily),” de la Peña said.
Likewise, de la Peña noted that participants of the study on the impact of herbal medicine on COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms did not experience “serious adverse effects.”
De la Peña noted that the results of the clinical trial for Lagundi as possible supplement against COVID-19 has concluded and the analysis on the results are ongoing. “
Ang kanilang kabuuang finding, pare-pareho silang inabot ng 7 to 8 days bago gumaling (Based on the findings, it was consistent that it took seven to eight days before the patients recovered),” he added.
Currently, de la Peña noted that Lagundi is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a cough remedy and it can be purchased as an over-the-counter medicine.
“Hindi nga lang nakalagay doon na approved as a COVID-19 remedy. Kaya kung magkakaroon ito ng magandang resulta, pwede nang idagdag doon sa indications na magagamit din sa COVID-19 (It’s not indicted yet that it’s approved as a COVID-19 remedy. So if it the study will have a good result, it can be added to the indications that this can also be used for COVID-19),” de la Peña added.
Once the analysis are completed and findings showed good results, de la Peña expressed optimism that the Department of Health (DOH) will also recommend Lagundi as COVID-19 remedy. “This is good because it is easily available, cheaper and it is derived from our own plant,” he added.
Meanwhile, de la Peña clarified that while DOST is pushing for the use of Lagundi as COVID-19 remedy, people should not use this as a substitute for COVID-19 vaccines. “Ito po ay gamot at hindi prevention (This is for medication not prevention),” he added.
Aside from Lagundi, de la Peña said that there are also ongoing clinical trials for Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) to be used for treatment of COVID-19. The said trials are expected to be completed “within the month of July.”