PH now exploring use of herbal plant ‘sinta’ vs COVID

Published October 20, 2021, 11:18 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Philippines is exploring the possible use of medicinal plant “sinta” (Andrographis paniculata) in the prevention and treatment against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said on Wednesday, Oct. 20.


DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Jaime C. Montoya said the use of the southern Asia herb to treat COVID is now being studied.

“Napakaraming halamang gamot na maaaring gamitin sa COVID. May isa na po kaming tinitingnan kasi ito po naman ay nakita rin sa ibang bansa, sinta ang pangalan. (There are many herbal medicines that can be used against COVID. We’re already looking at one because this can be seen in other countries, it is called sinta),” he said in an interview over DZBB.

He noted that other Asian countries were also exploring the use of the herb called as “the king of bitters” to treat COVID.

Sinta, which is known as “Hempedu Bumi” (bile of earth) in Malaysia, and “Bhumi-neem” (neem of the ground) in India, has a strong bitter taste.

In 2020, Thailand approved the use of the herbal plant, commonly known as green chiretta, to treat early symptoms and lessen the severity of COVID-19 as a pilot program.

“Yun po ay tinitingnan natin ngayon, pero ito po ay specifically sa COVID-19 kasi hindi natin puwedeng tingnan sa lahat ng sakit. Titingnan muna natin ang COVID-19, ito ang pinag-uusapan ngayon, so yun po ang titingnan natin (That’s what we’re looking at now, but it’s specifically for COVID-because we can’t explore its potential for all diseases. Let’s look at its potential to treat COVID-19 first, this is being discussed now, so that’s what we’re going to look at),” Montoya said.

In India, the plant is used to treat cough, diarrhea, indigestion, bronchitis, fever, inflammation, and skin diseases, while in China, it is a known remedy for colitis (inflammatory disease of the colon), cough, dysentery, fever, influenza, and sore throat.

In Malaysia, Andrographis paniculata is also used for treatment of sore throat, flu, and upper respiratory tract infections.

The annual herb which has quadrangular stems can grow as high as 100 centimeters.