Indigenous Knowledge of Medicinal Fruits in the Philippines: a Systematic Review

Document Type : Review


1 Local Research Ethics Committee, Cebu Technological University, Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines.

2 Medical Sciences Division, National Research Council of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines.

3 College of Nursing, West Visayas State University, Iloilo City, Philippines.



Medicinal fruits as adjunct therapy are promising for acute and chronic diseases. However, the role of these fruits remains largely unexplored. This study reviewed the evidence-based efficacy of these fruits used by indigenous people in the Philippines. Indigenous knowledge on using medicinal fruits was searched in the Philippine Traditional Knowledge Digital Health Library database. Medical research databases [Medline, Scopus, GreenFILE, ProQuest, HERDIN, and JSTOR] were queried from inception to April 2022. Searches were in English and Filipino language publications. A narrative synthesis was conducted and 30 articles from the Philippine Traditional Knowledge Digital Health Library database identified the medicinal fruits used among indigenous people in the Philippines. Moreover, 40 articles that included 17 experimental research, 20 reviews, and 3 published reports pointed to the evidence-based effectiveness of these fruits. According to this review, the medicinal fruits included were scientifically evaluated for their medicinal properties, including their anti-oxidant and phytochemical attributes. However, the scientific evidence from previous literature indicated that most experiments constituted in vitro and animal models. Traditional medicine and scientific evidence revealed the protective effects of these fruits against various ailments. Since there were not many human intervention trials available, researchers can study the potential health effects of these therapeutic fruits by using human models in the future. Due to the various health benefits of these indigenous fruits, it is essential to explore their disease-fighting capabilities and convert them into nutraceuticals or functional food ingredients.


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