Tambalan: philippine traditional herbalist

Now-a-days, we hear the word albularyo and albularya as Filipino Traditional Healer who uses herbs and prayers in Healing. And modern institution want to change the terminology into more appropriate word and modify it’s practice into modern ways. Instead of Albularyo or Albularya (which has genderdization to pertain to male or female practitioner), they want it to be called Herbularyo to emphasize the word Herbs. Though this name is of Spanish origin and it replaced the original term of our ancestors as Tambalan.

Tambal were all plants, roots, leaves, or bark with medicinal properties, for which reason
the Spaniards called the tambalan an herbolario, “one who has knowledge of plants [hierbas],
their powers and properties.”

William Henry Scott, Baranggay Chapter 6: Natural Science, Treatment

Though eversince, Tambalan were known to be expert in herbal medicine but in fact they are not. Tambalan are only medium of the spirits whether be from the ancestral spirits, nature spirits or the diwata. The Knowledge of Tambalan or mananambal in herbal plants comes from the Guidance of Abyan or Gabay of the Healer. And most likely these healers are unschooled and have no formal education unlike today. The knowledge that people have comes from their family elders and instructions are being taught at home. Aside from our Family Elders, the community also recognize a wise and persuasive elder which they call as Parawali.

At this present time, the movement to revive our Philippine Traditional Medicine gets the attention of our Government officials that it is now being offered at School either through Technical Education Skills Development Authority, Philippine Institute of Traditional Alternative Health Care and even at Department of Science and Technology.

Esquire Magazine have an Article posted about albularyo which you can access through this link. ALBULARYO

These modern movement in reviving our very own Traditional Medicine but modifying its practice and to exclude the spiritual aspect of the craft may affect its nature. Earlier this Year dated January 21, 2020- I have written Pitahc and have expressed my willingness to share my knowledge and expertise to them. And that is through the Art of Tawas, Pagpapahid and Herbs. But as they respond to me, the only thing that they allowed is the Massage part or pagpapahid and herbs. They have no clear response about Tawas as traditional medicine method. And that is the same thing i have received when i was working with Tesda, they exclude tawas.

On our Part, we can not exclude the practice of Pagtatawas in healing because we believe that in order to provide effective treatment plan we must also provide effective diagnostic measure and evaluation of the patient. A body without a spirit is dead; so as a treatment without a spirit is making a Zombie or Amaranhig.

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