Team Nelia Maramba

Traditional and Alternative Healing Technologies

For the course
Science, Technology and Society (STS)

University of the Philippines Open University
Second Semester SY 2009-10

Our Work

Team Maramba aims to collaborate valuable information and insights regarding traditional and alternative healing technologies through this wiki project. The team welcomes anyone who wishes to participate, by joining in the discussions at our Google group before editing.

Follow and discuss our work at ****
You may also join our Skype group chat. Just send any of us a wikispace message for your Skype username. We hope you can share what you know!

Our Inspiration

We chose “Nelia Maramba” as our team name because we believe she marks the scientific revival of traditional herbal medicine in the Philippines. Below is a short summary of the achievements of Dr. Nelia Maramba taken from the website of the Medical Observer.


It was during the Japanese Occupation when Dr. Nelia Maramba, a staunch advocate of herbal medicine, was first awed by the healing powers of plants. When a doctor failed to relieve her sister from a severe case of edema and infection, Nelia's grandfather administered homemade remedies, based on a book handed down by his grandfather, a pharmacologist from China. He cultivated penicillum notatum on a piece of bread, applied it directly to the infected area of the leg, and six hours later, the abscess disappeared like "magic," to the delight of the five-year-old Nelia. To treat the edema, she and her family ground and boiled cogon roots. Her ailing sister drank the liquid tonic for five days, before she was completely healed.

Years later, astounded by the bloated cost of primary health care, Maramba proposed a scientific investigation into the efficacy of herbal treatments practiced by traditional healers, the arbularyo. The medical community reacted with scorn. A colleague even mockingly tied a handkerchief around her forehead in the manner worn by the lowly arbularyo. But she was unfazed.

"Saan ba nanggaling yung aspirin? It's from the bark of the willow tree; it's salicylate. Codeine, for cough, is from poppy plant," she reasoned. Together with some doctors, she went ahead and formed the National Integrated Research Program on Medicinal Plants. They scoured the country for herbs and compiled their findings--more than 3,000 plants and their uses--in a CD, providing an invaluable source of reference. For 10 years, they tested 85 plants, found out which are safe and efficacious, and published a guide to the 10 best medicinal plants for everyday life. These efforts have awakened the public and the medical community to alternative forms of healing, which proves that medicine need not always be hard on the pocket.

Maramba is leaving another indelible mark, this time in the field of toxicology. After establishing the poison-control center in the Medical College of Georgia while she was the chief resident in pediatrics, she came home, found out how ill equipped the country was in handling poisoned patients, and decided to put up a similar but nationwide center. She started a database correlating blood levels with toxidrome, and cofounded the Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology. With fellow physicians, she taught medical practitioners how to treat organophosphate poisoning, which killed three out of 10 victims, and set up the first set of guidelines for the management of pesticide poisoning. Now, the mortality rate for the commonly used substance has dropped to less than one percent. Maramba also successfully lobbied the Department of Agriculture for the creation of the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority that ensures pesticides are safe for both the user and the environment.

(The photo and bio above are from the Dec. 2005-Jan. 2006 issue of the Medical Observer.) [1]


Our Logo

Our team emblem was chosen via an online poll, and the result is a symbolism made of:

(1) a human form whose hands are in a prayer gesture, called in Eastern traditions the namaskar mudra. Aside from being a greeting and sign of respect in many Asian countries (Namaste, Amituofo, etc.), it is also said that the palms together flat at the center of the chest and thumbs resting on the sternum (solar plexus) stimulate the “mind nerve” that connects to the brain. Pressing the palms together is said to balance the two hemispheres of the brain, harmonize our energies, keep us focused, inwardly poised and mentally protected.

(2) leaves representing herbalism as one of the world’s major traditional and alternative medicinal practice.

(3) a hexagon is said to be nature’s perfect shape, reflecting stability. It is found in a beehive honeycomb, a turtle’s carapace, the micrograph of a snowflake, and the benzene ring.

Our Top Contributors

Our Teammates

UPOU name
Wikispace username
Roy San Buenaventura

Jose Dante (Dave) Albao, Jr.
Ronan Masangcay
Janardan das R. Ladyong
Christer John Fabonan
Alexandra Nicole Torres
Maria Ultima Dominguez
Daniel Ian Pidal
Kimberly Collado
Rose Kathleen Villanueva
Mark Gaurano
Kim Bacuetes
Kaydeen Olaes
Lance Jorg Sumiran
Frannie Pacifico
Audrey Darrell Estuita
Christopher Morillon

Charlotte Ortiz

  1. ^ In Focus: Making a Difference, The Medical Observer, Jan. 23, 2006.