The COVID pandemic has given rise to the plantitos and plantitas who have learned the value of cultivating plants and crops not only as a hobby but also as income generator.
Long before them, however, there were the wellness advocates who pursued the same endeavor as the plantitos and plantitas with greater drive and purpose.
The global health emergency, which hit the Philippines in mid March 2020, affected every segment of life, including health, economy, education, and social ecologies, with lockdown measures forcing people to stay inside their homes, leading to the “new normal” of living and adaptation and the emergence of plantitos and plantitas – people who enjoy home gardening and taking care of plants.
One wellness proponent is Ecarma Health Options Corporation that has revived the affordable health supplements made of narra extracts, which gained popularity during the millennium rollover.
TJ Meneses, president of Ecarma Health Options Corp., said the company has successfully made available again in the market the Ecarma Narra tea and capsules, which are made of 100 percent pure narra, the Philippines’ national tree.
The revival of the said product came years after the company that developed the product, Ecarma Narra Tea and Ecarma Narra ImmunElixir capsules, ceased operations in 2018.
Back in 2002, Mercury Drugstores already started selling the Ecarma capsules, which had high demand phenomenal sales figures.
But the product was stopped being sold in 2018 due to the death of the product’s founder, former PAF Reserve Officer Lt. Colonel and PAL Boeing 747 Captain Virgilio Ecarma.
A few years later, Meneses accepted the invitation of Captain Ecarma’s widow, Teresita Ecarma, to revive the product and incorporate Ecarma Health Options.
Meneses said the Ecarma Narra tea and capsules are now widely available in Mercury drugstores nationwide, St. Joseph drugstores in Northern Luzon, and online on our official stores on Shopee & Lazada.
The products are also very affordable at only P9 per capsule and P16 per teabag.
“Ecarma health supplements are affordable and contain antioxidants from the Narra tree, which has significant health benefits,” Meneses said.
“Money is among the main factors that may prevent one from maintaining good health. Despite pricing challenges especially in the ber months, it is possible to live a healthy lifestyle while staying within budget,” he said.
A recent study by the De La Salle Dasmariñas College of Pharmacy showed the bark and branch wood of the critically-endangered narra have antioxidant properties that can help improve the lives of millions of Filipinos.
The Narra Extract Research Study was aimed at determining the different production processes that would be most efficient to the narra sample without sacrificing the efficacy of the product in improving consumer health and wellness.
Using the ORAC or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity – a method developed by scientists at the National Institute of Health and Aging to measure the antioxidant capacity of different foods – the research team decided to measure and compare the ORAC Scores of each process combination.
The ORAC Score is also the unit of measure of antioxidants which is the body’s natural defense versus harmful compounds linked to multiple illnesses, including weakened immunity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
(Mel Velasco is a prolific book author and publisher. He is also the Executive Director of the Million Trees Foundation Inc., a non-government outfit advocating tree-planting and environment protection.)