Holy Week is a crucial religious observance for Catholics in the Philippines, one of two dominantly Catholic Countries in Asia. But ingrained in this Christian tradition are cultural practices that allude to our pre-colonial past when the Babaylan and the Tambalan or shamans tended to the community’s religious and medical needs.
For the National Museum of Bohol’s 2nd installment of its Lenten Special featuring a significant tropical plant, the ubiquitous Lubi (Coconut, Cocos nucifera), the National Museum Bohol invites you to explore the religious and medicinal properties of the Coconut Oil or Lana.
Before medicine and cosmetic products became widely available and easily accessible, “Lana sa Lubi” was commonly produced at home for the family’s consumption. Its uses range from cooking, and hair care to skincare. But a special type of Lana was believed to be produced by shamans and only during Holy Week.
While mothers and grandmothers prepare their Lana in their kitchens, the oil produced by a tambalan included rituals and chants and is usually done in places that they consider sacred such as certain caves. Herbs are also added to boost the medicinal properties of the oil.
Some people may frown upon the use of traditional medicine in the modern world, however, we cannot deny that countless generations of our forbears had relied on these concoctions. While it is best to heed scientific findings, the medicine kits of shamans the world over have proved to be a rich source of information for research in modern medicine. Moreover, studies have proved the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of coconut oil.
Source: fb//NatMuseumBohol (National Museum of Bohol)