The respondents of this study were fifty tambalans who use medicinal plants in treating patients. Purposive sampling was used. The fifty respondents were interviewed in depth to get the necessary information. The researcher observed closely the therapeutic remedies of the tambalans which included their way of diagnosis, rituals and ceremonies. The data gathered from the different informants revealed that tambalans of Eastern Visayas are folk healers who help individuals who are confronted with health problems. They are classified into six groups namely: (1) the herbalists; (2) the espiritistas; (3) the psychic healers; (4) the bonesitters; (5) the hilots (local midwife); (6) fake healers. These different tambalans directly or indirectly got their healing powers from spirits: human and non-humans. There are tambalans who are sincere in their practice while others purposely deceive their patients just to be able to get money. The data also revealed that the therapeutic remedies include those that are real and observable to the unreal and imagined including images and other mental processes known only to the tambalans. But what is important is the fact that these methods of diagnoses and healing play right into the minds of the patients thus bringing about psycho-religio-therapeutic effect. (Demetrio, 1976; 163). It is not surprising therefore that many Filipinos in Region 8 prefer the services of the tambalans. Their rituals and ceremonies are impressive and culturally accepted. Furthermore, observation showed that the medical choices of the people run in the same vein with the medical beliefs of the people. As far as this study is concerned the medicinal plants used by the tambalans are valid as compared to the reported medical uses/value. However, there are few plants used by the tambalans which offer placebo effect like for instance dried plant leaves used to fumigate a person who suffers from allergy. As far as this study is concerned illnesses suffered by people range from the really pathological or organic to the psychological and imagined ones like being decoyed in the world of spirits or wandering around in the heavens. (Author)
This study aimed to investigate further into the practices of the tambalans especially the use of medicinal plants in treating illnesses.