Study shows traditional Samoan medicine can be used to lower inflammation

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Nov 04, 2021, 01:48 PM(IST)

Matalafi leaves Photograph:( Twitter )

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Despite diverse uses and wide distribution across the Pacific and in South America, the medicinal use of 'matalafi' has only been documented in the Samoan islands

A new study has revealed that traditional Samoan medicine called ''matalafi'' is useful in lowering inflammation.

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, talks about the advancement of ethnobotany.

It states that medicine, which is really understudies, can be used as a substitute for Ibuprofen and can also be used for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

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According to study author Seeseei Molimau-Samasoni, ''There was a lot of superstition around this plant particularly, even in traditional medicine, but I was keen to find out if I could provide scientific merit to the traditional medicines of the Samoan people.''

''We can now highlight not only its potential as an anti-inflammatory agent but also its potential as a treatment for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases as well as COVID-19.''

Medicinal plants with extensive ethnobotanical histories, particularly those from Asia, have contributed to the approval of natural compounds as pharmaceutical drugs.

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Despite diverse uses and wide distribution across the Pacific and in South America, the medicinal use of ''matalafi'' has only been documented in the Samoan islands.

Molimau-Samasoni said ''The leaves are chopped up and the juice is squeezed out. Traditional healers use that juice as drink for their patients. Sometimes they also use the leaves to rub on a person who is unwell or apply it to a wound that needs healing.''

''The challenge between modern medicine and traditional medicine is the instances where people focus on just one type of medicine before seeking the other, so a case where people seek anti-cancer treatments from traditional healers but then present to the hospital later on with stage four cancer, when it’s too late for modern medicine to do anything.''

The results of the study fit and extend an established system using yeast as a model system for elucidating mechanisms of iron metabolism in humans.

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