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Leaves of plant native to Samoa offer ibuprofen effect: study

Leaves of plant native to Samoa offer ibuprofen effect: study

Leaves of a plant native to Samoa were found to be as effective as ibuprofen in lowering inflammation. The plant is locally known as matalafi and scientifically called Psychotria insularum. It could be used to treat Parkinson's, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.

Leaves of matalafi plants have been used in Samoa to treat inflammation associated with fever, body aches, swellings, elephantiasis, and respiratory infections.

Seeseei Molimau-Samasoni, the manager of the plants and postharvest technologies division at the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa, said that he was keen to provide scientific merit to the traditional medicine of Samoan people, reported The Guardian.

Being the author of the study, Molimau-Samasoni said that she was sceptical at first because there is a lot of superstition around the plant. "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."

In traditional Samoan medicine, leaves of the plant are chopped up and juice is squeezed out. Sometimes patients are supposed to drink the juice. It is also rubbed on wounds.

Molimau-Samasoni told The Guardian that the challenge between modern and traditional medicine is the people focusing on just one type of medicine before seeking the other. "I know many people think traditional medicine is just people mashing leaves together and that people are taking it just for the placebo effect." She pointed out that traditional medicine has contributed significantly to modern pharmaceuticals.

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