The guava leaf has the potential to aid diabetic patients regulate their sugar levels.
This is one of the ongoing researches initiated by the Samoa Bio-discovery Centre with the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa (SROS).
SROS Environment & Renewable Energy Division Manager, Annie Tuisuga in an interview with the Savali News said they have to date screened over 100 local plant samples and have positive findings from the samples such as the guava.
“Using these positive findings, we’re able to process tea bags from the guava leaves and with these tea bags, pass them to one of our local doctors, Dr Asiata Satupaitea Viali for further preliminary clinical trial to test how effective these guava tea bags are in treating type 2 diabetes,” said Tuisuga.
“Going forward we plan to continue screening as many plant materials as well as marine samples for example our sponges and our seaweeds that are found in our lagoons to test their bioactivity (the effect of the plant/marine extract upon a living organism).”
SROS has identified the need for research into the medicinal potential of our natural resources, believing in the positive prospects of our locally available resources to aid our people, added Tuisuga.
“These efforts are rewarded with preliminary screening trials highlighting the potential of medicinal properties of some of Samoa’s plant and marine species.”
Despite the limited facilities and equipment that SROS use for their research, Tuisuga said they are determined to continue this research with the hope of making medicine or medicinal remedies.
“Our findings for example with the guava…when we have a very positive result, we also look up whether it has been discovered already overseas. And we found the anti-diabetic nature of the guava has already been studied in Japan and India. They already have similar findings as to what we have, so even though it’s not the first discovery of its kind, we are also happy to see that the methods we are using is the same standard with the methods of the overseas laboratories.
“We are definitely going forward. We are going to continue to screen as many of our natural resources as much as possible.”
SROS is continuing its collaboration with overseas partners to assist them with their work and research.
“We are able to collaborate with them (overseas partners) and have our scientists taken over to their labs where they have received additional training, used their facilities and equipment to further concentrate our bioactive compounds, all with the goal of producing medicine that our people need. So yes strengthening this collaboration with our overseas partners is crucial.”
Tuisuga said for the moment, the Bio-discovery Center has focused on only three main areas of research due to limited number of staff and resources.
“Going forward we will definitely try to tackle as many diseases or illnesses as possible especially illnesses that our people are dealing with at the moment. So going forward we hope to expand.”
Tuisuga said SROS wants to acknowledge the strong support of our Government for assisting them with the establishment of the Bio-discovery Centre.
Prime Minister when opening this center last year said the Centre provides an opportunity for Samoa to lead and carry out its own bio-medicinal discoveries, encouraged by an increasing understanding that locally sought solutions are highly beneficial to development efforts.
“This landmark initiative further highlights Samoa’s capacity to progress through innovation. This Centre is where ground breaking biodiscoveries by our people will be made which will add to the gains of our development efforts,” said the Prime Minister.
Type 2 diabetes (World Health Organization website)
Type 2 diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent, or adult-onset) results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. The majority of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.
Symptoms may be similar to those of type 1 diabetes, but are often less marked. As a result, the disease may be diagnosed several years after onset, after complications have already arisen.
Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring increasingly frequently in children.