Samoan Plant Treats Inflammation As Good As Ibuprofen, Study Suggests

Dec, 2021 - By WMR

Samoan Plant Treats Inflammation As Good As Ibuprofen, Study Suggests

Scientists found anti-inflammatory mechanism of a plant that is used in traditional Samoan medicine for centuries.

Medicinal plants with wide ethnobotanical history, specifically those from Asian region have contributed to the approval of natural compounds as pharmaceutical drugs for many years. Samoan traditional medicine uses the leaf homogenate of Psychotria insularum for treating inflammation related to body aches, fever, wounds, swelling etc. Yet its anti-inflammatory mechanism is still unknown. A team of researchers from Victoria University of Wellington and Stanford University, New York University, and University of California, San Diego identified the anti-inflammatory mechanism of the plant known as matalafi, which is used in traditional Samoan medicine.

According to the study published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on November 09, 2021, the plant, matalafi is as effective as ibuprofeb at reducing inflammation. The new study discovered that matalafi is an iron chelator, which contains iron-bound compounds that help the body to remove excessive iron. The team tested matalafi on cells of mammal, where they found that the iron chelator activity reduced proinflammatory cytokine response and improved anti-inflammatory cytokine response in immune cells. The scientists observed that this anti-inflammatory activity was competing with ibuprofen, which is commonly used anti-inflammatory drug.

Moreover, according to the team, the iron chelator activity of matalafi that removing excess iron also indicates numerous other medical uses that are beyond anti-inflammatory qualities. It was also found that the compounds in the plant interacted with gene related to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. The two main bioactive compound in matalafi plant, rutin and nicotiflorin were highlighted in the research. Both of these compounds were previously studied for neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. However, the team plans to chemically investigate the plant, for its undiscovered compounds that could be contributing to matalafi’s complete medicinal effects.

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