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Local Medicinal Plant Proven Effective in Helping People With Diabetes

The Palauan medicinal plant “Ongael” or ‘Delal a Kar” was proven effective in helping people with diabetes.

The trial and the research project piloted by the Palau-based Pacific Academic Institute for Research (PAIR) made use of traditional medicine or plants readily available on the island.

The clinical trial launched early last year had 68 patients volunteering to the test.

“The results were worth all the effort as participants have seen their diabetes improve, on average, just as much as with a standard anti-diabetic drug. Moreover, these were precisely patients having difficulty controlling their disease with standard medicines. As a bonus, their body weight went down, their waist-lines shrank and even blood pressure decreased,” a press release from the PAIR stated earlier.

One patient of the clinical trial, Veronica Simeon, 47, took part in the trial. She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes that made her feel worn out all the time. Simeon said she was also overweight and needed to change her lifestyle by exercising frequently.

Veronica Simeon, 47, took part in the clinical trial to prove efficacious of the plant Ongeal . She said taking it made her feel better and healthier. photo by Bernadette H. Carreon

Simeon said for six weeks she had to take the medicinal plant by drinking 30cc of the boiled plant three times a day, 30 minutes before any meal.

“It helped after the clinical trial, my high blood pressure was good and I have lost six lbs.,” Simeon added.

Simeon said since then she was able to maintain a normal blood pressure.

In an earlier interview, Dr. Victor Yano, one of the authors of a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2014 said that several Palauans are already self-preparing the concoction.

With positive results of this study, Dr. Yano is planning to conduct another with non-diabetic obese individuals for a period of 12 weeks. He hopes to see favorable results on weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels. For this second study, he said work has begun with partners in Geneva.

The study was a collaboration of researchers from PAIR and Palau’s Ministry of Health; Dr. Yano also co-authored the study with Bertrand Graz and Dr. Christopher Kitalong.

For years the plant might have been ignored as an effective remedy for diabetes and preventing obesity.

According to a Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation report last year , Palau is one of the countries in the Pacific with high levels of obesity, one risk factor of diabetes.

PAIR statement said that the clinical trial, “made it possible to understand how the plant works: it stimulates fast insulin secretion in the body; it improves liver function for fat and glucose digestion; and -- here is the explanation why Ongael triggers hunger without weight gain-- it increases oxygen consumption, which means the use of more energy.”

The published study was a community survey conducted with the help of high school students of Upward Bound Program of the Palau Community College (PCC).

Ongael (Phaleria nisidae)

Local name for this native plant is Ongael, but popularly called Delalakar, which in Palauan language literally means "mother of medicine."

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