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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Foundation cites DLSU-Dasma study on anti-oxidant properties of Narra tree

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A foundation championing tree-planting and reforestation has cited a study by the De la Salle University Dasmariñas College of Pharmacy indicating that the bark and wood of the Narra tree have high anti-oxidant properties.

The Million Trees Foundation, Inc. (MTFI) endorsed the DLSU research which showed that the “critically endangered Narra has the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) ORAC was described as a method developed by scientists at the National Institute of Health and Aging to measure the antioxidant capacity of different foods.

The ORAC score is also the unit of measure of antioxidants which is the body’s natural defense versus harmful compounds that are linked to multiple illnesses, including weakened immunity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

The DLSU study revealed that the ORAC scores of all methods tested displayed similarly high levels of antioxidant potency.

“Indeed, our native trees are precious and they have medicinal value waiting to be tapped. It is a matter of time that cure to various illnesses could be discovered and developed into life-saving drugs that can help save millions of lives,” said MTFI chair retired Brig. Gen. Reynaldo V. Velasco.

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Velasco, formerly administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, was a prime mover of the annual Million Trees Challenge that resulted in the planting of 5.2 million trees in five years from 2017 to 2021.

The MTFI, which was established to sustain the gains of the AMTC, targets 10 million more trees in critical watersheds in various parts of the country by 2030.

“This landmark findings about the medicinal value of Narra tree gives us more reasons to pursue our ambitious goal of planting 10 more million trees by 2030,” said MTFI President and Executive Director Melandrew T. Velasco.

Over the years, native trees planted in Ipo-Angat watersheds through AMTC and MTFI stakeholders include Narra, Batino, Malaruhat, Rambutan, Cacao, and Guyabano, Bayog, Kawayan Tinik, Malaruhat, White Lauan,among others. Various native tree species have also been planted by the group in La Mesa and areas around Laguna de Bay. Kaliwa-Umiray and Upper Marikina watersheds.

Narra has antioxidant properties that can help improve the lives of millions of Filipinos. Scientifically known as Pterocarpus indicus, Narra is a tree species that can be found in southeastern Asia, northern Australasia, and the western Pacific Ocean islands, in Cambodia, southernmost China, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Ryukyu Islands, 
the Solomon Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam, and the Philippines, where it is protected by law. In the Philippines, it is strictly prohibited to cut down and harvest Narra trees.

“We should really protect and conserve our native trees and reforest our watersheds to protect our water source and ensure a steady supply of important ingredients for life-saving drugs that could save millions of lives worldwide,” added Velasco.

Over the years, native trees were planted in Ipo-Angat watersheds through AMTC and MTFI stakeholders include Narra, Batino, Malaruhat, Rambutan, Cacao, and Guyabano, Bayog, Kawayan Tinik, Malaruhat, White Lauan,among others.

Various native tree species have also been planted by the group in La Mesa and areas around Laguna de Bay. Kaliwa-Umiray and Upper Marikina watersheds.

Narra has anti-oxidant properties that can help improve the lives of millions of Filipinos.

Scientifically known as Pterocarpus indicus, Narra is a tree species found in southeastern Asia, northern Australasia, and the western Pacific Ocean islands, in Cambodia, southernmost China, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Ryukyu Islands, the Solomon Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam, and the Philippines, where it is protected by law.

“There is a list by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Narra extract, based on the ORAC score, ranks among the 10 percent foods that have antioxidant properties. That means to say that the Narra extract is number one in the Philippines when it comes to antioxidant properties if we look at the ORAC score,” said Sigfredo Mata Professor Contributing Editor of the Narra research.

For his part, Timothy Bengala, Professor & Primary Investigator of the Narra Research, also referred to the health benefits of pterostilbene according to the study by Xu et al in 2021.

The 2020 study aims to determine the different production processes that will be most efficient to EHOC without sacrificing the efficacy of the product in improving consumer health and wellness.

Based on the study, pterostilbene, a potent antioxidant, is proven to be effective as immune-enhancing, anti-asthma, anti-cancer, antifungal, antiulcer, and anti-allergy.

According to DSLU Head of Marketing & founding Dean Alicia Catabay: “One company selling Narra supplements is Ecarma. For these companies like Ecarma, this study on Narra can really help their credibility.

There are many other supplements on the market that have no studies showing their effectiveness. Ecarma will have similar characteristics in the study.”

Narra has been found to have medicinal value and was used as the main ingredient of a dietary supplement for the improvement people with diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, bladder stones and infectious diseases by Ecarma Health Options, a Filipino-owned company founded by Capt. Virgilio Ecarma, who invented and was awarded Philippine, US and South Africa patents for a method of processing Narra.

Currently, food supplement and tea bags of the company are sold over-the-counter in select Metro Manila Mercury Drugstores, and St. Joseph Drugstores in Pangasinan, and online thru Shopee and Lazada. Watsons Drugstore, it was learned, has already accredited EHOC as a Vendor.

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