Pinoy scientists develop medicine from local plants to heal hypertension, gout, and other ailments

pinoy scientist plant medicine
28 Tuklas Lunas Centers have already been established all over the country with each research institution working on the unique resources of their region. Image from DOST-PCHRD

The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) deserves a pat on the back for envisioning and establishing the “Tuklas Lunas” Program that encourages research institutions to take a look on known and to-be-discovered remedies from the Philippines’ biodiversity.

DOST-PCHRD is using two tracks, the herbal track and the drug track, to help strengthen the capabilities of researchers and the local industry in drug discovery and development to produce more accessible, reliable, and affordable medicines.

In the Tuklas Lunas program, the Council partners with institutions in particular regions to focus on local biodiversity for drug research. The institutions’ diverse outputs are attributed to the resources peculiar and common to each region.

There are 26 plants that are undergoing formulation and standardization for gout, inflammation, hypertension and blood-glucose lowering by the University of the Philippines – Manila, Ateneo de Manila University, Pascual Lab, Inc., Pharmalytics, Inc. and Herbanext Lab, Inc..

The development of functional food and herbal drug candidates from edible mushrooms and ferns are being conducted by the Central Luzon State University and Central Mindanao University.

Twenty eight Tuklas Lunas Centers (TLDCs) have already been established all over the country with each research institution working on the unique resources of their region.

The 28 research implementing institutions are distributed as follows: 17 TLDCs in Luzon, 6 in Visayas and 5 in Mindanao.

The creation of the Tuklas-Lunas Program that aims to pursue drug discovery and development by scouring and focusing on our very own biodiversity is sparked by the success story of the Lagundi and Sambong medicinal products developed under the National Integrated Research Program on Medicinal Plants (NIRPROMP) of DOST-PCHRD,

The dengue drug is one of the best examples of the ongoing success story of the program, showing great results in Phase 1 of the drug trials. Pharmalytics Corporation, in partnership with the De La Salle University Medical Health Sciences Institute (DLSU-HSI), is now undertaking the next phase of clinical trials for the Anti-Dengue Drug.

Being one of the most-biodiverse countries of the world, ranked 5th in the number of plant species and having 5% of the world’s flora, there is no doubt cures are out there just waiting to be found and discovered.

Permaculture and entrepreneur Larry Gile created the Planter Jeepney to showcase local plant life that can be nurtured to help the environment.

Albay was declared as a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve for its high conservation value with its 182 terrestrial plant species, 46 of which are endemic.

In 2019, Marine geophysicist Jenny Barretto discovered the world’s largest caldera within the Philippines’ Benham Rise, a biodiverse area that holds at least 200 marine species.

Also in 2019, Tubbataha’s Angelique Songco won the Global Biodiversity Prize groundbreaking management of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the middle of thee Sulu Sea.

Five unique sea species discovered in Philippine waters this 2019 were listed by the California Academy of Sciences.

SEND cheers in the comments below to local science researchers for developing homegrown medicine out of our rich natural environment!

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Eldan is an experienced online content writer who finds fulfillment in sharing the good side of the news to Filipinos.