Research poster on Tagbak plant as aid against osteoarthritis wins NAST award

A research poster on the potential of the “Tagbak,” a Philippine endemic plant, to help alleviate osteoarthritis, won an award from the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), in its recent July 2021 virtual convention.

The study, entitled “Modulation of oxidative stress and biological markers of osteoarthritis by the Philippine endemic plant Alpinia elegans (C. Presl) K. Schum leaf extracts, was co-authored by Mae Lee T. Tumaneng of the UST Graduate School’s Master of Science in Pharmacy program and Assoc. Prof. Agnes L. Castillo, PhD, who also teaches at the Graduate School and at the Faculty of pharmacy.

The study aimed to the address the gap in medications available for osteoarthritis (OA), which only has medications for improving functionality and quality of life. The researchers looked into the potential of Tagbak, traditionally used for musculoskeletal diseases, to be chrondroprotective, in that it will help prevent or delay cartilage degradation. Thus, Tagbak leaf extracts were subjected to various levels of assessment and analysis.

Tumaneng and Castillo found that the chrondroprotective activity of Tagbak leaf extracts “is attributed to its ability to inhibit reactive oxygen species, while [maintaining] the antioxidant enzymes.” This leads to “the suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and matrix degrading enzymes due to the presence of putative compounds, specifically polyphenols and flavonoids.”

Tumaneng and Castillo’s work was supported by the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences.

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