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In February 2019, Maria Isabel Layson, a 16 years old high school student from Iloilo, was one of the winners of 2019 National Science and Technology Fair and competed in the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Arizona with her project on the Aratiles fruit.

Maria Isabel Layson

She presented the study “Bioactive Component, Antioxidant Activity and Antidiabetic Properties of Muntingia calabura Linn (An In Vitro Study)”, in which is said that branches, leaves and flowers of Aratiles plant possess significant antioxidant and anti-diabetic activity. More than that, since is is found growing naturally anywhere in Philippines, as in other countries, could also be the cheapest solution in treating diabetes.

Diabetes type 2 is defined as a chronic condition that affects the way our body metabolizes sugar (glucose) — an important source of fuel for your body.

Aratiles (Muntingia calabura Linn) is a plant with cherry like fruits known in other countries as Jamaica cherry, Strawberry cherry, Calabur Tree, Datiles,Latires,Seresa or Mansanitas. In Philippines the ripe fruit is very popular among children, fruits are processed into jam and leaves are used for making tea.

Acording to the Stuartxchange.org, traditional use of Aratiles includes the following:

  • Flowers used as antispasmodic.
  • Decoction (method of extraction by boiling herbal or plant material to dissolve the chemicals of the material) of flowers for abdominal cramps.
  • Decoction used as emollient.
  • Flowers used as antiseptic and to treat spasms.
  • Leaves used as antiseptics or antipruritic; also, to treat abdominal cram
  • Also used to relieve colds and headaches.
  • In the Antiles, used as antispasmodic.
  • In Martinique, bark decoction is mucilaginous and used as emollient.
  • In Peru, leaves used for treatment of gastric ulcers and to reduce prostate gland swelling. 
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