New Zealand's first people, the East Polynesian descended Maori, have long been known for the natural medicines they have derived by utilising certain native plants out in the New Zealand bush. They are known here as traditional Maori medicines.
Another traditional Maori medicine is being used to treat a drug resistant strain of tuberculosis (T
Researchers from Wellington's Victoria University have discovered that the bark from New Zealand's pukatea tree could eventually produce a new drug to fight potentially the deadly TB strains.
Victoria University senior lecturer Ronan O'Toole said researchers had been forced to seek new treatments as tuberculosis was becoming increasingly resistant to current drugs. He said about 300 new cases of the infectious disease are diagnosed here every year.
O'Toole's group found a variety of New Zealand native plants inhibited the growth of TB. But the most promising results came from the inner bark of the pukatea, which Maori traditionally used as a herbal pain reliever.
The bark extract fought against tuberculosis in test tube environments. Scientists plan more research to identity which compound in the bark is actually producing the positive results.
The findings of this research could ultimately offer help to millions of people worldwide who contract the deadly disease each year.
Acknowledgements: Sunday News(NZ)