Scientists have announced that they are one step closer to curing the ubiquitous common cold, with frangipanis appearing to hold the answer.
Translating long-held folk wisdom into evidence based medicine, a team of hardworking scientists have extracted a phytoestrogen from the frangipani plant which appears to reduce the duration of the common cold in mouse models.
Many cultures prize the frangipani plant for its mystical ability to cure illness, with the flower being involved in healing rites and even taken orally as a form of medicine to alleviate cold and flu-like illnesses. Until now, it was believed that the healing powers of the frangipani were a result of social factors, with the plant contributing little to the immune system.
The Australian team of scientists, headed up by esteemed virologist Dr Hubert Meisner, has isolated a phytoestrogen used by the frangipani plant, which is not dangerous to ingest but appears to obliterate the cold virus. A treatment can be made by crushing up fresh frangipani leaves, which are delivered to the body through an injection. While it is believed that oral treatment may also work, it is unlikely to be as efficient as sending the frangipani derivative directly to the bloodstream.
A mouse model has been used to demonstrate the efficacy of the frangipani treatment, with promising preliminary results. The team hopes to undertake human studies by 2020. Until then, the team encourages people to plant frangipanis in their gardens to ensure a plentiful supply of the plant in the future.
While the phytohormone is common to all varieties of frangipani, Dr Meisner believes that some varieties produce larger quantities.“We are looking at different types of frangipani, lulus blood in particular appears to be promising. My team is currently working on isolating the phytoestrogen from the Lulu’s Blood variety, which we think will give the best results due to the huge quantities involved. As it often the case in medicine, more is better.”