Are Frangipanis the key to curing the common cold?

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.”

The Family Phoenixed: Christmas 2012

I have a cousin, Sara,  who suffered lower back pain for the most of her life. The story of how my uncle Lonnie changed his career to undertake a course professional dry needling so he could help her is one of the best ‘dad to the rescue’ stories I’ve heard yet.  I remember even as kids, she’d often be in pain and though we just accepted it as normal – but not Lonnie. He was actually a practising physio, and through the recommendation of a friend, had a lot of success treating his own knee injury through a dry needling practitioner he met in 2009.

In the end, it was this injury that led to him looking up dry needling courses. New Zealand is fairly fast moving when it comes to acknowledging new and alternative treatments, so when he decided to divert his physiotherapy background to one in dry needling, it didn’t take him long to find a course he loved.

His decision actually came Christmas in 2012,  when all us kids were playing in the front yard and her back seized up and started spasming. She was clearly in a lot of pain and needed relief, and there was only so much they could do. I remember the look on her Dad’s face as he cooled her forehead and tried to take her mind off the pain. They came to our house on New Year’s day for a regular family gathering and in the space of that week, he had enrolled in a dry needling course for the following year.

Flash forward to a few years later, and Lonnie is now a fully qualified dry needling practitioner, who can now treat Sara’s pain in a way that actually works. And the difference it has made for Sara is unbelievable- she wants to follow in her dad’s footsteps and study it herself, which I guess is probably the best testimonial for dry needling imaginable.