November 01, 2019
Mamaku project offers hope for puku diseases
The leader of a project to uncover the health secrets of the Mamaku or Black Tree fern says it’s a world first collaboration bringing together mātauranga Māori and western science.
Ngā Uri O Te Ngāhere Trust, Te Rangatahi o te Whenua Trust and researchers from Plant & Food Research and Massey University have secured more than half a million dollars from the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge for the Mamaku Whakaoraora project.
They’re looking for evidence to establish Mamaku as a highly functional natural food which can improve a range of metabolic and gut health conditions.
Ngā Uri O Te Ngāhere Trust chair Garry Watson from Ngāi Tai says Mamaku was a traditional food source that was used for a range of gut problems as well as applied externally for healing.
The work with the crown research institute and the university will look at metapblic illnesses including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses and obesity.
"This whole process sets a new transcultural inquiry, a new standard in bicultural science excellence because it melds the skills and capacity of Ngā Uri O Te Ngāhere in the mātauranga Māaori fields of ethno-ecology, ethno-biology and ethno medicines with western science, technology and capability so it’s a world first," he says.
Garry Watson says the project will determine processes for food safe preparation of Mamaku products and assess the properties of Mamaku under simulated in vitro gut conditions.
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