The Jakarta Post
Three high-school students from SMA 2 state high school in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, have won a gold medal at the World Invention Creativity Olympic (WICO) in Seoul for a herbal tea they created from a plant endemic to Kalimantan that can help to cure cancer.
The three students, Yazid, Anggina Rafitri and Aysa Aurealya Maharani, received the medal on July 28 after developing the tea with the help of their biology teacher, Herlita Gusran.
Their research began in 2017, fueled by their curiosity about Yazid’s family’s ancestral concoction made from the wood of bajakah, a plant found in the forest. Yazid claimed his family had used the plant to cure cancer.
The three students and their teacher then tested the concoction on cancer-afflicted rats.
“After the 50th day, the rats with that had been treated with bajakah water were still healthy and could even still reproduce,” Herlita said on Monday as quoted by kompas.com. The other rats died.
Lab tests have proven the wood is rich in antioxidants with positive substances such as phenolic, steroid, tannin, saponin and terpenoid.
The three then processed the bajakah wood into tea powder that can be easily prepared by brewing.
The innovation won a gold medal at the Youth National Science Fair 2019 in Bandung.
After the national prize, they attended WICO in Seoul and again received a gold medal.
“We want to keep learning about Central Kalimantan’s natural potential,” Anggina said.
She said the group had been approached by many interested parties who wanted to help them produce the bajakah wood tea.
After the success, the group is going to claim a patent for their scientific work.
“We are going to claim the intellectual property but only of the scientific work, because [the work] is based on local wisdom,” Herlita said on Tuesday as quoted by tempo.co.
Bajakah wood has long been used by the native Dayak people of Kalimantan to cure cancer. (gis)