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Mamaku: ethnobiology and use as a novel intraoral medicament - an in vitro study

30 months
Approved budget:
Mr Jonathan Martin
Professor Warwick Duncan
Dr Carolina Loch
Associate Professor Dawn Coates
Dr Amira Salem
Mr Samuel Carrington
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Māori Health PhD Scholarship
Lay summary
This pilot project combines an understanding of ethnobiology, the traditional knowledge of indigenous populations about the natural world, including using plants as medicaments (rongoā rākau), with our established laboratory-based technologies to develop evidence supporting the use of Mamaku (Black tree fern) to treat oral disease. Māori tradition suggests that Mamaku has therapeutic potential for treating intraoral inflammatory disease. Previous research has shown that a gel developed from the mucilage of Mamaku has promising flow properties and may possess the ability to adhere to soft tissues despite saliva flow. We hypothesise that Mamaku formulations will show antibacterial properties, encourage the growth of oral cells, and demonstrate adherence and persistence in a simulated mouth environment. From the current pilot study, we anticipate that future development will follow our established protocols. Further formulation, characterisation, safety and efficacy testing will follow in appropriate animal models, culminating in a pilot human clinical trial.