“Young Scientist of the Year” Creates Natural Diabetes Treatment That’s Comparable to Metformin

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In Jamaica, there’s a young scientist who is making waves in terms of diabetes management. Denise Daley was named 2016’s “Young Scientist of the Year” through the National Science and Technology Awards. The reason for this honor? She created a supplement for hypertension and hyperglycemia that is derived from compounds of the humble eucalyptus plant.

Daley, a pharmacognosist (natural product scientist) at the University of Technology in Jamaica, has created a line of supplements and products like teas, cooking oils, and margarines that could help those living with Type 2 diabetes. Her goal is to make these kinds of treatments more accessible to the people of Jamaica.

Adobe Stock/Mingman Srilakorn

Adobe Stock/Mingman Srilakorn

Daley has had a passion for plants for years, which was part of what drove her to conduct her research. She is interested in seeing if plants could actually be used as medicine or if they’re more of a placebo. In a study of rats, she found that eucalyptus extract could treat hypertension and hyperglycemia, comparable to the conventional medicines Captopril and Metformin, respectively. Her work has received a patent from the United States.

In addition to a love of plants, she was also inspired by her grandmother, who has Type 2 diabetes.

Adobe Stock/miwa

Adobe Stock/miwa

“I want my work to be known, to impact and to help control or treat diabetes and I was so serious,” she said. “I want to help [so many] people affected [by] diabetes, including my grandmother, so I worked to achieve this using plants and will continue.”

Though she is interested in natural medicine, she also promotes integrated medicine—the usage of herbal and plant-based medicines in conjunction with contemporary, western medicine.

Her work is certainly an exciting step forward in terms of diabetes management and treatment!

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A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.