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Poverty is one of the world’s recurring and concerning issues which has affected countries, especially third-world countries, and this includes Philippines. During the first half of 2014, 25.8% of the Philippine population suffers from poverty, which decreased to 21.6% in 2015, and was then increased to 26.3% in the succeeding year. This means that every year, more than nineteen million Filipinos suffer lack of basic needs, such as food, shelter, along with health matters. Sanitation is required to promote health and to prevent transmission of diseases, especially contagious ones that are transmitted through skin contact and through fluids. Due to little to no access to sanitation, the impoverished population is the common victim for pandemics and outbreaks such as diarrhea. One way to counter this worldwide issue would be to stop the transmission such as through disinfectants, however most of the poverty-stricken population cannot afford their costs. Because of the latter, they tend to rely on ethnomedicine. To do this, they find herbal and natural plants that can prevent the spread of infectious diseases, with the cucumber tree fruit being one of the plants being used for the aforementioned purpose, most likely for its prevalence in the Philippines.
Cucumber tree fruit, or better known as kamias or bilimbi in the Tagalog language, is a yellowish-green and highly acidic fruit commonly found in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It also has a few relations between the star fruit; the difference being its sour flavor. It is a natural source of vitamins B and C, iron, phosphorus and antioxidants. Even if it is not as familiar as other tropical fruits, it has beneficial properties. According to a study related to the phytochemical properties of the cucumber tree fruit, its chloroform and methanol fruit extracts were active against different kinds of pathogenic bacteria.
In another study, the oxalic acid of the cucumber tree fruit has an effect on particular species of bacteria such as S. aureus, however, another study found that an overdose of oxalic acid can cause acute kidney failure, caused by increased serum oxalate level and accumulation of calcium oxalate crystals in renal tubules. A research related to the antimicrobial properties of underutilized fruits of Malaysia (cucumber tree fruit being one of them) concluded that any part of the cucumber tree fruit has an antimicrobial activity against wide range of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, meaning that the extermination of most helpful bacteria can occur.
Overall, various studies have proven the cucumber tree fruit to be antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. With the aforementioned properties of the cucumber tree fruit, along with its availability, it can be easily used for medication purposes. The antimicrobial properties of the cucumber tree fruit can be utilized into a disinfectant for the removal of pathogenic bacteria and the prevention of transmission of diseases, especially those that are transferred through physical contact.
The researchers’ purpose is to formulate an affordable disinfectant that can be afforded by anyone, even by the poor, and to provide another substitute to household disinfectants, which can contain chemicals that could negatively effect on a person’s health.
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