Thursday, May 19, 2016

Camarines Norte co-op finds refreshing way to prevent dengue through citronella
By Charmaine Aduviso

LEGAZPI CITY, May 18 (PNA) -- Dengue, a disease caused by a mosquito carrying dengue virus, has been shaking the country as it has caused an outbreak not only domestically but throughout the world.

This disease causes fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain and rashes – and sometimes leads to death if not treated well.

Since there is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue, people who have dengue fever are advised to rest, drink plenty of fluid and reduce the fever using paracetamol or see a doctor, according to the World Health Organization.

While people try to find cure for this disease, meanwhile, a cooperative in Labo, Camarines Norte has found one refreshing way to prevent it – through citronella.

Formerly focused on the production of coconut and its products, the “Kooperatiba ng Maliliit na Magniniyog ng Barangay Kanapawan (KMMBK)” decided to make citronella a part of their production after its members were alarmed by dengue outbreaks that have been happening all over the country.

Citronella is a tropical Asian grass that has citrus-scented leaves and the oil obtained from this plant is often used as an insect repellent.

This plant is harvested, air-dried and then put into a machine in order to extract its oil.

Coconut oil is then mixed with citronella to produce various products that provide great benefit to the community.

The products include soap, air freshener, massage oil and even lotion.

Not only has the cooperative made a single product to be used in preventing the disease but it has also become creative by making it as an everyday product that can be used by people for their convenience.

Apart from its mosquito-repellent properties, citronella oil also provides various medicinal uses like relief from inflammation.

It is rich in antibacterial and antiseptic properties, inhibits fungal growth and kills intestinal worms.

It helps increase frequency and quantity of urination as well as provides relief from depression, anxiety and stress.

It also increases sweating and promotes removal of toxins.

Citronella helps cure menstrual spasms, cramps and cough; relieves spasms of muscles and respiratory system; cleans the stomach from infections and other problems and stimulates blood circulation and secretion of hormones.

KMMBK’s products are very much in demand in dengue-prone areas around the metro side of the country.

Its top products are the citronella soap and oil.

It first showcased its products in Manila and since then became famous for the products’ insect-repelling promise.

The cooperative is also the prime distributor of citronella oil in the Human Nature Philippines, a company based in the Philippines that offers organic products.

Not only does this cooperative help in the prevention of the dengue outbreak but it has also brought benefits to the people of Kanapawan.

Anita Flores, 49 years old and a mother of four, has worked at the cooperative for as long as she can remember.

She was still young when her parents also worked at the cooperative.

Before, Anita used to harvest citronella plants that were to be processed.

Now, she represents the cooperative in various occasions like in the Labor Day-Earth Month Trade Bazaar that was conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment-Bicol on April 28.

“Dahil dito, napaaral ko ang mga anak ko. ‘Yung isa ay propesor na sa PUP, ‘yung isa kaka-gradweyt palang, ‘yung isa gagradweyt ngayong susunod na pasukan at ‘yung isa nag-aaral pa. Malaki talaga naitulong nito sa pamilya ko,” Anita said.

The KMMBK uses organic materials ensuring that their products are not only safe and beneficial for their consumers but also to the environment.

“Maraming mabibili ngayon na mga mosquito repellent pero puno naman ito ng mga chemical. Kami organic lang para hindi naman nakakasama sa kalikasan,” Anita added.

Their cooperative is now expecting that its products will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration this May. (PNA) BNB/FGS/CA/CBD/EBP