Narra truly deserving of national tree title

The narra, the Philippine national tree, is one of my favorites.  A hardwood, it is a popular wood for building houses and furniture.

         But it can also be decorative, if you are lucky to have space to grow it.

         Every year, when it is in bloom, it is a sight to behold.  Tiny gold blossoms cover almost the entire tree that you can hardly see the leaves. The tree is in bloom for just about a few days and when the flowers fall, the ground looks like it is covered with tiny bits of gold.

         Now researches from the @De la Salle (DLS) Medical and Health Sciences Institute (Dr. Mariano Que Memorial) College of Pharmacy have found that the narra is more than just a pretty face.

         Primary investigator Timothy Bengala and his team found that the national tree was also an excellent source of potent antioxidants, which could reduce the risk of several diseases and improve a person’s overall health.

         Antioxidants are known to boost immunity and help manage  diseases like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and cancer.

         According to the DLS research team’s Contributing Editor Sigfredo Mata, the antioxidant potency of narra extract is among the top ten percent on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) list of 326 antioxidant-rich food items in the world.

         The tree may be the number one antioxidant-producing food item that is native to the Philippines. 

         Dr. Alice Catabay, DLS professor and head of research and development,  said the study was a breakthrough in the Philippine herbal industry and could have an impact on how Filipinos could take better care of their health.

         “Beyond the health benefits . . . , we hope that this would lead to the planting of more Philippine narra trees (for the benefit) not only (of) FIlipino lives but also of our country as a whole,” said Dr. Louie Legaspi, DLS College of Pharmacy dean.

Mask bags

         The @Mary Grace cafe and bakery chain is showing a rare thoughtfulness for its customers. While most restaurants would pour you a glass of water when you sit down, the Mary Grace wait staff would offer you a clean bag where you can keep your mask as you eat.

         As most of us know, keeping our mask clean when we have to take it off to eat, drink or for any other reason can be a bit of a problem.

         This is why mask holders are among the best-selling items on online shopping sites but not everybody has one. Men put their masks in their pockets while women may keep theirs in their purses.

         But sometimes they are not readily accessible when you have to put them back on if you have to leave your table. So having a clean bag to keep your mask clean and within reach is most welcome.

         Mary Grace is the only place I have been to so far that does this. Kudos!

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