A chat with his US counterpart led Professor Ong Wei Yi from NUS Medicine’s Department of Anatomy to buy a bag of Sabah snake grass and conduct research on the plant's healing properties. He discovered that the plant has significant anti-inflammatory properties and the potential to treat chronic diseases or even stroke.
In recent years, scientists such as Prof Ong have been studying the benefits of local plants that have been used as traditional medicines.
"People use it to treat cancer or diabetes, but they don't really know how it works," said Prof Ong. "Doctors ought to know exactly what patients are taking."