A 16-year-old Filipino student has discovered that the Jamaican cherry, known as “aratiles” in the Philippines, is a potential cure for diabetes.

Maria Isabel Layson, a student from Iloilo National High School, recently discovered that the Jamaican cherry has anti-diabetes properties and could cure type 2 diabetes, GMA News reported.

The young Filipina said she saw that the fruit is often neglected yet grows abundantly in the Philippines. She found that bioactive compounds like anthocyanin, flavonoid and polyphenol were in the fruit and these components may be used as a cure for diabetes.

“Nobody pays attention to the fruit and its medicinal properties. They don’t realize that it has potential for becoming a regulator of diabetes,” Layson said.

Layson said she was inspired to research the fruit because she had lost several family members to diabetes. According to the Department of Health, diabetes is the deadliest disease in the Philippines.

Her research led her to win the Best Individual research in Life Science during the Department of Education’s 2019 National Science and Technology Fair.

She also represented the Philippines in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Arizona in the United States last month.

“My research won’t end here. It will actually further develop into more specific compounds. We will delve into other diseases,” she said.