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A study conducted by Dr Sameera Samarakoon of the Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Colombo, with renowned Food Scientist Dr. D. B. T. Wijeratne, has found that consuming green tea with gotu kola (Centella asiatica) as a mix could produce many health benefits. Gotu kola enhances the antioxidant, antiviral and immune-boosting properties of green tea.
Pegged as the herb of longevity, gotu kola is a staple in traditional Asian medicinal practices and green tea is one of the most popular health beverages around the world. Health benefits of green tea are well known and it is commonly consumed by many people owing to its antioxidant properties, reduction of obesity, prevention of cancer, reduction of blood pressure, etc. Similarly, in ancient medicinal practices in India, Japan, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the South Pacific, the health benefits of gotu kola is well known. Modern laboratory tests have confirmed that the gotu kola has antioxidant properties, beneficial effects to the liver, skin protection and improving cognitive function and memory power. All health benefits of both could be obtained when consuming a mixture of green tea and gotu kola, Dr Samarakoon said.
He said that gotu kola should not exceed more than 20 percent of the mixture due to reduction in acceptability as a beverage.
He said that green tea and gotu kola could be recommended as herbal beverages.
Dr Wjieratne said that previous studies had confirmed that consumption of gotu kola had a positive effect on improving liver health especially with regard to the most common type of primary liver cancer, Hepatocellular carcinoma, fatty liver and liver cirrhosis. Recent research has also pointed out that gotu kola could help reduce blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases including stroke, myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease. Pharmacological studies have reported that the gotu kola extract can regulate the central nervous system activity and enhance cognitive function in the brain.
Dr Wijeratne pointed out that the health benefits of green tea have been well known around the world. Compared to gotu kola there was more scientific research with regard to green tea’s health benefits. Green tea is rich in catechin, polyphenols, particularly Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). The EGCG is a powerful antioxidant which kills cancer cells without harming the normal cells. This compound is also effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots and reduction of platelet aggregation. In addition, it has been found that green tea extract is a promising source of natural antioxidants that has been effectively utilized to enhance the antioxidant properties, Dr Wijeratne said.
He said that obesity had been identified as the major cause of a number of diseases, including coronary heart diseases, hypertension, non-insulin dependent diabetes, pulmonary dysfunction, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer. Tea catechin, especially EGCG, appears to have an anti-obesity and diabetes effect. Green tea was also seen as a natural herb that can enhance energy expenditure and fat oxidation and thereby induce weight loss, Dr Wijeratne said, adding that consumption of a combination of two herbals could provide plentiful health benefits.
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PM digs his heels in
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The STF Commandant has asked his deputies to deploy STF personnel in Colombo and suburbs on 08 and 09 July in view of the scheduled protest marches.Issuing a letter to his deputies, STF Commandant has said that the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) has organised a protest march in Colombo. On 09 July, large crowds will gather in Colombo demanding the resignation of the President.Therefore, STF personnel must be deployed to provide adequate security, he said.
Emphasis will be placed on providing security to the President’s house, Temple Trees, private residence of the Prime Minister and the Police Headquarters, the Commandant has said.However, Police Spokesman, SSP Nihal Thalduwa said he was not aware of a letter the STF Commandant had sent to his deputies.
SSP Thalduwa said that Police had done what it could to ensure the safety of the people during the protests. The IGP too has assured that the people have the right to peacefully assemble and demonstrate, he said.On Thursday (07), the Inspector General of Police, C.D. Wickramaratne said that peaceful protests will not be obstructed.Issuing a special statement, the IGP said the Police always respected the right of free speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution, as well as the freedom of peaceful assembly.
However, he urged the protesters to remain peaceful and refrain from harassing government and private employees during the protests.
On the same day (07) the Fort Police requested the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court to issue an order banning protesters from coming near the President’s house premises on Friday (8) and Saturday. The request was made through the Attorney General. Colombo Additional Magistrate Keminda Perera rejected the request saying that the police have the power to prevent anyone from committing any offence or causing any disturbance to the public.Deputy Solicitor General Janaka Bandara, appearing for the police, told court that political parties, civil society activists and trade unions would hold massive protests in Colombo on Friday and Saturday. Those attending protests would be members of an unlawful assembly, Bandara said.
Appearing for the protesters, President’s Counsel Saliya Pieris said the police are trying to use the judiciary as a weapon to suppress people’s fundamental rights. Pieris told the court that police were empowered to take necessary action in accordance with section 95, 96 and 97 of the Criminal Procedure Code in the event of committing an offence.
Former Communist Party General Secretary D.E.W. Gunasekera yesterday (08) said that the country was in such a precarious situation that the government had to quit forthwith to pave the way for a genuine all-party government.Such an arrangement was a prerequisite to restore political stability urgently required to achieve economic recovery, the veteran politician said.
At a Gathering of Opposition political forces in Colombo, he said was a manifestation of growing opposition to Gotabaya –Ranil administration.
The former Minister emphasised that public confidence in the current dispensation had deteriorated to such an extent, the growing political challenge couldn’t be neutralized by imposing curfew or obtaining court directives against public gatherings in Colombo.
“I’m sure the government quite clearly understands ground realities. Therefore, the top leadership should engage those engaged in the protest campaign,” the outspoken former lawmaker said.
Responding to The Island queries, the CP Leader urged the government to avoid what he called traditional counter measures such as blanket ban on social media as the campaign against the government had entered a phase that couldn’t be reversed.
The former minister said that those who had been engaged in the campaign since April 09 quite successfully integrated with recognized political parties, including the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
The Church of Ceylon has called for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the formation of a truly representative interim administration which can regain the confidence of our own people and that of the international community.
In a media statement signed by Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando, Presiding Bishop of the Church of Ceylon and Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo, Bishop of Colombo, the Church has said that they note with deep concern the deterioration of the state of the economy and the sheer sense of apathy with which those in power are approaching the plethora of problems faced by the people of our land.
Text of the statement “It has been nearly two months since a new Prime Minister was sworn in, much against the wishes of the people and ignoring the advice of Religious Leaders and civil society. The Cabinet that took office thereafter has failed to take any meaningful steps to alleviate the suffering of our people or secure any assistance from any party to improve the state of the economy.
The present illegitimate Government is only capable of providing commentary on the deteriorating state of the country from time to time and warning the people to prepare for worse. There is no plan of action, no clear roadmap or strategy for short, medium- and long-term recovery. It has now come to an absurd point where even the Ministers of this administration are openly calling for the resignation of each other. Clearly, there is no legitimacy for this Government even from within its own ranks.
“We are extremely concerned that our people are dying on the streets languishing in fuel queues for days waiting to get a meagre supply of Petrol or Diesel. The supply of Gas and Kerosene for cooking is now a thing of the past. Many small and medium scale industries and businesses have collapsed pushing thousands of people to be out of employment. Our schools remain closed indefinitely causing irreparable damage to the future of our country. We are alarmed that the Police and Armed forces are now using excessive force on unarmed civilians in order to quell the state of chaos which is clearly not their own making. The increasing rate of suicide and crime is indicative of the extent of desperation to which our society has plunged.
“It is no longer possible for this so-called Government to remain aloof and indifferent to the call of our people. Any Government which cannot command the confidence of its own people will not stand a chance in demanding the respect of outside governments for funding agencies. Furthermore, it is ridiculous to expect outside agencies to bail out Sri Lanka when those who are responsible for corruption and mismanagement are still in control of the country. The lackadaisical attitude of such agencies in responding to the suffering of our people is a clear message that cannot be ignored.
“Therefore, we reaffirm our call for the following:
“1. The immediate resignation of the President who has to take personal responsibility for driving this country to a state of bankruptcy. We wish to remind the President that a term of office can only be legitimate if the people still have confidence in the individual. The overwhelming call for his resignation from Religious leaders, to civil society and the average man and woman on the street is a clear reflection that he has no mandate to govern this country anymore.
“2. The Immediate resignation of the Prime Minister who never had the legitimacy to hold office. It is clear that there is no plan and no action to revive the economy other than the people having to tighten their belts and die in queues. The past two months has demonstrated the inept inability and incapability of the present administration to grapple with the burning Issues of our land. The fact that the situation has only got worse is clearly a testimony to this fact.
“3. The formation of a truly representative interim administration which can regain the confidence of our own people and that of the international community. Such administration will be called to manage the present crisis swiftly while devising suitable short, medium and long-term strategies for economic revival. We are convinced that our country has much potential to rise and bounce back strongly if there is agreement on a common framework for governance and support for a realistic plan for economic recovery. After all, the vast majority of our people are intelligent, honest and hardworking men and women who have seen their dreams shattered overnight due to no fault of theirs. We must seek leadership which is capable of rallying our people at this time.
“4. The urgent enactment of Constitutional reforms to prune down powers of the Executive Presidency and reintroduce Independent Commissions. Strengthening the role of Parliament and securing the independence of other institutions which are essential to maintain checks and balances in governance are essential for this nation to progress with dignity. Such reforms should be the result of consensus drawn from all sectors of the people and should necessarily safeguard the interests of all communities.
“5. The immediate reopening of schools by providing necessary facilities and prioritized support to function as normal as possible even with difficulty. We call all on the police and armed forces to act with discernment and restraint in the next few days as the people are agitating for their lives and livelihood to be restored. We wish to remind the tri forces and police that their own families have not been spared from suffering and that the future of their own children are also at stake due to the current state of affairs.
The suffering masses will have no option but to intensify their struggle since they are not heard by those selfishly clinging on to power. As a Church, we will support and stand by our people as they engage in peaceful demonstrations commencing from the time instant, calling for meaningful change in the direction of our country. We continue to pray for our land and for wisdom to navigate through these difficult times.”
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