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Indonesian Schoolchildren Win Award for Creating Mouthwash with Moringa Leaves

September 22, 2020, 09.52 PM

GRESIK, – Covid-19 might have brought Indonesian academic life to a standstill, as the pandemic forced schools to opt for online classes instead of face-to-face instruction.

But for Muhammadiyah High School 10 GKB students Amalia Dwi Berlianti, Arina Felisia, and Aulia Nabila Sya'ban, the coronavirus did not stop them from innovating and winning accolades for their work.

The trio from Gresik, East Java recently won the silver medal at the 2020 World Invention Competition Exhibition (WICE) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for inventing a mouthwash from moringa leaves, a shrub known for its water purifying qualities.

“[Moringa leaves] can prevent and reduce streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that causes cavities,” said Arina.

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“We noticed that many mouthwashes in the market today contain substances like carcinogens or saccharin. If swallowed, they can harm the body by causing cancer or kidney disease.”

While the research they put into the mouthwash might be comprehensive, the inspiration behind the three students’ invention was far simpler.

“We were inspired by the large numbers of moringa trees near our houses,” said Amalia. “We also learned from [scientific] journals that [moringa leaves] can prevent and reduce cavities.”

She added that the three mixed in sorbitol, gum Arabic and peppermint essential oils with the moringa leaves.

“We used sorbitol as a substitute for saccharine, as it does not leave a sweet aftertaste in the mouth or make it feel dry. We used the gum Arabic to mix the water [with the moringa leaves], while the peppermint essential oils hold the mouthwash’s ingredients together.”

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Working under the tutelage of their teacher Nanik Rahmawati Fuadah, Amalia, Arina and Aulia’s mouthwash won a series of science fairs around Indonesia before they tried their luck at WICE.

“We managed to win competitions at the nationwide level before we aimed higher at WICE,” recalled Nanik of the event,

Aside from seeking new challenges, the students’ participation in WICE, which was held by Malaysia-based Segi College and the Indonesia Young Scientist Association September 11-12, was motivated by boredom at home as the pandemic forced classes to go online.

Their feats at WICE have made Muhammadiyah High School 10 GKB proud. It also prompted the school to commence talks with universities and other institutions to put the mouthwash into mass production.

While there has yet to be a timeline on when the mouthwash will be available, it is still worth looking forward to in the near future.

(Writer: Hamzah Arfah, Gresik Contributor | Editor: Dheri Agriesta)


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