FRIM: Tap local herbs potential

KUALA LUMPUR: There are about 6,000 species of herbs in Malaysia that can be developed and used as beauty and food supplement products.

Forestry Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Mohmod said there are about 20 species of medicinal and aromatic plants from which beauty care and fragrance products could be developed.

“With the latest technology, it is not impossible for us to unlock the vast potential in our rainforests,” he said.

Among the popular herbs being researched are lempoyang, turmeric, kaffir lime, kemoyangserai wangiselasihjangkang and gaharu, he added.

Abdul Latif said FRIM had found that the extracts or chemical compounds from the species analysed had anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Based on the research findings, he said FRIM is testing whether the essential oils and herbal extracts could be developed as cosmetics and wellness products in capsule, tablet or tea form.

Abdul Latif said FRIM had established a herbal technology centre with good manufacturing practice certification to help the healthcare industry realise the commercial value of local herbal products.

“The research programme is in line with the aspiration of the government to promote the herbal and healthcare industry in the country as outlined in the National Agricultural Policy and the National Biotechnology Policy,” he said.

He noted that more than 30 new herbal products had been manufactured and were now being commercialised in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies.

A good example, he said, was Gaharu essence, which is in high demand with even a small quantity being sold for thousands of ringgit. — Bernama

Article from http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/9/4/nation/9425689&sec=nation

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