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Medicinal herbs underdeveloped, says ministry

Theresia Sufa

The Jakarta Post

Bogor, West Java  /  Mon, November 12, 2018  /  08:36 am
Medicinal herbs underdeveloped, says ministry

Via Herdiyanti of Cimandala village in Bogor picks 'binahong' (Bassela rubra linn) leaves in her yard. (JP/Theresia Sufa)

Medicinal herbs are non-timber forest products, which are still underdeveloped.

Agus Justianto, the head of the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s research, development and innovation department, stated this during the International Conference on Forest Products 2018 at Botani Square, Bogor, West Java, on Nov. 2. Over 50 researchers from Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia attended the event.

Agus said non-timber forest products needed to be utilized as timber production was declining. “Timber from production forests is limited, while it is illegal to take timber from natural forests.”

Medicinal herb researchers from the ministry said they have conducted research on a number of medicinal herbs with a focus on phytochemistry, toxicity and activity.

Read also: Health benefits of Indonesia's herbs and spices

Vatica perakensis, whose bark has been traditionally used as antidiabetic herbal medicine in North Sumatra, is one example. Researcher Gunawan Pasaribu said he planned to propose the plant for clinical trials, as well as aiming for a standardized herbal medicine.

Other potential herbs include dragon’s blood (a red substance or resin from Daemonorops draco that is used as a drying astringent), and bidara laut (Strychnos lucida) that is known for its antimalarial properties.

Cat’s whiskers (Orthosiphon aristatus) is used to increase urine output and for flushing the bladder.Cat’s whiskers (Orthosiphon aristatus) is used to increase urine output and for flushing the bladder. (JP/Theresia Sufa)

A number of medicinal herbs are already being widely used by the public because they are easy to grow, such as cat’s whiskers (Orthosiphon aristatus) or binahong (Anredera cordifolia). The latter is commonly used in Java to treat diabetes and to prevent strokes. (iru/wng)