Friday, May 4, 2012

Indonesia - Unlocking The Secrets Of Indonesia’s Temulawak Plant

Scientists from Australia and Indonesia will work together to extract medicinal compounds from a range of native Indonesian herbs, starting with the Temulawak.

Supercritical fluid technologies developed at the University of New South Wales will play a vital role in unlocking the secrets of Indonesian herbs, starting with the Temulawak, a ginger plant native to Java.

A memorandum of understanding was signed today between the UNSW and PT SOHO Global Health, a leading Indonesian pharmaceutical company based in Jakarta, which plans to use these technologies to extract medicinal compounds from native Indonesian herbs.

“This is an exciting new project with an important end-goal given the large market and popularity of herbal remedies in countries such as Indonesia,” said Professor Neil Foster from the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW.

Supercritical fluids, which are essentially compressed gases such as carbon dioxide, have already been used to extract flavonoids from hops in the production of beer and to decaffeinate coffee.

“The technologies we have developed have the potential to uncover the true medicinal value of many plants that have not yet been explored,” explained Foster. “And in the long term, it is planned to use the technologies to re-engineer pharmaceuticals to improve bioavailability and develop less invasive methods of delivery, such as by inhalation.”

The first plant to be studied in the new partnership is Curcuma Xanthorrhiza, known popularly as “Temulawak,” and used for centuries for the treatment of arthritis and gastrointestinal complaints.

PT SOHO has been conducting extensive research on the Temulawak herb for more than 15 years, entering into numerous research agreements with the Indonesian government and universities to secure land to cultivate the herb, and to help deliver clinically proven natural medicines.

Source: UNSW

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