Ethno-botany Behind the Malay Herbal Industry                                        Murray Hunter                        ...
consult Bomohs before trained medical doctors and rely on herbs for cures. This is the basisfrom which the modern traditio...
and disseminating the technology to farmers and the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia(FRIM)has just completed building...
Raw Herbs                                          Fresh                Dried                  Consumption                ...
Chemical Constituents: 1’-acetoxychavicol acetate, cadinene, cineol, eugenol, galangin, 1’-acetoxyeugenol, 1’- acetoxyeuge...
dihydroeurycomanol, 13,21-dihydroeurycomanone, dihydroniloticin, 13β,21-dihydroxyeurycomanone, dihydroxyklaineanone, 14,15...
Chemical Constituents: As an edible herb the nutrient composition is water 87.7%, protein2%, fat 0.2%, carbohydrate 6.7%, ...
reduce fever and treat skin diseases. A poultice of leaves is used to treat coughs, sore eyesand venereal diseases. The le...
It has been used in Hawaiian traditional medicine for more than 200 years, where it is wellknown as a herbal product. Mori...
Comments: This herb is more widely used in Thailand, than Malaysia.Ocimum sanctum LinnLocal name: KemangiCommon Name: Holy...
1  Asrul, Z., 2002, The Malay Ideals, Kuala Lumpur, Golden Books Centre Sdn. Bhd., P. 167.2  International Market Research...
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Ethnobotany and the Malaysian Herbal Industry

  1. 1. Ethno-botany Behind the Malay Herbal Industry Murray Hunter Associate Professor School of Bioprocess Engineering Northern Malaysian University College of Engineering (KUKUM)IntroductionMalaysia is a multi-ethnic country made up of Malays, Chinese, Indians and a number ofother ethnic groups scattered around the country. The majority group are the Malays orbumiputras (Sons of the soil), who for more than One Thousand years lived in a ruralenvironment, not interfered with by the outside world, until the Arabs, Indians, Chinese andeventually the Europeans arrived on the Malay Peninsula for trade and later conquest throughcolonialisation.The Malays until the mid part of the 20th century lived a simple rural life tendering paddyfields, growing vegetables and fruits, gathering forest products, and fishing. Today inMalaysia, there are still parts of the country where life, except for electricity, television,telephone and other modern amenities, is still much the same way. Although Malaysia is nowa largely urbanised and industrialised country, the Malays’ rural roots aren’t forgotten, shownby the mass exodus of the inhabitants of Kuala Lumpur, the Nation’s capital city to their hometowns during holidays and festive seasons.Life in the kampongs (villages) was completely self sufficient, relying on a communal socialorder which developed the soft and hospitable culture that many visitors to rural Malaysiawould experience. Work was undertaken with the principal of gotong royong (mutualassistance) and life had little resemblances to the stress of urban life. The Malay diet was avery healthy one based on rice, ulam (leaf type vegetables), fruits, legumes and fish, incontrast to the heavy meat based diet of today. As there was no access to outside medicalassistance, the Malays learnt and built up a knowledge base about the medicinal efficacies ofthe native flora available in their local areas. Hard work, diet and herbs from the garden andforest were their only method of maintaining good health.Malay Traditional Medicine (MTM) developed from the village on what flora was available,relying on knowledge being passed down from generation to generation for Hundreds ofyears. This was completely by folklore, as there are no ancient texts of Malay herbal medicineknown to be in existence. With the arrival of the Indian traders in the 1500’s, some knowledgebased on ayurvedic medicine was passed along. The Indonesians from Aceh brought withthem knowledge about urut (traditional massage), which became incorporated in themedicinal regime used by the Malays. The Chinese also passed on knowledge aboutreflexology and some Traditional Chinese Medicines, further enriching Malay TraditionalMedicine.The Malays are a very superstitious people and believed in mystical powers1. Some elders inthe kampongs took on the role of bomohs (wise man, mystic, medicine man all rolled intoone), taking up partly the practice of medicine and mixing it with mysticism. It was believedthat bomohs could see into the future and through their intervention could alter outcomes.They were consulted in all matters from love, to sickness. Some bomohs were straightcharlatans, while another group of them employed the use of Islam in their healing, where,medicine and massage would be supported with use of verses in the Al Quran (The IslamicHoly Book), to build up faith, hope and confidence.Malay Traditional Medicine is the least well known of all the Eastern disciplines and is indanger of losing much of its acquired up knowledge. This is partly due to urbanisation andindustrialisation and loss of contact with the kampong. There is also no central regulatoryauthority, registering and monitoring practitioners in Malaysia, although plans are under wayto regulate this field. Still today, many Malays, particularly in the rural areas, are inclined to
  2. 2. consult Bomohs before trained medical doctors and rely on herbs for cures. This is the basisfrom which the modern traditional Malay herbal industry has emerged and is rapidly growing.The Current Herbal Industry in MalaysiaThe herbal medicine industry literally grew out of the kampong, where numerous homeremedies were manufactured and sold in crude presentations at pasars (markets) around thecountry. This was totally unregulated until toxicity scares forced regulation in under theControl of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984, modelled on the Australian TGAregulations. An Eight year grace period was given, where traditional medicines would have tobe registered under the special category of traditional medicines, which allows for easierefficacy claim guidelines based on established and recognised prior use. The regulations alsorequired quality standardisation and GMP standard manufacturing facilities, which cleaned upthe industry and eliminated all of the backyard operators, where contract packers with GMPcompliance moved in.Although the imposition of regulation eliminated many small one product enterprises, itmodernised the presentation of Malay traditional medicines on the market and ensured somestandardisation and safety. Malay traditional herbal products compete openly with Chinesemedicines, imported nutraceuticals, nutritional Supplements, dietary Supplements, andWestern homeopathic medicines.Urbanisation and separation from the older generations still living in the kampongs, made itdifficult to obtain home remedies in the cities. Growing affluence and awareness about naturalproducts has led to a rediscovery of Malay traditional medicines, which is sustaining rapidgrowth. More Malaysians are taking supplements to ward off illness and maintain a good stateof health, feeling that their daily lives are stressful. Thus today, traditional Malay herbalmedicines have grown from a cottage industry to a mass marketed group of products growingto a turnover of more than A$800 Million per annum. This is reported to be growing between15-20% per annum2.This rapid market growth has seen the multinational pharmaceutical companies launchdietary supplements and nutraceuticals to compete. Herbal, health and dietary supplementsare regulated as non-poison over the counter (OTC). The United States is the largest supplierof supplements to Malaysia and the majority of these products are marketed through directselling companies, pharmacies, supermarkets and Chinese Medical Halls. The most popularitems are vitamins, minerals and plant extracts. Dietary supplements are some of the fastestgrowing product ranges for companies like Cosway, Amway, CNI, Sureco and many otherlocal companies.The largest market channel for Malay traditional medicines is now through local and foreignowned direct marketing companies. There are over 140 companies in Malaysia undertakingdirect marketing and selling different branded versions of Malay herbs. Herbs are available asteas, tablets, capsules, balms and lotions, in cosmetics, shampoos and even blended ascoffees. Some companies have successfully modified their products by mixing local herbswith long established internationally recognised herbs like ginseng and aloe vera, etc. Directmarketing has allowed individuals become freelance salespeople for the herbal products, whoalmost without any restraint, tend to make wide claims about product efficacy. Legal actionwas attempted under the Advertisements & Sales Act 1956 to try and control this. Howeverno charges could be sustained as all claims made by individuals have tended to be of averbal nature3.The local Malay herbal industry is currently heavily supported by the Federal Government.Through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Industry (MOSTI), grants are given out touniversities and research organisations to further research this field. The MalaysianTechnology Development Corporation (MTDC) provides commercialisation grants for up-scaling technology on a dollar for dollar basis with industry. The development of the industryis co-ordinated by the Malaysian Herbal Corporation (MHC). The Malaysian AgriculturalResearch and Development Institute (MARDI) is developing new herbs in research programs
  3. 3. and disseminating the technology to farmers and the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia(FRIM)has just completed building an A$15 Million plant for pilot manufacture of herbalproducts as a training facility. In addition, FRIM is carrying out a national bio-prospectingprogram and compiling all national herb data in a bioinformatics program.Raw Material SourcingTraditionally raw materials were gathered through wild collection from the forests, most of thetime illegally. Thus, there were many disadvantages as shown in the table below4Table 1: Medicinal Plants Collected from the Wild Verses Cultivation Wild Collection Cultivation Availability Decreasing Increasing Supply of Material Useable Better Control and Quality Quality of Products Poor High Botanical Identification Sometimes not reliable Reliable Genetic Improvement No Yes Agronomic Manipulation No Yes Post Harvest Handling Poor Usually Good Adulteration Likely Relatively SafeWild collection has become extremely difficult now due to depletion of natural forest materialsand local cultivation programs are developing. However, most raw materials still are importedfrom India, China and Indonesia, suppling over 90% of the industry’s needs5.Herb plantations are being developed all over the country. The first one was established bythe Perak State Economic Development Corporation (PKENP) in Sungkai, Perak, which isnow owned by Sureco (M) Sdn. Bhd., in the mid 1990’s. This company has grown to a salesturnover of more than A$25 Million per annum in end consumer herb products, from a zerobase in 6 years. Pandan Intan Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of Nona Roguy Sdn. Bhd. wasestablished in 1994 and now cultivates over 500 Ha. of herbs in Kelantan. Gitex (M) Sdn.Bhd. Has also established a buy-back program with small-holders in Kelantan and isextending this concept to other farming communities throughout the country.Local cultivation only supplies a faction of local raw material requirements, which is inhibitingindustry growth. Local companies tend to find it difficult to purchase consistent quality of rawmaterials, experience wide price fluxuations, have to encounter quarantine procedures eachtime materials are imported, sometimes are unable to get raw materials and don’t havestrategic control over these materials. Some companies have moved their manufacturingoperations to Sumatra, Indonesia to be closer to supplies of raw materials and also takeadvantage of the larger Indonesian domestic market for herbal products.Herbs are used in a number of ways. Traditionally in the village, herbs were either used freshor dried for later use. Simple processing can convert dried herbs into powders for use incapsules and teas, etc. Herbs can also be fermented for the preparation and manufacture ofmedicinal beverages. Under more sophisticated processing, extracts are prepared andstandardised for use in phytopharmaceuticals or further fractioned and undergone bioactiveprocesses to produce synthetic drugs. The family tree of herb derivatives is shown in Figure1.
  4. 4. Raw Herbs Fresh Dried Consumption Fermented Medicinal Medicinal Powders Beverages Extracts Essential Oils Standardised Extracts Fractions Flavour & Phytopharmaceutical Bioactive Fragrance Products Compounds Personal Care Synthetic Drugs & Cosmetics Figure 1: The Family Tree of Herb DerivativesSome Ethno-Botany of Popular Malaysian HerbsThere are over 15,000 of plants known in Malaysia, of which 1,200 of the higher species havebeen reported to have medicinal properties6. Of these, about 150 plants are used in theproduction of herbs. The rest of this article will introduce some of the currently popular onesused by manufacturers.Alpinia galanga (L.) Wilid.Local name: LengkuasCommon Name: Greater GalangalParts Used: RhizomeDescription & Origin: Alpinia galangal originated from India. It is widely available throughoutSouth-East Asia, along the tropical belt. Alpinia galanga is a perennial plant and can grow upto three metres in height. The leaves are long, narrow and light green, with pointed tips.Uses: The rhizome is used as a spice in cooking food. In traditional medicine it is used forbringing down fever, bronchitis, rheumatism, skin diseases, respiratory diseases, indigestion,flatulence, purifying blood, diarrhoea, stomach ache, cholera, a laxative and for treatment ofdiabetes. It is also taken after childbirth for general wellbeing. The leaves can be boiled inwater for use as a body lotion. It is also said to be an anti-microbial.
  5. 5. Chemical Constituents: 1’-acetoxychavicol acetate, cadinene, cineol, eugenol, galangin, 1’-acetoxyeugenol, 1’- acetoxyeugenol acetate, ascorbic acid, bassorin, camphor, β – carotone,caryophyllene oxide, caryophyllenol-1, caryophyllenol -11, (E)-8-β- 17-epoxylabd-12-ene-15,16-dial, galanginmethyl-ether, galangol, isorhamnetin, kaempferide, kaempferol,methylcinnamate, niacin, phlobaphen, D-pinene, quercetin, quercetin-3-methyl ether,riboflavin, terinen-4-ol, thiamin, trans-3,4-dimethyloxycinnamyl alcohol, trans-4- 7 8 9 10hydroxycinnamaldehyde, trans-4-methoxycinnamyl alcohol .Comments: Legkuas popular as a herbal material in Malaysia. There is some smallcultivation in the country.Cymbopogon nardus (L.) rendleLocal Name: Serai WangiCommon Name: CitronellaParts Used: LeavesDescription and Origin: Citronella is widely distributed throughout South-East Asia.Citronella is a tall clumped grass, which can grow to 1.5 metres in height. The leaves areabout 2.5 cm in width. The stem is a rounded, creeping rhizome that produces suckers.Uses: Citronella is widely used for balms, massage oils and insect repellent candles. It isapplied to the body through a balm or carrier oil to relieve rheumatism, fever and to assistdigestion.Chemical Constituents: Caryophyllene, citronellol, borneol, bournonene, camphene,camphor, 1-carvotanacetone, σ – 3-carene, citronellybutrate, D-citronellal, D-citronellolacetate, D-citronellol-N-butyrate, p-cymene, elemol, farnesol, furfurol, geraniol,geranylacetate, geranylbutyrate, geranylformate, limonene, linalool, linalylacetate,methyleugenol, methylisoeugenol, methylheptenone, menthol, myrcene, nerol, nerolidol, cis- 11ocimene, perillaldehyde .Comments: It is still cheaper to import citronella oil than produce it in Malaysia.Eurycoma longifolia Jack.Local Name: Tongkat AliCommon Name: Bitter antidoteParts used: All parts can be used but there is a preference for the bark and roots of the tree.Description & Origin: Tongkat ali is a small tree which grows to a height of 10 metres. Thebranches grow to a length of one metre and have odd-pinnate compound leaves and form acrown at the top of the tree. The tree is usually found in the lowland jungles around the MalayPeninsula and Borneo, Burma, Indo-China, Thailand, Sumatra and the Philippines.Uses: The plant is boiled in water and used as a general tonic internally after childbirth,antdotal, antihypertensive, antipyretic, antituberculotic, antivenous, vermifuge and febrifuge.Many believe in the plant’s aphrodisiac properties, which may help explain its immensepopularity. The herb is also used for washing itches, and applied as a paste to relieveheadaches, bone pain and stomach aches. In commercial products the herb is promoted as astamina booster and anti-oxidant.Chemical Constituents: The important compounds are eurycomanol, eurycomanone andeurycomalactone. Other known compounds include Boujotinolone A., campesterol, 5,6-dehydroeurycomalactone, 11-dehydrdroklaineanone, dihydroeurycomalactone, 13β,18-
  6. 6. dihydroeurycomanol, 13,21-dihydroeurycomanone, dihydroniloticin, 13β,21-dihydroxyeurycomanone, dihydroxyklaineanone, 14,15β-dihydroxyklaineanone, 3-episapelinA, eurycomanol-2-0-β-D-glycopyranoside, eurylactone, eurylene, hispidone, 6-hydroxy-5,6-dehydroeurycomalactone, 9-hydroxycanthin-6-one, 10-hydroxycanthin-6-one, 9-hydroxycanthin-6-one-N-oxide, 6α-hydroxyeurycomalactone, laurycolactone A and B,longilactone, longilene peroxide, melianone, 9-methoxycanthin-6-one, 9-methoxycanthin-6-one-N-oxide, niloticin, pasakbumins A, B, C and D, piscidinol A, scopoletin, sitosterol andstigmasterol 12 13 14 15 16.Comments: Clinical trials are still very limited. There are now more than 300 products on themarket containing tongkat ali. Most jungles have been harvested and raw materials arebeginning to come from plantations. This is currently one of the most popular herbs in themarket, used in a large number of products including coffee.Labisia pumila Benth.Local Name: Kacip Fatima.Common Name: Fatimah childbirth medicineDescription & Origin: Kacip fatimah is found in Indo-China, Malaysia, Borneo, Java andSumatra. It is a small scrub growing naturally on the forest floor, under shade. Leaves areupright and elliptic-lanceolate in shape, rising from the base.Parts Used: LeavesUses: Kacip Fatima is one of the most popular herbs used by women, especially atchildbirth. It is believed to assist in childbirth. A paste using the leaves in coconut is applied tothe babies abdomen to relieve stomach pain. Leaves are drunk in tea for dysentery. The plantis also used to treat rheumatism, gonorrhoea and dysmenorrhoea.Chemical Constituents: No information available.Comments: This plant is very popular as a herbal remedy and was locally named after thePhophet’s only daughter Fatimah. It is used in a number of products and promoted heavily asa women’s tonic. The plant is cultivated in plantations for commercial supply.Centella asiatica (L.) Urb.Local Name: PegagaCommon Name: Asian pennywort, Indian pennywortParts Used: LeavesDescription & Origin: This herb is native to India, most probably introduced into Malaysia atsome time. It is a small herb, sometimes creeping. The leaves are heart shaped on a longstalk. Flowers are white in small rounded heads. The herb is commonly used in Ayurvedicmedicine.Uses: Commonly used as an ulam (vegetable) in the Malay diet as an appetiser and aidingdigestion. The herb is recognised as being ‘heaty’ to the body and used after childbirth towarm the mothers body, help contract the uterus, and improve blood circulation. Juice fromthe leaves is extracted by boiling or pounded into a fine paste to treat skin diseases, such asulcers, wounds, and assist in healing. The paste is also used to lower fever. It is also used tocure leprosy, keloids, lupus, cellutitis and strengthen nervous functions. It is believed toimprove memory and usually made into a tea, or extracts used to make a juice. It is also usedin local cosmetics for anti-aging and anti-oxidant.
  7. 7. Chemical Constituents: As an edible herb the nutrient composition is water 87.7%, protein2%, fat 0.2%, carbohydrate 6.7%, fibre 1.6% and ash 1.8%. Mineral contents are calcium,phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc. Vitamins: carotenes,retinol equivalents, B1, B2, C and niacin17 18 19 20.Comments: This herb can usually be purchased fresh at the markets, cultivated by small-holders.Andrographis paniculata (Burm.f.) wall.ex NeesLocal Name: Pokok Cerita, Hempedu bumiCommon Name: Creat, Green chiretaDescription and Origin: Most likely a native plant of India. Has been introduced across Asiaas far as China and Australia. Andrographis paniculate is an annual herb, growing to around80 cm in height. Stems are squarish, with green glossy oblong, but pointed leaves.Uses: Traditionally used in both China and India to treat gastro-intestinal tract and upperrespiratory infections. Research has revealed that there is potential to treat cancer andhuman immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It is also used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure,Stomach-ache, asthma, malaria, fever, flu, chest pains, coughs and sore throats. It is alsoused to treat insect bites.Chemical Constituents: Important chemical are andrographiside, andrgraholide,neoandrographolide, 6’-acetylneoandrographolide, 2,3-aminomutase, andrograpanin,andrographine, andrographolide sodium bisulfate, andropanoside, bis-andrograpolides A, B,C, and D, γ-bisabolene, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, deoxyandrographolide, 14-deoxyandrographolide, 14-deoxy-11-dehydroandrogapholide, 14-deoxy-11,12-didehydroandrogrphiside, 14-deoxy-11-hydroxyandrogrpholide, 14-deoxy-12-hydroxyandrogrpholide, 14-deoxy-11-methoxyandrogrpholide, 14-deoxy-11-oxoandrogrpholide, 3,4-dideoxyandrographolide-deooxyandrographoliside, 11,12-dihydro-14-deoxyandrographolide, diterpene glycoside, 14-epi-andrographolide, 12-epi-14-deoxy-12-epi-andrographolide, 12-epi-14-deoxy-12-methoxyandrographolide, eugenol, 19-0-β-D-glucopyranosyl deoxyandrographolide, 9-0-β-D-glucopyranosyl hentriacontane, 5-hydroxy-7,8-dimethoxyflavanone, 5-hydroxy-7,8,2’,3’-tetramethoxyflavone, 5-hydroxy-7,8,2’-trimethoxyflavone, isoandrographolide, 7-0-methylwogonin, myristic acid, ninandrographolide,panicoline, panicuide A, B, and C, polyphenol, β-sitosterol glucoside, tritriacontane,dicaffeoylquinic acids, diterpenoids, polyphenols21.Comments: This crop is considered an important herb crop and a number of small-holdersare cultivating the plant in buy-back programs in Kelantan.Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.Local Name: Bunga rayaCommon Name: Chinese hibiscusParts Used: Leaves, roots, flowersDescription and Origin: Unknown origin. It is the national flower of Malaysia. A woodybranched shrub growing to a height of around 3 metres. The leaves are ovate and brightgreen, with a glossy upper surface. The common cultivar has a bright red campanulate flowerwith black lining on the inside base of the tube yellow pistils at the end.Uses: Used in ayurvedic medicine as a heart tonic and blood purifier. The flowers are used toregulate menstruation. The flowers and leaves are used in a poultice to treat bronchitis,
  8. 8. reduce fever and treat skin diseases. A poultice of leaves is used to treat coughs, sore eyesand venereal diseases. The leaves and flowers can also ripen boils and ulcers. Hibiscusproducts on the market include teas, body slimming lotions, and herbal extracts for kidney,intestine and blood treatments.Chemical Constituents: ascorbic acid, β – carotene, cyaniding-3,5-diglucoside, cyaniding-3-sophoroside, cyaniding-3-sophoroside-5-glucoside, hentriacontane, hibiscetin, methyl-10-oxo-11-octadecynoate, methyl-8-oxo-9-octadecynoate, mucilage, niacin, quercetin-3-diglucoside,quercetin, quercetin-3,7-diglucoside, riboflavin, thiamin, D-galacturonic acid, D-glucuronic 22 23 24acid, D-galacturonic, L-rhamnose .Comments: Number of slimming products on the market. Other herbal products include theextract.Hibiscus sabdariffaLocal Name: Asam SusurCommon Name: RoselleParts Used: Leaves, stems and fruitsDescription & Origin: Hibiscus sabdariffa is commonly available throughout Malaysia andthought to have originated in India. The plant is now grown widely around the world. It is anerect bushy shrub growing to around 2.5 metres in height. Its stems are reddish and leavesalternative shades of green, about 6 cm long. The flowers are also a reddish colour with deeppurple centres.Uses: Young shoots are eaten raw as an ulam (vegetable). The flower is also eaten, whichhas a distinct sour taste. It is usually used as an acidic tea. Claims are made about itsmedicinal properties in being able to lower blood pressure and decrease cholesterol and thereare a number of products on the market, espousing this. The leaves are also used as apoultice on abscesses and ulcers, as it is claimed to have antibacterial and anti fungalproperties. The seeds are said to have a diuretic effect and act as a laxative. It is also claimedto be cytotoxic and choleretic. Hibiscus sabdariffa is manufactured as a syrup and also as afermented tonic drink as a general tonic.Chemical Constituents: Hibiscus sabdariffa is an edible herb and the shoots contain 180 kJof energy. It contains 85% water, 3.3% protein, 0.3% fat, 9% carbohydrates and 1.6% fibre. Italso contains the minerals calcium, phosphorous and iron. It is rich in vitamin C and alsocontains B1, B2, niacin and b-carotene. The fruits are similar in composition with theadditional constituents of citric and malic acid, which is responsible for the sour taste. Severalflavonoids exist, including gossypectin, hibiscetion, sabdaretin, gossytrin, hibiscin andhibicitrin. Anthocyanins also exist as cyaniding-diglucoside and cyaniding-glucosyl- 25rutinoside .Comments: The development of roselle is a national priority and there are plantations inSarawak, Terengganu, Kelantan and Perak.Morinda citrifolia Linn.Local Name: MengkuduCommon Name: NoniParts Used: Fruits, leaves, roots.Description & Origin: It is uncertain where the tree originated with some literature claimingAmbon in Indonesia and others in Australia, but it is wide spread over the Indo-Pacific region.
  9. 9. It has been used in Hawaiian traditional medicine for more than 200 years, where it is wellknown as a herbal product. Morinda citrifolia is an evergreen tree, which grows up to a heightof 7-8 metres. It is widespread in villages all over Malaysia and grows well in coastal areas.The leaves are shiny dark green in a long elliptic shape. Fruits are fused together and plentifulon the tree, appearing waxy and light green in colour.Uses: The young shoots and ripe fruits are eaten raw as ulam (vegetables). Infusions of noniare taken to improve menstrual flow and to treat female infertility, while the ripe fruit is takento cleanse the blood, especially after childbirth. Dried leaves are made into hot compresses toplace on the chest to relieve coughs and fevers and to the abdomen for colic, spleen andnausea. The ripe fruits are eaten for aid to diabetes. Leaves are also taken for diarrhoea andwith sugar added as a laxative. Noni can also be applied to the skin to treat wounds and asrelief for gout and rheumatism. Noni is usually sold on the market as a tonic preparation andin ointments for skin related problems. Other uses include using the fruit pulp as a hairshampoo and the roots as a dye for batik.Chemical Constituents: alizarin, asperuloside, xeronine, acetin-7-0-β-D(+)-glycopyranoside,5,7-acacetin-7-0-β-D(+)-glycopyranoside, alizarin-α-methylether, anthragallol-2-3-dimethylether, ascorbic acid, asperulosidic acid, caproic acid, caprylic acid, β-carotene,chrysophanol, damnacanthal, damnacanthol, digosin, 5,6-dihydroxylucidin, 5,6-dihydroxylucidin-3-β-primeveroside, 6,8-dimethoxy-3-methylanthraquinone-1-0-β-rhamnosyl(4-1)glucopyranoside, 5,7-di-methylapigenin-4’-)-β-D(+)-galactopyranoside, hexoicacid, 5,6-3-hydroxymorindone, indole, lucidin, lucidin-3-β-primeroside, 3-hydroxymorindone,3-hydroxymorinedone-6-β-primereroside, 2-methyl-3,5,6-trihydroxyanthraquinone, 2-methyl-3,5,6- trihydroxyanthraquinone-6-β-primereroside, α-methoxyalizarin, monoethoxyrubiadin,morindadiol, morindin, morindone, morindone-6-β-primeveroside, niacin, nordamnacanthal,octoic acid, purine, quinoline, riboflavin, rubiadin, rubiadin-1-methyl ether, rubichloric acid, β-sitosterol, soranjidiol, thiamin, trihydroxy-methyllanthraquinone-monomethylether, ursolicacid26.Comments: Noni first made its appearance in the Malaysian market as a herbal beveragesupplement from the Hawaii in the late 1980’s. This aroused local interest with its marketsuccess and spurred the development of a local industry, however it is reported that the fruit 27was used as a batik dye and as a medicinal medicine in the 18th century . Mengkudu or nonihas been one of the most popular commercially sold herbal preparations in Malaysia.Products manufactured in Malaysia include noni fruit tonics, noni pulp for skin and noni leafextract for cuts and bruises. Noni is also sold in capsules and mixed with oil for massages.Cultivation is usually undertaken by small-holders in Kelantan and there is a plantation inPerak, operated by Sureco (M) Sdn. Bhd.Neptunia prostata BaillLocal Name: Kankung puteriCommon Name: UnknownParts Used: Leaves and stemsDescription and Origin: Neptunia prostata is a small creeping herb native to the CaribbeanIslands. It is now found widespread throughout the tropics, growing along ditches and drains.Neptunia prostata is a small plant with bipinnate leaves, approximately 6 cm long, with a 4 to5 cm spaced pane, with numerous pairs of leaves. The leaflets are very small and oblong andclose up when disturbed by something.Chemical Constituents: UnknownUses: The shoots and young leaves are eaten raw. In Malaysian Traditional medicine, theroots are infused with rice flour and rubbed over the body to treat fever. The juice of the rootsis used to fight ear infections and also in the late stages of syphilis. The leaves are used as atea for a laxative.
  10. 10. Comments: This herb is more widely used in Thailand, than Malaysia.Ocimum sanctum LinnLocal name: KemangiCommon Name: Holy BasilParts Used: Leaves, seeds and roots.Description and Origin: Ocimum sanctum was most probably introduced into Malaysia fromIndia. Ocimum sanctum is an aromatic herbaceous shrub with heavily woody stems. Theleaves are ovate.Uses: Ocimum sanctum is believed to be very effective for boosting the immune system. Itexhibits antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is a remedy for gonorrhoea and acts as adiaphoretic for malaria. It is also used for coughs, anorexia, chronic dyspepsia, flatulence,colic, bronchitis and as a cardiac stimulant. An infusion of the leaves is used for digestivedisorders and treat gangrene of the lungs and phthisis. The juice of the leaves is given as alaxative. It is used externally for rheumatism. Seeds are used to treat urino-genital disorders.Fresh leaves and roots are used to treat bee, wasp and scorpion stings and mosquito bites.Chemical Constituents: carvacrol, ursolic acid, cineol, eugenol, linalool, nerol, thymol,antistaphylocoagulase, ascorbic acid, camphene, β –carotene, caryophyllene, eugenol-methylether, hexouronic acid, methyl-chavicol, methyl homoanisic acid, mucilage, β – pinene,β – sitosterol, tannin, terpineol28 29.Comments: Small production taking place among small-holders in Malaysia. Used in anumber of products, using imported extracts.Orthosiphon aristatus Blume.Local Name: Misai kucingCommon Name: Java tea, Cats WiskersParts Used: Leaves, flowers and stemsDescription & Origin: Orthosiphon aristatus is widely found throughout South-East Asia andIndia, as well in Northern Australia. Orthosiphon aristatus grows in the wild along roadsidesand ridges of paddy fields and is usually cultivated around kampong houses in rural areas. Itis a perennial herb that grows to just under a metre in height. The leaves are glabrous andarranged in pairs opposite each other. The stems are squarish. The flowers are white withlight purple buds.Uses: Orthosiphon aristatus is used to control blood pressure, treat bladder, kidney and aidblood circulation. It is also used to treat diabetes, gout and rheumatism. It is claimed that theherb can dissolve kidney stones. The herb is prepared for ingestion through boiling the stemsand leaves, sometimes with other herbs, as a tea. Other reports claim efficacy in treatingjaundice and arterosclerosis.Chemical Constituents: High in potassium. α – and β – carotone, cirisimaritin, cryptoxanthin,5-hydroxy-6,7,3,4-tetramethoxyflavone, insositol, myo-inositol, orthosiphon, pillion,rhamnasin, salvigenin, 4,5,6,7-tetramethoxyflavone, isosinensetin, β – zeacarotene,carotenoids, flavonoids, glucosides, glycoproteins, phenylpropanoids, saponins, terpenoids30.Comments: Java tea is a popular herb for use in teas in Europe. It is being cultivated in manyparts of Malaysia for use in the local market.
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