In Indonesia, Only 180 Species of Tropical Plants Used as Ingredients of Traditional Medicine

In Indonesia, Only 180 Species of Tropical Plants Used as Ingredients of  Traditional Medicine

“Among 30,000 species of tropical plants identified in Indonesia, 1,260 of them are known for their medical benefits. However, only 180 species are commonly used for ingredients of traditional medicine and modern medicine productions. Furthermore, only a small number of species are instensively cultivated. Besides, there are other species of fungi and microbes which are beneficial for medication.”
Prof. Dr. Sri Atun, a YSU lecturer specialising in organic chemistry gave her lecture at a national seminar on chemistry held by the chemistry department students association on
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at YSU Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Also present as speakers in this seminar were Septi Nur Hayati, M.Sc., Apt., (Indonesian Institute of Sciences), and Mahindra Drajat Utomo, S.Si., (Petrokimia Gresik Ltd.). This seminar was attended by school teachers, lecturers, researchers, and students.
She further explained that the development of research in organic chemistry has progressively increased by the invention of chromatographic and spectroscopic separation techniques at the middle of 20th century. Through those techniques, a number of bioactive compound structures have been found. The example is the discovery of alkaloids such as vinblastine and vincristine in Vinca as the ingredient for medicine to treat cancers.
Other plants are also used to treat illnesses. Gaultheria punctata has been used to treat headache, clove oil has been used for ingredients for toothache remedies, flavour enhancer, perfumes, anti-fungi, anti-bacteria, anti-insects, etc.
Meanwhile, Septi Nur Hayati said that the Indonesian Institute of Sciences was conducting research in ingredients of medicines. Among the substances being research is Artocarpus communis leaves extract as Phytopharmaca as anti diabetic agent and anti-LDL agent. A number of marine plant species are being studied for finding antidiabetic agents, and the institute is also conducting research on marine biota antimalarian and antibacteria agents.
“Studies on medicine cannot be completed just by applying one method of a branch of knowledge. We need an interdisciplinary approach for clinical problem solving,” Septi ended.