Indonesian Herbal Medicines: from the garden into the clinical practice
Zullies Ikawati, Faculty of Pharmacy, Gadjah Mada University
Indonesia is a country of mega biodiversity. Although covers only only 1.3% of the Earth’s area, Indonesia is home to 10% of the world’s plant species, 12% of its mammals, 16% of its reptilians, 17% of its birds, and 25% of its fishes. Indonesia’s biodiversity is ranked 3rd after Brazil and Zaire. It is only natural that in the jungles, forests, swamps, and even gardens of ordinary Indonesians, some plant with medicinal use could grow. On the other side, Indonesia possesses about 400 ethnics (ethnics and sub-ethnics). Each ethnic and sub-ethnic has wide knowledge inherited from generation to generation concerning traditional medicines and medications.
The use of traditional medicines in Indonesia is part of national cultivation and has begun from centuries ago, however, the effectiveness and safety has not yet been supported by comprehensive research. According to regulation, Indonesian traditional medicine is classified s into 3 catagory based on quality, safety, efficacy evaluation prior to registration, i.e. jamu, sandardized herbal, and phytopharmaca. Jamu is refer to the herbal medicines whose safety and efficacy based on “inheritance” and empirical approach. Meanwhile, those generated from scientific approach through pre-clinical test (including toxicity and pharmacodynamic study) is defined as standardized herbal. For those which have passed clinical test is defined as phytopharmaca.
Among them, jamu is the most popular and widely used, and now beeing developed from herbal practitioners to pharma industries. In fact, many of jamu contain many compounds having potent biological activities. Examples are: curcumin (from Curcuma sp) as antiinflammatory, chemopreventive, antidyslipidemia, and immunostimulating agent; andrographolide (from Andrographis paniculata) as antidiabetes, antiviral and cardioprotective agent; 1'-acetoxychavicol (from Alpinia galanga) as anticancer, antimicrobial, antifungal and gastroprotective agent; and lignans (from Phyllanthus niruri) as antiviral, immunostmulant, and hepatoprotective agent. There are still many more.
For regulating Indonesian traditional medicine, the Government establishes a National Policy on Traditional Medicine. The national strategies include : 1. Promoting the sustainable use of Indonesian natural resources as traditional medicines to improve the health services and economy; 2. Assuring safe, quality and efficacy of traditional medicines and protecting communities from using inappropriate traditional medicines; 3. Supporting the availability of traditional medicines possessing proven efficacy as scientifically tested and widely used for self-medication and formal health services; and 4. Promoting the development of accountable and transparent industry in traditional medicines to serve as host in the country and to gain recognition from other countries. To achive the goal to provide the good quality of herbal medicines in Indonesia which can be accepted in clinical practice, collaboration between ABCG (academic – bussiness- community – government) is very important and need to be encouraged.
Background Review Article:
Traditional Medicine in Republic of Indonesia, Indonesian Traditional Medicine, National Strategy and Scope of Cooperation.