IPB University Experts: Not All Medicinal Plants Are Safe, Need Standardization

Indonesia as a country with a tropical climate has one of the advantages among them is the rich biodiversity of herbal plants that can be used as medicine. However, not all medicinal plants are safe to consume. It takes handling and action in utilizing the chemical compounds contained in these plants. This was revealed by Dr Mohamad Rafi, a researcher at the Center for Tropical Biofarmaka Studies, Research and Community Service Institute (LPPM) who is also a lecturer of IPB University from the Department of Chemistry faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FMIPA).

"In plants, there are chemical components that play an important role in producing biological reactions as an active composition. The composition is complex with variations in concentration and it is not yet known the total compounds contained in it," he said. There are variations in the concentration and content of uncertain compounds in each herbal plant, although it is the same commodity, being the driver of the need for standardization of raw materials.

According to him, there are a series of problems currently faced in the standardization of medicines, ranging from raw materials, counterfeiting of other similar medicinal or plant chemicals, the misconception that herbal medicines must be safe, as well as products with low quality. Other problems in the standardization of the drug are the unknown level of toxicity (toxins), interactions with other herbal/chemical remedies, the use of herbal remedies for different indication results, incorrect doses, and the chance of using the wrong medicinal plants.

"In short, standardization (quality control) of medicinal plants and their products is indispensable. The standardization process has a system where we can assure that every product we sell has the right amount, both of composition, concentration and so on. So it does start from planting, harvesting, extracting, isolating, drying, to forming extracts and finished products that all have operational standard procedures (SOP)nya so as not to lose the consistency of properties expected. It doesn't change along the way when it's produced and along the way when it's produced," dr Rafi said.

Dr Rafi explained the method of quality control of medicinal plants is by using fingerprint analysis, profilling analysis, and targeted analysis methods. The most commonly used is targeted analysis. In his conclusion, Dr Rafi said that standardization is an important part in producing herbal remedies that are consistent in their efficacy, quality, and safety. The concept in the standardization of Indonesian herbal medicine needs to be developed in adapting to the characteristics that exist in Indonesia.  "It is necessary for stakeholders to think about how to standardize their efficacy and security," he concluded. (IAAS/RCD)




Published Date : 18-Aug-2020

Resource Person : Dr Mohamad Rafi

Keyword : Medicinal Plants, Center for Tropical Biofarmaka Studies, LPPM IPB, LECTURER OF IPB, herbal medicine safety