USM researchers create nano-formulated herbal extract supplement

Healthy science: Dr Zhari (left) and Dr Munawar holding up the prototype 'Labeesity' and packaging at USM in Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: Universiti Sains Malay­sia researchers have successfully created a prototype weight loss supplement using the Kacip Fatimah (Labisia pumila Benth. & Hook. F) herb.

The prototype, named Labeesity, even won the gold award at the Malaysia Technology Expo on Feb 20.

At a press conference yesterday, lead researcher Prof Dr Zhari Ismail said the prototype was a nano-formulated standardised extract and was the first Kacip Fatimah supplement meant for weight loss.

“The Kacip Fatimah is a local herb that is popularly used by women as a health tonic, but it has not been used for weight loss.

“My research team and I saw that there were weight loss effects repor­ted with the use of the herb and we tested it scientifically,” he said, adding that the research was conducted with a grant from the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry.

Dr Zhari said the research took two years to complete and the lab results showed 10% to 20% weight loss on the rats tested.

“The extract is formulated on a nano scale, therefore improving the efficiency of delivering the extract to the cell,” he said.

Dr Zhari assured that the product was safe as it had undergone toxicology tests.

“After the rats were given the extract, we dissected their livers and found them to be very healthy,” he said.

He said a local company had already signed a memorandum of understanding with USM to develop the extract further.

“The company will be responsible for securing a further grant in order to conduct pre-clinical and clinical trials before marketing the product to the public. Depending on the grant, this could be completed in a month or two,” he added.

Also present at the press conference was USM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Omar Osman and School of Pharmaceutical Sciences dean Prof Dr Munawar Zubaid Abdul Sattar.

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