Production of High Quality Planting Materials Through Breeding for Four Important Herbal Species
With the growing interest in these species as a source of new pharmaceutical products and the increasing demand for herbal products in Malaysia, the demand for its raw materials is also increasing. Therefore, initiatives have been taken by Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) to select and to produce high quality planting materials for future uses. To our knowledge, most of the raw materials used in producing herbal products and its development were being sourced from the wild, with little knowledge on the quality of the raw materials. In order to ensure the quality and sustainability of raw materials in the market, it is important to come out with suitable breeding strategy for the selected species. This paper highlights research by FRIM on collecting, screening, selecting and producing high quality planting materials for the four species based on their growth performance and bioactive compounds. Several research on the production of high quality planting materials for four important medicinal plants has been initiated by FRIM starting from the 11th Malaysian Plan until now. This paper discusses about four selected species namely Chromolaena odorata (kapal terbang), Andrographis paniculata (creat or green chiretta), Beackea frutescens (false ru) and Senna alata (candle bush). These species are found to have a significant benefit to the human’s health. C. odorata (kapal terbang) leaf extract are found to have relatively strong inhibition on platelet-activating factor (PAF) receptor binding in vitro, indicating an anti-inflammatory activity, which is favourable for wound healing. A major bioactive compound in A. paniculata, andrographolide has shown anticancer potential in various research. Whereas, B. frutescens has a potential to be used as anti-gout remedies. Research conducted by FRIM showed that active compound in the leaves and stems of B. frutescens extract are effective in inhibiting uric acid formation and promoting uric acid secretion. Whereas for S. alata, the highest content of major flavonoid glycoside compound, kaempferol-3-O-gentiobioside (K3G), has an anti-inflammatory effect detected in leaf extracts. Germplasm plots for the species were also established in FRIM for future breeding activities. The outputs derived from this study will support the herbal industries in getting quality raw materials in the future. By using high quality plants will also increase the value of pharmaceutical products in the market. It is anticipated that herbal industries and interested party will seek FRIM for high quality seeds and seedlings materials for the development of their products as well as for the establishment of commercial herbal plantation.