Indonesia Finances Research on a Peronema Plant as a COVID-19 Drug

Arfi Bambani
Sasi Gendro Sari MSc and her student Dea Aulya showing Sungkai leaves (Peronema Canescens)
Sasi Gendro Sari MSc and her student Dea Aulya showing Sungkai leaves (Peronema Canescens) - The Indonesia Endowment Funds for Education (LPDP) of the Ministry of Finance (Kemenkeu) finances Sungkai leaf research (Peronema canescens) by students and lecturers of the Biology Study Program, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Lambung Mangkurat University (FMIPA ULM), South Kalimantan. Sungkai or often also referred to as Jati Sabrang, Ki Sabrang, Kurus Sungkai, or Sekai is considered by the community can cure COVID-19.

"Alhamdulillah, we received Rp63 million in funding from LPDP with a lecturer's independent research scheme to focus on researching the efficacy of sungkai leaf extract (Peronema canescens) as a herbal product to prevent COVID-19," said Sasi Gendro Sari MSc as the head of the research team in Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan, Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

Together with team members Rusmiati MSi and Susi MSi and involving eight students of the Biology Study Program, FMIPA ULM, Alya Nur Afifah, Nia Aulia, Elia Saputri, Anggun Isnawati, Marike Aulia Simanullang, Rimaa Rahmawati, Dea Aulya, and Shofaa Maulida, research began in December 2021 and designed for 10 months finally completed.

Sasi presented several scientific findings from a series of studies conducted. Empirically, the sungkai plant, especially the young leaves, is believed can be used as an alternative medicine to prevent COVID-19 because of its ability as an immune booster or increase immunity, antiplasmodial, antibacterial, fever medicine, yellow fever medicine, and body freshener.

Therefore, processed products of sungkai leaf extract which contain bioactive compounds and are useful as immunity and antivirals need to be studied more deeply. Then the proximate and vitamin C profiles of dry matter and infusion of sungkai leaves showed good results of water, ash, protein, fat, and carbohydrates as well as vitamin C.

Giving ethanol extract to sungkai leaves with concentrations of 87.5 mg/BW, 175 mg/BW, and 350 mg/BW to male rats of the Wistar strain did not result in changes in the histology of the liver and kidneys of rats and did not give a negative reaction to the blood biochemistry of the liver and kidneys of white rats and blood profile.

In addition, giving ethanol extract to young sungkai leaves did not provide significant effectiveness on phagocytic activity and spleen morphometry but tended to increase the immunostimulation of carbon elimination rate, phagocytosis index, and stimulation index at doses of 87.5 mg/BW and 175 mg/BW.

Furthermore, the number of leukocytes within normal limits as well as neutrophils, basophils, monocytes, and eosinophils tended to increase in the number of cells after being given ethanol extract of young sungkai leaves for 28 consecutive days.

"Giving the extract with three varying doses is safe to use as an herbal medicine with male white rats of Wistar strain," said Sasi who was accompanied by one of his students, Dea Aulya.

The results of this research have also been published for scientific publications in Sinta indexed national journals (Biotropics) and international journals (IJWEM/Biodiversitas) as a "submitted" process.

The additional target of the research team is in the form of a simple patent application to the stage of being registered through the ULM Intellectual Property Rights Center (HKI).

It is known that the sungkai leaf plant has a tree trunk with a height of up to seven meters. Its life is spread from the lowlands to the highlands and is easy to find, including growing throughout Kalimantan.

In addition to the leaves which are believed to be beneficial for health, the trunk of the sungkai tree is often used in the furniture and handicraft industries because it resembles teak wood and has an artistic groove and bright color with dark brown stripes.

Tag # sungkai leaves for covid-19 drug # covid-19 # covid-19 drug # peronema canescens # lambung mangkurat university # south kalimantan # herbs for covid-19

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