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Pharmacy & Pharmacology International Journal

Mini Review Volume 7 Issue 5

Health benefits of commercialized herbal product in Malaysia-a review

Nur Adilla Zaini,1 Fazlina Mustaffa2

1Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (AIMST) University, Malaysia
2Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (AIMST) University, Malaysia

Correspondence: Nur Adilla Zaini, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (AIMST) University, Malaysia

Received: September 23, 2019 | Published: October 21, 2019

Citation: Zaini NA, Mustaffa F. Health benefits of commercialized herbal product in Malaysia-a review. Pharm Pharmacol Int J. 2019;7(5):254-256. DOI: 10.15406/ppij.2019.07.00260

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Recently, Malaysian herbal industry has emerged and commercialized herbal products are widely marketed as health boosters. The benefits of the product are one of the most significant current discussions among public and scientist. It is always a contradiction among public belief and scientific data about the pharmacological effect of herbal product. Hence, various researchers were anticipated to scientifically prove the medicinal claim of different herbal product. Thus, this review provides an important opportunity to advance the understanding of research and development of the marketed herbal products.

Keywords: Malaysian herbal industry, herbal product, health boosters


Malaysia are one of the places that having the richest biodiversity with 12% of all plant species and almost 2000 of those found locally have been reported possess medicinal qualities.1 The herbal products sector in Malaysia is growing as one of the success stories under the Agriculture National Key Economic Area (NKEA).2 Recently, researcher has shown an increased interest in development of commercialized herbal products. This is supported by the Government (2010) by announcing to make Malaysia as a leading country in producing high-value herbal products.

(Product A)

Product A is using Azadirachta indica (A. indica) and Curcuma longa (C. longa) as the main ingredients in their soap bar.  A. indica is the common name of an extremely important tree in India. In the history of development therapeutic and ethnomedicinal, A. indica has been thought as the sacred gift of nature. 3-6  In recent year, there has been an increasing interest in the studies of A. indica as a nature source in reducing dandruff. The effectiveness of antidandruff effect has been exemplified in a study by Mahmoud et al.,7 proving that A. indica helps the skin remain hydrated and eliminates dandruff while strengthening the hair. Besides, A. indica also have been reported to improve the health of hair follicles due to its antioxidant content. In fact, it is even used in traditional medicines to stimulate hair growth and prevent male pattern baldness.7

According to Mahmoud et al.,7 the antifungal and antibacterial properties of A. indica make it very popular in shampoos and scalp cleansers. A. indica effectively suppressed the mycelial growth of Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus terries and Aspergillus fumigatus which are the leading factor for aspergillosis in addition to Microsporum gypseum and Candida albicans, the aetiological agent of dermatophytosis and candidiasis. Previous research by Singh et al.,8 has indicated that the leaf extracts of A.indica were found to have a potent antidermatophytic activity against Trichophyton rubrumT. violaceaumMicrosporum nanum and Epidermophyton floccosum.

Dua et al.,9 carried out a number of investigations on A. indica as eco-friendly larvicide. The studies recorded that the lethal concentration (LC (50)) of the A. indica against Anopheles stephensi, Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti was found to be 1.6, 1.8 and 1.7 ppm respectively which is effective in controlling mosquito larvae in different breeding sites under natural field conditions. C. longa or commonly known as turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant which is native to tropical South Asia.10 Phytochemical analysis of turmeric has revealed a large number of compounds, including curcumin, volatile oil, and curcuminoids, which have been found to have potent pharmacological properties.10

Recently, Paramasivam,11 published a paper in which describing strong antimicrobial properties of C. longa. He reported that Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Bacillus cereus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Proteus mirabilis was inhibited by garlic and turmeric extracts at a 5% concentration. Ethanolic extracts of C. longa have good antifungal activity against Trichophyton longifusus.12 Antifungal agar disc diffusion method showed that a crude ethanolic extract of turmeric killed all 29 tested clinical strains of dermatophytes.13 This extract exhibited an inhibition zone range of 6.1–26.0 mm.13

(Product B)

Product B is specially designed supplement for women to consume which mainly contains Pueraria candollei mirifica (P. mirifica) and Carica papaya (C. papaya).  P. mirifica is a well-known fruit in Thailand belonging to the family of leguminosae.14 According to Lee et al.,15 P. mirifica has long been used in Thailand as traditional medicine due to the presence of phytoestrogen components such as daidzin, daidzein, genistin, genistein, puerarin, miroestrol, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, coumestrol, puerarin, mirificoumestan, kwakhurin and mifiricin. Over the past decade, most research P. mirifica has emphasized the benefit of it in woman health. In a study conducted by Manonai et al.,16 P. mirifica was proven to exhibit: ‘estrogenicity on vaginal tissue, to alleviate vaginal dryness symptoms and dyspareunia, to improve signs of vaginal atrophy, and to restore the atrophic vaginal epithelium’ in healthy postmenopausal women. The paper reported that the mean vaginal dryness symptom in the P. mirifica group decreased after 12 weeks of treatment. P. mirifica increased vaginal maturation index (parabasal: intermediate: superficial cells) from 46:43:11 to 11:65:24 after 24 weeks of treatment.16

The second main ingredient of product B is C. papaya, commercially known as papaya belonging to family Caricacaeae. C. papaya grown in various parts of the world, including India, tropical America and Europe.17 Zuhrotun N et al.,18 points out that C. papaya extract have potential as anticancer through mechanism anti-proliferation and apoptosis induction. As Zuhrotun observes: ‘mechanism of papaya leaf extract to inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer cells MCF-7 allegedly through the reduction of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) by antioxidant compounds contained in papaya leaf extract impact on the decrease of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and impact on the gene expression  associated with  oxidative stress  in MCF-7 cells such as COX-2, AP-1, Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL which can inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer  cells MCF-7’.

(Product C)

Pine bark and Vitis vinifera (V. vinefera) are the main ingredient for Product C supplement. Li et al.,19 traces the first use of Pine Bark Extract (PBE) is in 1535 by French explorer Jacques Cartier and his crew. They manage to escape death by scurvy, by drinking tea made from the bark of a pine tree. In the same vein, Gulati20 found that PBE to have cardio-vascular and cholesterol lowering benefits, the ability to enhance microcirculation by increasing capillary permeability, significant free radical scavenging activity against reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, the potential to regenerate the ascorbyl radical and to protect endogenous vitamin E and glutathione from oxidative stress, and the potential to protect erythrocytes in G6PD deficiency.

In a study which set out to determine the effect of PBE in cardiovascular system, Zibadi et al.,21 have reported that PBE resulted in improvement of type 2 diabetes controls and reduction of the risk factor of cardiovascular disease and antihypertensive. Analysis of anti-inflammatory effect of PBE was carried out in several in vitro studies and revealed that PBE has anti-inflammatory effects and inhibits the initiation of inflammation by preventing the release of pro-inflammatory mediators regulated by oxidative stress. PBE inhibits the pro-inflammatory mediators in keratinocytes (epidermal cells), leukocytes, and endothelial cells.22 V. vinifera is the scientific name for the most widely consumed fruits, which is grape vines.23 Grape extracts have been reported to have a great concentration of flavonoids, linoleic acid and polyphenols with known health benefits, due to its high antioxidant capacity.24

A large and growing body of literature has investigated the antidiabetic effect of V. vinifera. Montagut et al.,25 studied the effect of grape seed extraction on Wister female rats. The rats were treated with 25 mg grape seed procyanidin extract/kg body weight per day for 30 days and have reported that the rats had an improved homeostatis model assessment-insulin resistance index accompanied by down regulation of primers Glut4, Irs1, and Pparg2 in mesenteric white adipose tissue (WAT), concluding that the extraction has a positive long term-effect on glucose homeostasis. Natella26 draws on an extensive range of sources to access the anti-cholesterol effect of V. vinifera. The study investigated the effect of supplementing a single high-fat meal with 300 mg of proanthocyanidin-rich grape seed extracts in eight male adults. Natella26 reported that grape seed extracts reduce postprandial oxidative stress by increasing the plasma antioxidant concentration and preventing the increase of lipid hydroperoxides.






Azadirachta indica


Mahmoud et al.,7


Mahmoud et al.,7


Singh et al.,8


Singh et al.,8

Curcuma longa




Khattak et al.,12


Pueraria candollei mirifica

Improve signs of vaginal atrophy

Manonai et al.,16

Carica papaya


Zuhrotun N et al.,18


Pine bark




Zibadi et al.,21

Vitis vinifera


Montagut et al.,25



Table 1 Summary of herbal plant used in Product A, B and C


It is interesting to note that, with a precise understanding of effective dose, safety and mechanism of action, herbal products have been proven to help in promoting health. The various studies make several noteworthy contributions to the health benefits of the medicinal plants. In this modern era, interest and demand from plant source commercialized product is increasing.  There is abundant room for further progress on the development of herbal and nature product to be commercialized as health booster. The improvement of the herbal products quality also can be boost up as the Research and Development Institutions Agricultural R & D institutions in Malaysia have been establish to working towards practical solutions to problems rather than approaching them from purely an academic angle. The findings of the advantages in herbal products have a number of important implications for future practice. All of this information from this review can be used to develop targeted interventions in Malaysia’s agricultural sector as the agriculture NKEA targets the creation of 74,000 job opportunities and to increase the income of farmers by 2 to 4 times.27


There is no financial support provided for this review.

Conflicts of interest

 The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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