Commercial Prospects for Malaysian Herbs
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Kamil Kasim
Posted on: February 26, 2007

Our company is a herbs and spices processing company incorporated in Malaysia. We specialize in processing of fresh Malaysian herbals and spices such as Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia), Misai Kucing (Orthosiphon stamineus), Mas Cotek (Ficus deltoidea), Pagaga (Centella asiatica), and Dukung Anak (Phyllanthus amarus). This herbs and spice will undergo various stage of processing such as cleaning, drying, chipping, grinding and extraction. A few info regarding the above herbs: Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia)

Tongkat Ali inhabits the lower stratum of the lowland forest. It is a small tree growing to a height of 10 metres. The main stem grows upright with only one or two branches and sometimes none at all. At each end of the stem or branch, the leaves are arranged to form a rosette or umbrella-like canopy. The leaves are odd-pinate compound, consisting of 20-30 pairs of leaflets with one terminal leaflet. They are dark green and shiny. The flowers are small, dark red, arranged in long panicles which arise from the leaf axils. The fruits are drupe and yellowish 5brown in colour.

Tongkat Ali is very popular for its aphrodisiac properties and also as tonic for afterbirth and general health. Besides, it is effective for hypertension, pains in the bone, jaundice, dropsy, fever, diarrhoea, indigestion, lumbago and dysentry. The stems are used as febrifuge and are one of the ingredients to cure malaria.

Mas Cotek (Ficus deltoidea Jack) is a wild plant which can be found in Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu. It grows well in the forest near the beach but can also thrive in the hilly areas up to 700 metres from sea level.

It is a shrub that grows up to a height of 2 metres, but can also grow as epiphyte on other plants. The leaves are thick, deltoid in shape and rounded at the apex but tapering at the base. There are black, rusty or golden spots (therefore "mas cotek") on the upper and lower sides of the leaves but are more pronounce below. The main vein has three branches on the lower surface of the leaves. Flowers and fruits are borne at the leaf-axils, singly or in pairs.

Mas Cotek is used traditionally to cure lung diseases. It is also a well known herb for women after childbirth.

We would like to know whether these herbs have any commercial value in the USA. We are willing and able to supply the above herbs as per specification (we can also send herb samples for analysis) If you have any enquiries regarding the above herbs, please contact us.

Thank you for your brief overview of crops under discussion. I will need more information on their specific actions (chemistry) to respond correctly. Most new entries into the herb and spice trade must have conforming validation in chemistry. Are their any clinical studies on their usages?

Many new entries begin with ethnobotanical use (traditional uses), but won’t ever enjoy any market share without confirming clinical trials, studies, and chemistry arguments. Other than testimonials, what other evidence is available on their usage in domestic markets?

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