SEMARANG- The Board of Professors of Academic Senate of Diponegoro University (DP SA Undip) recommended the use of herbal medicines to increase immunity against Covid-19 virus. In a webinar with the theme “The Role of Herbal Medicines in Indonesia in Improving Immunity Facing Covid-19,” which was held on Saturday (11/13/2021), the professors tried to strengthen the use of it with an academic approach.

Chairman of the Undip Board of Professors, Prof. Dr. Purwanto, DEA, said that Indonesian people have known herbal medicines since their ancestors have been using it for a long time. “For example, people aged 50-60 years, they have been given herbal medicine for treatment since they were little,” he said when giving an introduction on the webinar which was held online via Zoom and Youtube.

According to him, in its development herbal medicine is very interesting to be researched. Furthermore, several studies on traditional herbal medicines known as jamu then were processed with modern and hygienic packaging.

“Nowadays, people can easily use herbal medicine. Compared to ancient herbal medicines, when you are going to consume the ingredients, you must first prepare the ingredients. It takes a long time. Now that it is made more modern and there are scientific studies of the products, the potential for development of herbal medicine is very large in Indonesia,” he explained.

He hoped that the future development of herbal medicines can be used as much as possible to treat Covid-19 patients, or at least maintain health from the threat of Covid-19 virus by providing maximum immunity.

Meanwhile, the Chair of Undip Academic Senate, Prof. Ir. Edy Rianto, M.Sc., Ph.D, IPU, said that herbal medicines were traditional medicines that were inherited from their ancestors in the health sector. “Indonesia itself is a tropical country that has the potential for plants that are used for traditional medicine for generations. In fact, it has become a part of Indonesian society since centuries ago to use herbs for treatment and beauty,” said Edy Rianto.

Moreover, according to him, Indonesia is widely known as the second largest center of biodiversity after Brazil. The rich diversity of thousands of species, both plants and marine biota, must be utilized for the welfare of mankind.

“Herbal medicine is believed to be able to fight Covid-19. Red ginger, aromatic ginger, curcuma, and many other traditional herbs have been believed for hundreds of years to treat disease. Therefore, every time there is an epidemic disease, such as Covid-19, traditional medicine is also believed to be one of the ways to overcome the disease,” he explained.

Some time ago the price of rhizome plants was increased and many people wanted to buy the herbal plant to be used as medicine. To strengthen the benefits, Edy invited all parties to use scientific studies as a basis to develop Indonesia’s herbal wealth.

Head of Semarang City Health Office, dr. Mochammad Abdul Hakam, Sp.PD presented as speaker in the webinar conveyed the theme “Utilization of Herbal Medicines in Semarang City”. Abdul Hakam said people with mild symptoms could be recovered on average 14 days.

“For those with moderate symptoms, they are treated at a referral hospital, when the Covid-19 case rises, there are 20 referral hospitals in Semarang City. Meanwhile, the patients with critical symptoms must be treated in the ICU at a referral hospital. The treatment of Covid-19 patients is in accordance with medical procedures, such as infusions, antibiotics, medicines according to the patients’ symptoms and others. Non-medical treatments such as sunbathing and talking sessions with psychologists, as well as other activities are suggested to support the recovery of patients so they don’t suffer from severe depression,” he explained.

The use of herbal medicines, he said, was used for Covid-19 patients who were being treated at the Semarang Mayor’s Official Residence. However, the use is given according to the composition and the existing rules in the field of health. The herbal remedies include Indian wood, bitter leaf, papaya, and moringa leaves.

Dr. Neni Susilaningsih, M.Sc., from the Faculty of Medicine Undip who delivered the material “Utilization of Indonesian Herbal Medicine and Herbal Plants in the Midst of Covid-19 Pandemic” explained that the use of herbal medicine and herbal plants for generations is believed to improve people’s health condition, so it has the potential to be developed. Currently, a lot of research has been done on herbs, including standardization of materials, pre-clinical tests and clinical trials for scientific evidence of the use of herbs as standardized herbal medicines and phytopharmaca.

BPOM has also issued a book in 2020, about information about the usefulness and safety of traditional medicines and health supplements to maintain and improve the immune system. Types of herbs that are widely consumed are bitter plant, boiled ginger, black seed, and rhizome plants such as ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, cinnamon, and palm sugar, and curcuma.

Meanwhile, the President Director of PT Indofarma Tbk, Ir. Arief Pramuhanto, MBA, gave materials with the theme “The Role of the Herbal Industry in Facing the Problems of the Covid-19 Pandemic”. Arief said that the impact of Covid-19 had driven the trend of using herbal medicines. “The purchase and use of herbal medicines has increased, including in the form of herbal supplements. Many people are hunting for it as disease prevention,” he explained.

The last speaker in this webinar was Prof. Dr. Meiny Suzery, M.S., from the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Mathematics, Undip. Prof. Meiny presented the materials entitled “Development of Herbal Medicine: from Traditional to Modern”. “With the richness of biodiversity, it is hoped that herbal medicines can be the main star in their own country,” hoped Meiny.

For the time being, from medical studies there are herbal plants that are recognized to increase immunity in facing Covid-19 virus. Among them are bratawali, turmeric, ginger, and basil plants, curcuma, and many more. “For example, curcuma can prevent the replication of the Covid-19 virus, because it is inhibited by the compounds in curcuma.” (PR team)