The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has teamed up with Pascual Pharma Corporation (PPC) to work on developing herbal supplement components aimed at treating kidney stones and edema (swelling).

DOST Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. said in a press statement that the collaboration will focus on the production of a “standardized extract” to ensure uniform outcomes.

“Ensuring that herbal products meet consistent quality standards is crucial for the well-being of our communities. At DOST, we are committed to supporting initiatives that not only innovate but also directly impact people’s health for the better, ensuring that every Filipino has access to safe and effective healthcare solutions they can trust,” Solidum said.

Funded under DOST’s Business Innovation through S&T (BIST) Program, the project aims to develop a preclinical trial-ready and standardized Sambong leaf extract and develop a quantitative chemical profiling method that will be used for the quality control of the extract.

While clinical evidence already supports Sambong’s efficacy in treating edema and kidney stones, a key focus of this project is the standardization of Sambong extract, crucial for ensuring consistency, quality control, regulatory compliance, and clinical efficacy.

Led by Carmelo Briones, the project team is delving into the mechanisms by which Sambong influences urine production—a process known as diuresis—to identify the active ingredients responsible for Sambong’s diuretic properties.

By establishing stringent criteria for composition and potency, manufacturers can produce a more reliable product with predictable therapeutic effects. This not only instills confidence in healthcare professionals and patients but also streamlines the regulatory approval process, facilitating broader market acceptance.

With the introduction of bioactive standardized herbal medicine, the medical community will have complete information on possible drug interactions, benefiting patients with better pharmacological intervention. Further, the project could provide a natural alternative to conventional treatments for edema and kidney stones, by shedding light on how Sambong works, enabling healthcare professionals to better integrate it into patient care, ensuring safe and appropriate use.

Monitored by the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) under its Tuklas Lunas™ program, this research offers unique contributions through (1) increasing competitiveness of the Philippine Sambong industry; and (2) producing high-quality, standardized Sambong leaf extract as an active pharmaceutical ingredient.

“Collaboration between government agencies and private institutions is vital in driving initiatives that bring tangible benefits to the Filipino people. This partnership underscores the importance of harnessing both scientific expertise and industry innovation to address pressing healthcare needs,” according to Dr. Jaime Montoya, DOST-PCHRD Executive Director.