Benefits of the Gambir Plant and Its Processing Methods

Benefits of the Gambir Plant and Its Processing Methods

Gambir (Uncaria gambir (Hunter) Roxb.) is a plant that thrives in tropical regions. In Asian regions, the gambir plant is often utilized for its medicinal properties as an antidiarrheal and astringent agent. The parts of the gambir plant that are processed include its leaves and branches. Based on various research studies and experiences, there are numerous health benefits associated with gambir. Some examples of these benefits include treating diarrhea (from the leaves), stomach cramps, eczema, dysentery, gum inflammation (from its resin), sore throat, fever, and cough.

Health Benefits of Gambir

Gambir is a plant that produces natural antioxidants. These antioxidants function as free radical scavengers, protecting against various diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular issues, and premature aging. Free radicals are nearly unavoidable in our daily lives, originating from vehicle exhaust, smoking, and other pollutants. High stress levels and the addition of chemicals in daily consumed food and beverages can also contribute to the production of free radicals. Unfortunately, the utilization of gambir through extraction to counteract free radicals has not been fully optimized due to a lack of public knowledge about gambir extraction. Historically, gambir has been widely used in the leather tanning industry, betel chew formulations, raw material for candy production, dyeing agent in batik industries, and as a clarifying agent in water treatment. Gambir also shows great potential for extending the shelf life of food products. The antioxidant present in gambir is catechin, a bioactive compound believed to be more than just an antioxidant; it is considered a super-antioxidant. Catechin is thought to be effective in preventing various diseases, including heart disease, obesity, and is also beneficial in collagen formation. Generally, catechins are found in tea leaves, but gambir is reported to have a higher catechin content than tea leaves. On another note, LIPI (Indonesian Institute of Sciences) released information that antibacterials derived from catechins, specifically flavonoids, are usually used to treat diabetes and degenerative, non-communicable diseases. Additionally, the gambir plant is believed to have healing properties for burn wounds, scabies, diarrhea, and dysentery.

Processing Gambir Leaves into Extract

The process of obtaining gambir extract is time-consuming. According to Pambayun et al., one processing technique involves wet processing. Firstly, fresh gambir leaves are boiled in water with a ratio of 1:10 (weight/volume) until boiling. This condition is maintained for 20 minutes. Subsequently, the boiled leaves are pressed with a hydraulic press until no more liquid drips from the leaves. The extract from pressing is then allowed to settle for 24 hours. The formed sediment is collected and dried using an oven at a temperature of 45-50 °C. The next step is storing the gambir extract for further use. Another method involves dry processing. In this technique, gambir leaves are heated at 60 degrees Celsius for six hours. They are then ground into powder. The powdered gambir leaves are boiled for 30 minutes while stirring gently and then cooled. The filtered result is dried using a rotary vacuum evaporator, an instrument based on distillation principles. From these two processing methods, a higher catechin content is obtained through the wet processing method.

( – Kesehatan)

Kontributor: Auvry Abeyasa Penulis: Auvry Abeyasa Editor: Addi M Idhom

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