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Raising the bar for local herbal supplements

Business MirrorTHERE was a time when all you needed to cure an illness was pick some herbs and leaves from your garden. You either boiled it into a tonic or ground it into a poultice to soothe the pain or cleanse a wound. Everything was all natural; nothing was made synthetically. In a way, this is the reason behind Herbanext Inc., a 100 percent Filipino-owned company based in Bago City, Negros Occidental, that produces nature-based products that promote and maintain health.

GanodermaHerbanext president Philip Cruz says he hopes to raise the quality and efficacy of local food supplements, generate a new export industry that is environment-friendly and carbon-positive, and create a sustainable means of livelihood for marginalized communities in Negros through the organic farming of herbs.

The Philippines being home to 1,500 species of medicinal plants, of which 850 have been documented to being used traditionally and 120 have been validated scientifically for safety and efficiency, Cruz sees the business of health and food supplements to be the future for Filipino farmers and the local herbal industry.

The Kamantigue and the Noli

Philip S. Cruz

The Philippine medicinal herb kamantigue, also known as garden balsam, is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia belonging to the family Balsaminaceae (Touch-me-not family). There are several different varieties in terms of the color of the flower, with pink, white, lavender and red as being the most common. To the Spaniards, who made the Philippine islands a colony from 1521-1898, the plant is known as balsamina or madama. In 1753, famous Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus gave kamantigue its formal place in plant taxonomy with the scientific name Impatiens balsamina. The genus Impatiens is the Latin word for impatient, alluding to the explosive release of seeds when its ripe seed capsule is touched. It is said that this beautiful flowering herb was already commonly cultivated in the gardens of Europe by the 18th century, probably introduced from India, China, or the Philippines. A similar temperate species from Europe also named by Linnaeus, is called the Impatiens noli-tangere or Western touch-me-not. It is commonly with yellow flowers.

Impatiens balsamina

Impatiens balsamina

Impatiens noli-tangere

Impatiens noli-tangere

Herbanext Updates

NEGRENSE COMPANY BAGS SECOND PLACE AT IFEX

Herbanext Laboratories, Inc., a Negros-based company manufacturing health food products and herbal supplements under the Daily Apple brand won second place in the Trendy Awards at the 8th International Food Exhibition (IFEX) of the Department of Trade and Industry – Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions. Held from May 12 – 14, 2011 at the SMX, the IFEX is the country’s premier annual showcase of Philippine food and beverages. Competing among 22 nominees, Herbanext’s Sweet Roselle Chips impressed a panel of judges that included culinary greats and well-known celebrities such as Nancy Reyes-Lumen, editor in chief of leading culinary publication Cook Magazine; Glenda Barreto of Via Mare; Claude Tayag of Bale Dutung; Margarita Fores of CIBO; Ige Ramos, food writer and designer; Cecil Zamora-Van Straten, lifestyle columnist of the Philippine Star; Raul Virtudazo, news anchor of DZBB; and Nora Daza, national culinary icon.


Accepting the Trendy trophy at the awarding ceremony is Ms. Ruby Cruz, managing director of Daily Apple Store, distributor of Herbanext products, flanked by Ms. Rosvi Gaetos (left), Executive Director of CITEM, organizer of the IFEX, and Felicitas Agoncillo-Reyes BOI Director (right).

UST-RCNAS Researchers Tour Herbanext Facilities


Dr. Christina Binag and colleagues touring the Herbanext Herbarium

As part of the company’s thrust to actively engage with the academic community, Herbanext Laboratories last April 4-6, 2011 hosted an educational tour for researchers of the University of Santo Tomas Research Cluster for the Natural and Applied Sciences (UST-RCNAS). The group, a total of 43 scientists headed by Dr. Cristina Binag, were in Bacolod for their annual research meeting which was held at The Quiet Place Farm Resort where the Herbanext Research Farm is located. The researchers were given a special tour around the company’s herbarium and were allowed to taste a variety of interesting medicinal herbs such as the stevia, roselle, holy basil, gotu kola, and the king of bitters. The group visited the herb processing plant and toured the organic waste recycling area where earthworms and rabbits are being raised as part of the company’s zero waste management program. The researchers were also made to participate in a sensory evaluation test conducted by Food Technology students of UP Visayas for a new line of “herb cooler” products. The highlight of the educational tour was a Plant visit on the second day to the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bago City.

Research Opportunities for Fisheries and Aquaculture

Opportunities for fisheries and aquaculture research extends far and wide beyond food production and resource management. This was highlighted by Herbanext President Philip S. Cruz in a lecture entitled “Going Natural: Research Opportunities for Aquatic Products” delivered last March 4, 2011 at the University of the Philippines College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS). An alumnus of CFOS, Mr. Cruz discussed with professors, researchers, and students the huge global market for functional and organic foods, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, and eco-handicrafts, which to date the Philippine fisheries and aquaculture industry has yet to tap. While seafoods are generally considered healthy foods due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content, the market is now looking for even healthier aquatic products which offer greater health benefits and less of the health risks associated with chemical residues from intensive farming. Except for seaweeds, the Philippines exports very little aquaculture products making the industry largely unaware of new market opportunities.

Hydrolean Launching at Cam Sur

HYDROLEAN SLIMMING DRINK LAUNCHED IN CEBU CITY

Now Cebuanos can get even sexier and healthier! Hydrolean Slimming Drink was launched in Cebu City during the Health & Wellness Fair at SM Cebu last March 18, 2011. Hydrolean Slimming Drink is part of Daily Apple's Natural Weight Loss Line of products, which also includes Metatrim (Starch Blocker), Appetight (Appetite Suppresant) and Lipoblock (Fat Blocker). With these breakthrough products, Cebuanos can now stay fit the natural way!

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Daily Apple at Davao City
Daily Apple at Davao City

DAILY APPLE OPENS LATEST OUTLET IN DAVAO CITY

In response to the stronger demand for healthier food and nutraceutical products in Davao City, Daily Apple opened an outlet at the NCCC mall last March 20, 2011. Now Davaoneños can enjoy a wide array of healthy snacks, herbal teas and natural weight loss products at the new outlet inside the busy supermarket area of NCCC mall.*

Daily Apple at Davao CityDaily Apple at Davao City

Elixir for life grows in The Quiet Place

By WINNIE VELASQUEZ

In The Quiet Place, a vast agricultural land about 20 minutes drive from Bacolod City that is planted to rice and fruit trees, orchids and ornamentals are in full bloom the whole year round and a koi pond make the resort-spa developed by the Cruz family the perfect hideaway for those tired of life on the fast lane.

But the resort-spa that is becoming known for the massage done by hilots well-versed in traditional Filipino techniques is not the only reason why a visit to The Quiet Place is worth putting on one’s travel itinerary. The Ganoderma Lucidum, a mushroom widely considered in Asia as an elixir of life, grows in a corner of The Quiet Place.

A number of low, wooden structures house row upon row of Ganoderma Lucidum, the large brown mushrooms that have been highly valued all over Asia for 4,000 years for its medicinal properties. In Japan it is known as Reishi and in Korea as Yeongji, Lingzhi.

Harnessing nature’s healing power

WITH today’s increasing demand for natural, plant-based wellness products and alternative medications, one Filipino company is working for the validation of nature-based medicine by harnessing the healing power of nature with the combined wisdom of ancient Asian and Filipino curing techniques and advanced scientific methodologies.

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