Scientists in Thailand have developed a new herbal extract that they claim could rival the ubiquitous tea tree oil in cosmetics.
The extract comes from Plai, or zingiber cassumunar, which has been used as in Thailand for more than 100 years to reduce swelling andpain.
Chemists from five universities and six herbal companies developed the extract, called Plaitanoids, from plai plants and plai rhizomes, according to the report in the Bangkok Post. As essential oil or powder, it could be used as a raw material in products ranging from toothpaste and shampoo to massage oils and essential oils for spas, said Supachai Lorlowhakarn, director of the Innovation DevelopmentFund of the Science and Technology Ministry.
The project was based on nearly 40 plai research papers published inboth Thailand and internationally. Supachai said that the project had received strong interest from outside markets.
''The Global Strategy based in the United States has approached us aboutmarketing products produced with Plaitanoids,'' Supachai told the paper.
Companies involved in the project include Kovic Kate International (Thailand), Acetic Clinic Co, Twin Lotus Co, Herbal Innovation Co, Middle Way One World 2003 Co and Adinop. Each is expected to generate 20-30 million baht a year from products that use the the extract.
The researchers are also planning another study aimed at developing painkiller and anti-inflammatory pills.