The 2022 Indonesian Nutrition Status Survey (SSGI) reported that the prevalence of stunting in Jember reached 34.9%, the highest in East Java. Pharmacologist Prof. Raymond R. Tjandrawinata provided education at the Education on Stunting Intervention for Midwives program in Jember Regency to accelerate the stunting reduction to 14% by 2024 on Friday, October 27, 2023.

Prof. Raymond Tjandrawinata, Executive Director of DLBS PT Dexa Medica, has emphasized the importance of using Indonesian indigenous raw materials for producing HerbaAsimor that improves the quantity and quality of breast milk. The ingredients of this medicine are katuk leaves, torbangun leaves, and snakehead fish derived from Indonesia.

Prof. Raymond added that Indonesia needs domestic drug production, as most of its medications are made from imported basic ingredients. However, the country has abundant raw materials sourced from its nature. These materials have immense potential for development. As a result, the team immediately took the initiative to research previously undeveloped natural materials.

According to Prof. Raymond, Dexa Medica does not produce herbal medication. Instead, the company is conducting research to develop Indonesia Indigenous Modern Medicine derived from natural resources found in Indonesia.

Prof. Raymond clarified that Dexa Medica collaborates with researchers, doctors, and hospitals to conduct studies involving human subjects. A product it has developed is HerbaAsimor – a breast milk booster. The team at Dexa Medica understands that many Indonesian mothers face challenges in producing sufficient and high-quality breast milk for their newborns. Therefore, they source healthy ingredients from Indonesia that can help enhance both the quantity and quality of breast milk.

HerbaAsimor is made from three natural Indonesian ingredients: torbangun leaves, katuk leaves, and snakehead fish. The three natural ingredients are a combination of galatonol and striatin, which allow the mother’s breast milk production to increase in volume while also improving in quality, especially for mothers who have recently given birth and still have wounds that cause the wounds to close quickly. As a result, this is an application of Indonesia’s natural biodiversity that will also produce effective medication.

Jember Natural Ingredients’ Potential

Prof. Raymond Tjandrawinata is open to the idea of using local natural materials from Jember. He believes that the locals of Jember have a better understanding of what makes Jember unique. Recently, Dexa Medica has been in talks with the University of Jember to develop a plan to utilize Jember’s biodiversity effectively. The company is collaborating with researchers from the Faculty of Pharmacy at Jember State University or Jember University to explore the possibilities. Prof. Raymond acknowledged that developing these natural materials would take time, but he hopes that one day they will launch the product.

Prof. Raymond also mentioned that Dexa Medica has produced Stimuno, whose raw materials are sourced from meniran in Banyuwangi. He believes that every region in Indonesia has the potential to provide high-quality raw materials for the production of Original Indonesian Modern Medicine. Prof. Raymond added that each region could contribute good raw materials, and in the future, they could also produce their own raw materials for this purpose.

Inspiring Figure

Prof. Raymond’s passion for using Indonesian nature for modern medicine began when he decided to return to Indonesia to serve as a scientist in the early 2000s. His decision to return to Indonesia came after a discussion with the Founder of Dexa Group, the late Mr. Rudy Soetikno. Mr. Rudy Soetikno, a pharmacist and soldier at the Sriwijaya Palembang Regional Military Command IV in the 1960s, was a visionary figure who greatly inspired Prof. Raymond. Mr. Rudy Soetikno had several visions for the country’s pharmaceutical progress, one of which was developing medicines from Indonesia’s natural resources.

Mr. Rudy Soetikno’s ideas greatly encouraged Prof. Raymond to develop research and discover new drugs derived from Indonesian natural ingredients at the Dexa Laboratories of Biomolecular Sciences (DLBS), also known as the Dexa Research House. The current research focuses on phytopharmaceutical natural medicines and standardized herbal medicines, known as Indonesia Indigenous Modern Medicine (OMAI). The name was given by the Minister of Research, Technology, and Higher Education / Head of the National Research and Innovation Agency, Prof. Bambang Brodjonegoro in 2019. More than 39 research studies related to OMAI have been carried out and patented both at Indonesia and abroad.

Competent Drug Researcher

Prof. Raymond’s strong passion in the field of research on drugs derived from Indonesian nature is backed by his scientific experience and professionalism as a researcher. He started his career in drug research from organic synthetic materials when he was studying the Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. Prof. Raymond is considered one of Indonesia’s pioneers in genetic engineering as he was among the first to study this field in the ’80s. During that time, engineering science in America was just developing, and in Indonesia, it had not yet been fully explored.

In 1991, Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford, a female astronaut from The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), invited Prof. Raymond to participate in the Spacelab Life Sciences (SLS 1) research project. The project was conducted on osteoporosis in astronauts in zero gravity aboard the space shuttle.

Since joining Dexa Group in 2005, Prof. Raymond Tjandrawinata and his team have focused on researching and developing medicines made from natural ingredients, commonly known as OMAI, at the Dexa Group research house, Dexa Laboratories of Biomolecular Sciences (DLBS). Prof. Raymond’s research at Dexa and Atma Jaya University is characterized by the use of various cutting-edge molecular pharmacology techniques, including genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, involving various “omics” systems.

Prof. Raymond is a highly productive researcher, having received 64 patents in Indonesia and abroad for his research. Due to his productivity, Prof. Raymond was ranked as the top scientist in the field of medicine and health for the Indonesian region out of the 100 world scientists. This assessment was given by The AD Scientific Index, a ranking and analysis system that evaluates the scientific performance and added value of each scientist’s scientific productivity.

The AD Scientific Index is a comprehensive assessment system that evaluates scientists at 3,514 universities in 186 countries based on their productivity and effectiveness over the past 5 years. Prof. Raymond’s productivity and effectiveness in the field of medicine and health led him to be ranked as the top scientist in the Indonesian region. As of 2022, he has published 187 scientific papers in both medical and non-medical journals.

In 2022, one of the journals related to OMAI will focus on the bioactive extract of Phaleria macrocarpa, also known as the God’s crown fruit. Prof. Raymond and his team conducted research on the Predimenol content found in the bioactive extract of Phaleria macrocarpa, which is useful for relieving pain, particularly for long-term use.

Prof. Raymond’s enthusiasm to develop Indonesia Indigenous Modern Medicine never wanes due to strong reasons. For decades, 90 percent of Indonesia’s medicinal raw materials have been dependent on imported ingredients, making it challenging to achieve pharmaceutical independence by relying on medicines made from chemical synthesis. However, he believes that there is significant potential to utilize Indonesia’s natural resources for pharmaceutical independence, particularly in the form of phytopharmaceuticals and standardized herbal medicines that have been scientifically tested. These medicines can be used in the national health system or JKN, which is why Prof. Raymond is committed to their development.