Filipino scientists developed all-natural personal care products from local forest resources

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

Capitalizing on the vastness of our local forest resources in the country, the DOST- Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) has developed personal care products to prove Filipino ingenuity and innovation.

These antimicrobial liquid hand soaps were formulated using cinnamon (Cinnamomum mercadoi Vidal), bamboo-activated carbon, with lavender and Manila elemi oil scents. The hand bar soaps, meanwhile, used bamboo charcoal (Bambusa sp), bamboo-activated carbon, sapang (Caesalpinia sappan L.) and tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta L.), with eucalyptus oil scent.

The research and development team under the tutelage of Dr. Jennifer P. Tamayo proudly shared these exciting products they came up with.

“The results of DOST-FPRDI’s previous and on-going studies on bamboo charcoal and bamboo-activated carbon were useful in making these personal care products,” Dr. Tamayo said.

“The bamboo-activated carbon helps remove microorganisms, such as germs, by absorbing them. While the Institute has yet to study sapang and tawa tawa thoroughly, available literature points to their antimicrobial properties,” she added.

The Institute also prepared antimicrobial hand mists for disinfecting hands in the absence of soap and water. The hand mists were made from cinnamon, a proven natural disinfectant, and infused with either lavender or Manila elemi oil scent.

According to Dr. Tamayo, bioassay testing and sensory test are now being done to further study the products. DOST-FPRDI aims to partner with local bamboo-based companies to speed up the manufacture of these antimicrobial soaps.

Meanwhile, DOST-FPRDI Director Romulo T. Aggangan said, “While we have developed these products, a proudly Philippine-made, and made by the Filipinos, we should not forget that maintaining personal hygiene, such as through washing and sanitizing of hands, is deemed an important step in preventing the spread of diseases. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in some areas of the country, DOST-FPRDI will look for more ways to help protect the public against this global pandemic.”

Aside from Tamayo, the research team includes Rebecca B. Lapuz, Rowena E. Ramos, Benjo S. Salvatierra, Rogelio O. Rantael Jr., Kim Wilmer B. Balagot, Kimberly B. Delica, Audel V. Mosteiro, Kristopher R. Breis and Alexis B. Dorado.