UPM Announces Ulasimang Bato Licensing

Ulasimang Bato, a medicinal plant used by generations of Filipinos to treat painful joints caused by hyperuricemia (high uric acid in the blood) is now a patented herbal formula up for licensing to pharmaceutical companies.

The Letters Patent for Ulasimang Bato (popularly known as pansit-pansitan) was granted in February 2019 by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).

This news was announced on 11 February 2019 by the National Integrated Research Program on Medicinal Plants (NIRPROMP) of UP Manila during the a technology presentation held at the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care in Quezon City.

Representatives from pharmaceutical companies and toll manufacturers, namely, Azarias Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Bauch Philippine Laboratories, Greenext LifeScience Corporation, Innogen Pharmaceutical Company, La Croesus Pharma Incorporated, Nattural Quality Corporation, New Marketlink Pharmaceutical Corporation, Pharmacare Products Company, Pascual Laboratories Incorporated, RiteMed Philippines Inc., and Trevenodd Corporation, graced the event.

NIRPROMP, composed of faculty researchers from UP Los Baños, UP Manila, and UP Diliman, is credited with technologies generated from researches on several medicinal plants that started in 1977.  The most popular are lagundi and sambong which are cures for cough, colds and other common ailments. At their peak levels, the two herbal plants acquired 24 licenses for eight different kinds of herbal technologies that were first commercialized in 1997.

UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla, in a message read by Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Armando Crisostomo, cited the academe-industry-government collaboration as the best way to translate scientific innovation and as a continuation of championing the use of safe and effective locally developed herbal medicines to improve the people’s access to quality health care. PITAHC Director General Dr. Annabelle Pabiona-De Guzman presented the organization’s mandate and activities, future plans, and its contributions to the research and development activities of NIRPROMP.

During the presentation, NIRPROMP Head Dr. Nelia Cortes-Maramba explained how hyperuricemia develops in a person through an unhealthy diet or the inability of the body to get rid of natural waste products fast enough. This situation leads to gout as well as an acidic blood and urine. According to the Philippine Rheumatology Association, gout affects more than 1.6 million Filipinos and is steadily rising due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Doctors usually prescribe   medicines like Allopurinol or Febuxostat but most local folks use ulasimang bato for its analgesic, anti-gout, and diuretic activity. This common herb can be eaten raw, cooked with vegetables and meat, prepared as tea, or formed into a poultice for topical application over skin wounds and inflammation.

But ulasimang bato cannot just be planted and eaten. Dr. Maramba emphasized that the effective kind of the plant must be grown in sites where air, soil, and water are free from pesticide residues, toxic heavy metals that exceed specified amounts, toxic organisms, aflatoxins, and a microbial population that exceeds 100,000 colony forming units per gram.

She mentioned other requirements, such as proper propagation and establishment, crop maintenance, and harvesting and cleaning. Since sites with these qualifications are not often possible, a manufactured leaf tablet version is the best answer.

Clinical trials were held to compare Ulasimang Bato tablet (80mg/kg/day) with Allopurinol. Tests showed that both are efficacious in reducing serum uric acid (SUA) levels among hyperuricemic patients. Both are tasteless, have pleasant odor, and easy to swallow. However, in Clinical Trial 3, some patients treated with Allopurinol suffered adverse effects, such as nausea, gastric pain, dizziness, rashes, etc. while none were experienced by the herbal tablet group.

In terms of cost, the leaf tablet will be much cheaper than Allopurinol when sold in the market. 

For pharmaceutical companies interested in applying for licensing of the patented technology, please contact UPM-TTBDO, 3105727 or 3105731 or send an email to ttbdo@post.upm.edu.ph.


Written by: Fedelynn M. Jemena