’Maori painkiller’ being grown in plantations

New Zealand’s native horopito plant is being grown in a commercial plantation as the market for its anti-fungal properties increases.

Forest Herbs Research has developed the only managed commercial plantation of 30,000 native kolorex horopito plants on the edge of the Kahurangi National Park in Golden Bay near the top of the South Island.

It is preparing a third piece of land to quadruple the number of mature plants by 2020 and is in talks with Chinese companies about seeking more distribution parthers there.

Forest Herbs will also launch a new hygiene product in a few weeks.

Forest Herbs Research has been conducting research and development for more than 20 years on the therapeutic effect with research organisations, universities, and distribution partners.

Effective after chemotherapy
Findings show horopito is an effective natural treatment against numerous fungal ailments including chronic intestinal candidiasis, vaginal thrush and athlete’s foot.

It is often suited to treatment of these conditions after chemotherapy triggers them, the company says.

The company highlighting its achievements on the occasion of the Natural Products NZ Summit held in Nelson last week where it was a joint winner of a Cawthron Institute Innovation in Science & Technology Award.

The judges noted the extensive research and clinical trials.

NZ Forest Herbs founder is Peter Butler, who is also involved in several other natural product companies including Bio Balance.

He developed a patent over the best method for extracting kolorex horopito.

Forest Herbs exports and licenses horopito products under its Kolorex brand to companies in Europe, USA and Australia, Dubai, Israel and South Africa.

The native plant has a history of medicinal use by Maori who bruised or steeped leaves in water to treat skin diseases and venereal diseases, or they were chewed to relieve toothache, and internal pain. It became known as the Maori painkiller.  

The variety, kolorex horopito, was found to have up to five times the potency of other horopito populations, and the Forest Herbs Research team spent years of further research and development to work out how to grow the plant sustainably.

Dr Amanda Wiggins, business development manager at Forest Herbs Research told NBR the research and development has been a core contributor to success.

The positive results of clinical trials on Kolorex give “enormous credibility” and attracted new business customers as a result, including a large multi-national pharmaceutical company that is now selling Kolorex® in South Africa.

Distributors are looking for products that are scientifically formulated, batch tested and carry supporting clinical data.

She says the natural personal care market is growing about 10% a year, with evidence of growing consumer awareness about synthetic chemicals in cosmetics and toiletries.

The natural products industry contributes earnings of more than $1.4 billion to New Zealand’s economy, she says.

More information about clinical trials can be found at here

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