Snakefruit (salak)is a plant mostly found in tropical countries, including Indonesia. Snakefruit has benefits for the body which includes improving immunity. It is rich in polyphenols and flavonoids that are anti-cancerous and able to activate immune response.
“Flavonoid is known to increase proliferation activity of lymphocyte invitro, thus potential for imunomodulator agent,” said Nurwachid Arbangi, student of Faculty of Medicine Universitas Gadjah Mada when met on Thursday (21/1) on campus.
Along with fellows students from the Faculty (Shahylananda Tito Yuwono, Danang Aryo Pinuji, Farah Uma Mauhibah, and Dery Rahman Ahad), Nurwachid did a research to know the effect of salak extracts to macrophage activity (immune cells). They are guided by Prof. Dr. Mae Sri Hartati Wahyuningsih, M.Si., Apt.
They used the salak pondoh (Salacca zalacca) from farmers in Turi area of Sleman regency. The fruit is made into extract, using ethanol as solvent. As much as 4 kg of the fruit can produce 219 grams of extract.
Testing is done on macrophage cells of 16 mice. After the extract is tested on the macrophage , it showed that it can increase immunity after the mice have previously been bacteria-infected.
“Of the observation and analysis of phagocytosis activity of macrophage and Nitric Oxide production in the mice, it is known that the snakefruit extract can improve immune system,” said the man from Kebumen.
Shahylananda added that of thephagocytic testing, macrophage is proved to be able to increase immunity, while Nitric Oxide testing proved the snakefruit extract intake can increase immunity in high dosage, while low dosage will decrease immunity.
“We give a dosage of snakefruit extract in three concentrates, which are 25 µg/ml, 50 µg/ml, and 100 µ/ml. The most optimal result is seen in the highest concentrate, which is 100 µ/ml,” she said.
Shahylananda mentioned the research at this stage is a preliminary one; it is not yet tested on animal or human. Other pre-clinical tests such as pharmacological, toxicity tests, etc., are still required.
“Of this in vitro test, the benefits of snakefruit is known to modulate immune system, but it still requires further researches,” she explained.
They hope the snakefruit will be able to serve as alternative to immunity system improvement medication. The abundance supplies of snakefruit are expected to be able to reduce dependance on imported drugs.
“We hope this can serve as an alternative which is cheap and easy to use for Indonesian people,” she concluded.