In the hands of UGM students, Suhartono, Retno Wulandari, and Yunita Praptiwi, the leaves of breadfruit (Artocarpus Altilis) are turned into herbal medicine to treat renal and heart diseases.
In Purwomartani village, Sleman regency, the three students turned the leaves into tea herbal drinks. Now they even market the product nationally to several areas in Indonesia.
Asked on how they started the business, “There are not many people making use of the breadfruit leaf, usually people use it for cattle feed. So, we tried to give an added value to it by making it into herbal tea that is beneficial for the health,” Suhartono said on Monday (6/2) to reporters at Fortakgama UGM room.
Suhartono searched for scientific reference and literature related to the use of breadfruit leaf. Based on Tjandrawati’s (LIPI) research, the leaf contains flavonoid, riboflavin, and sitosterol compounds that are beneficial to protect the heart against cardiovascular system damage.
“Apart from treating renal disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, the leaf can also reduce cholesterol and treat inflammation,” said the student of Computer Sciences UGM.
The making of this herbal tea is simple. The young leaves are picked and washed clean. Then, these are cut into pieces and dried under the sun for 3-4 days.
“Afterwards, the dried leaves are ground and baked before being made into tea bags,” he said.
Since starting the business in 2013, now they can produce up to 400-500 packs a month. They empower the local housewives for doing all the tea making.
"The turnover of the tea bags ranges between Rp8 - Rp10 millions per month,” he said.
Starting a new business is not easy, moreover that the three of them are newbies. In the beginning it was difficult for them to promote the product, selling it at pharmacists. Other ways were also tried to promote the product, but still no good results. Then they tried to turn to online business and agency system which turned out to be effective. The tea product has now been certified by Sleman Health Agency and Indonesian Ulemas Council.
Retno said the breadfruit leaf herbal drinks did not use colourings nor preservatives and consummable for anyone, even children. You only need to brew the tea bag for 4-5 minutes in hot water until the water turns greenish brown.