Lagundi: Anti-cough and anti-asthma medicine
University of the Philippine Diliman
University of the Philippines Manila
University of the Philippines Los Baños
Ateneo De Manila University
The prevalence of common respiratory infections causes a burden to millions of people worldwide. Most children acquire multiple respiratory infections during their early years, while asthma remains to be the most common chronic respiratory conditions even for adults. As healthcare remains inaccessible and unaffordable in the Philippines, Filipinos, especially those residing in rural areas, resort to relying on inexpensive alternative sources of treatments such as traditional medicines.
The problem, however, is that some traditional medicines, if not ineffective, were found toxic, have side-effects, and may cause more serious complications (e.g. kidney disease, hypertension and cancer). Hence, there is a strong need to validate the efficacy of herbal medications and develop safe and low-cost drugs that are efficient in treating common respiratory infections.
A team of researchers from the University of the Philippines, with support from PCHRD, formulated a lagundi-based drug which can effectively ease the symptoms of respiratory infections specifically cough and asthma. It is in syrup and tablet forms and is good for both children and adults.
The drug is a product of multiple scientific studies and clinical trials as part of the National Integrated Research Program on Medicinal Plants (NIRPROMP). Lagundi formulation was proven to be effective in preventing the spread of disease-causing microorganisms, reducing fever, decreasing the viscosity of mucus, improving the color of phlegm, alleviating shortness of breath and wheezing, and lessening the frequency of cough. “Lagundi” is a common term for Vitex negundo L., which is traditionally used to treat insect and snake bites, ulcers, rheumatism, sore throat, cough, fever, and clogged sinuses. This plant is common and widely distributed in the country.
Status of the Technology
Lagundi has become one of the most established and widely used herbal drugs for cough in the country through the various measures taken to promote research and development of traditional medicine. The lagundi-based medication was first licensed by PCHRD to three pharmaceutical companies in 1995 namely, Pascual Laboratories, Inc., Gruppo Medica, Inc. and Natrapharm, Inc.
The technology has been fully commercialized since 1997 by Pascual Laboratories, which released lagundi in the market under the brand name Ascof Lagundi. In accordance with the Technology Transfer Act of 2009, PCHRD then transferred the entitlement of the technology to UP Manila on behalf of the National Integrated Research Program on Medicinal Plants (NIRPROMP) in 2012.
Several other companies followed as licensees and released lagundi under different brand names, such as Plemex, RiteMed, Lagundex, and Astrol, among others.
Lourdes Marie S. Tejero, RN, MAN, MTM, PhD
Director, Technology Transfer and Business Development Office
University of the Philippines-Manila
Written by Erikka Armyn Cagatan
Published: 09 June 2020