Herbal and natural products are becoming popular as complementary and alternative medicines worldwide. According to a 2004 update on the health risks of herbal remedies in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, about one third of adults in the developed countries and more than 60% Asians use herbal and natural medicines for health promotion or treatment of various chronic diseases.
The World Health Organization also estimates that four billion people or 80% of the world’s population presently use herbal & natural medicine for some aspect of primary health care. Traditional or complementary medicine is very popular even in the West. In a recent survey, it was found that in Europe, 50% of the French and German use complementary medicine; in Belgium 84% of homeopathic treatments are carried out by medical doctors, 47% of medical doctors in the Netherlands practice some form of complementary therapy.
In 1990 more American people opted for alternative medicine (425 million USD) than primary care physicians (388 million USD). A recent survey reported that American adults using CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) increased from 34% in 1990 to 42% in 1997.
WHO defines herbal medicines as finished, labeled medicinal products that contain active ingredients from aerial or underground parts of plants, or other plant material, or combinations thereof, whether crude state or as other preparations.
In order to optimally research and develop the benefits of curcuma, for the third year in a row, SOHO Global Health worked together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Bogor Agriculture University (IPB) to research and develop the benefits of curcuma. This collaboration, which began in 2010, brings together stakeholders from Academia, Business, Government and Community (ABGC). Each party contributes according to their capability. In addition, ABGC also works together with farming groups or gabungan kelompok tani (Gapoktan) which are organized by Sukabumi Regency.
Underpinning the Seed to Patient initiative, SOHO Global Health has established a 12.5-hectare area in Nagrak, Sukabumi which is dedicated to curcuma (temulawak plantations. This program will involve the local farmers around the plantation area. SOHO Global Health will conduct research, plant nurseries, carry out training and establish demonstration plots on the core piece of land which is known as the Nucleus (Inti), while local farmers will be allocated plots of land known as Plasma that are located nearby, where they can grow the curcuma seeds and cultivation method learned from SOHO Global Health. The Inti-Plasma scheme is expected to fulfil all SOHO Global Health's curcuma needs in the future. At the start of 2013, the maiden planting of curcuma seeds was carried out.
A research and development center has also been constructed three called the SOHO Center for Excellence in Herbal Research. This center carries out R&D in collaboration with local partners such as IPB, Universitas Gajah Mada (UGM) and Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), as well as international partners such as the Australia and RSC Pharma.