Three IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry alumni and young researchers, Mak Kit Kay, Puvaneswari Marappan and Joe Jen Tan published a review article on ‘Lengkuas’/Galangin, a food ingredient widely consumed by Malaysians. The full article is published in the Journal of Functional Foods (Q1 journal with 3.47 impact factor published by Elsevier). Kit Kay first became acquainted with galangin while visiting a neighbor during Hari Raya. “I remember so vividly, the moment I stepped into their kitchen and I was greeted by a waft of sweet unexplored sense of smell. The kitchen was loud with wrinkling sound of aluminum foils and bubbling stew; and I felt myself being pulled towards that intoxicating smell. Then, there was nothing but the sound of my breathing and that vixen of an aroma. ‘Ayam masak lengkuas’ was the name of the dish.” “I later learnt that famous dishes made with it are chicken rendang, ‘sambal lengkuas goreng’ (fried galangin sambal paste), ‘ayam goreng lengkuas’ (galangin fried chicken) curry and many more. My grandparents then told me the perceived health benefits of it which made me to think of checking on the scientific validity of the perceived benefits. Therefore, together with my peers and with support from faculty, I searched the literature to find the scientific evidence for health benefits of lengkuas.” Not surprisingly, the scientific evidence clearly suggests that it is beneficial in the prevention of cancer as illustrated in the following picture.
The article published indicated that galangin has shown promising activities in the amelioration of inflammation, tumours, oxidative stress, arthritis, microbial infections, obesity, diabetes, neuronal damage, cardiovascular, liver and urinary bladder disorders. It is metabolically unstable and its efficacy in animal models is not well studied. As evidenced from the literature, galangin has great potential as functional food ingredient, provided further, animal and clinical investigations to be carried out to establish molecular mechanisms, pharmacokinetics, and safety profile. Speaking on the publication of this, Kit Kay said, “I would like to thank IMU School of Pharmacy for equipping me with necessary training and skills to write such a fantastic scientific review article that provides scientific evidence for the beliefs of general public.I am really proud to be an alumna of the BSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme.”