Research started 17 years ago when we were approached by Kindai University regarding a small project to help turmeric growers and farmers in the southern territory of Kyushu, Japan.
These farmers have been growing so-called Spring Turmeric for many years Spring turmeric is Curcuma aromatica, which is known to have rich essential oils and is used for medicinal purpose in Chinese traditional medicine. (The most commonly known turmeric is Curcuma longa, with rich yellow curcumin. It is widely used as curry powder and as a coloring agent worldwide.)
These farmers grew Spring turmeric root for Chinese medicine, but the leaves were discarded as agriculture waste. We are asked for funding to see if spring turmeric leaves could be used for something helpful. Scientists lead by Professor Komai found spring turmeric leaves actually contained a unique property which inhibits the formation of pigment in human skin. As a result, we make and market a cosmetic created from the extract.
This association with Kindai University also encouraged us to support their research of other turmeric possibilities as there are some 150 different turmeric in Asia. During our research, we came across one unique turmeric with a beautiful pink and white flower. We brought back some sample leaves from this unknown turmeric for analysis. The leaves from what we called Japanese Turmeric have very unique properties. For example, they inhibit degradation of hyaluronic acid, the moisture and water retaining property in the skin; they induce cell proliferation which accelerates production of dermis and collagen. This extract has also been added to our cosmetic line.
As we continued to support the research project at Kindai University on Japanese turmeric, we
discovered that it is actually Curcuma longa variety but it that it only contains a trace amount of curcumin. What was more interesting is that Japanese turmeric has a very high amount of naturally occurring labdane type diterpenes in its root (rhizome). This is the only turmeric known to have rich enough labdane type diterpenes to be used for supplement. It is exclusively grown in Japan by us.
Further testing found that it has very potent anti-inflammatory agents. Once we had established its safety for humans, we entered the first open study with 30 volunteers at a Japanese hospital under ethical committee approval for osteoarthritis applications. This open study revealed that over 70% of the participants showed significant to very good improvement for their knee joints, back and hip and finger joints. Another 70 people participated in an open study. In total 3 clinics and hospitals participated with their patients improving over 70% of osteoarthritis sufferers showed significant and /or good improvement.
The property we found, labdane type diterpene from Japanese turmeric, Curcuma longa variety, has been patented in Japan: one for its extract form for ‘Inhibition of growth of the synovial membrane or synovial cells’ and another for White Turmeric dry powder containing ‘high concentration of labdane type diterpene’.
Our research and development continues.