Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bornean 'tuhau' plant rises to prominence, thanks to Kadazandusun cousins

KOTA KINABALU: The use of the Bornean ‘tuhau’ plant as a key ingredient in a range of health, food and beauty products is gaining popularity among Malaysian entrepreneurs – and placing the highly-beneficial local herb in the spotlight.

Although commonly used as traditional food ingredient in Sabah, Kadazandusun cousins Deiseree Daniel Jambun and Marion St Joan Galid decided to take a different approach to tuhau and incorporated its extract into their ‘Love, Lusie’ beauty scrubs.

The move made them the first in the world to use the plant as a beauty product ingredient.

Scientifically known as etlingera coccinea, tuhau, or wild ginger, is endemic to Borneo. The plant is commonly found in the jungles of Sabah and Sarawak, and they are believed to be rich in antioxidants and antibacterial properties.

Deiseree, founder of Love, Lusie, said the idea of incorporating tuhau into beauty products came when she was eating pickled tuhau at her home in Kuala Lumpur last year.

“It came out of the blue and I texted my cousin (Marion), and the next thing we knew, we were already experimenting and distributing test products to our relatives and friends.

“It took us about three months to finally release them for sale in Aug last year. Since then, we have kept receiving positive feedback and orders," she said.

Their tuhau-infused beauty scrub is a certified hit with consumers, with marketgoers thronging the Love, Lusie booth at the Sunday market in Gaya Street here today. Customers could take their pick from scrubs for the body, face and lips.

The indigenous people of Sabah have, for generations, been using tuhau as a traditional remedy for stomach pains as well as wounds – apart from using it as a food ingredient.

For wounds, young tuhau shoots would be dipped in water and placed on the injured area.

"Post-partum women also use it to remove body odour.

“(Indigenous people) use tuhau as their primary plant for medicine, because they know it is effective.