From our indigenous local flora, the DOST- Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) has developed personal care products useful in maintaining personal hygiene amid the COVID-19 outbreak.The antimicrobial liquid hand soaps were formulated using cinnamon (Cinnamomum mercadoi Vidal) and bamboo-activated carbon, with lavender and Manila elemi oil scents. The hand bar soaps, meanwhile, used bamboo charcoal (Bambusa sp), bamboo-activated carbon, sapang (Caesalpinia sappan L.) and tawa tawa (Euphorbia hirta L.), with eucalyptus oil scent.

“The results of DOST-FPRDI’s previous and on-going studies on bamboo charcoal and bamboo-activated carbon were useful in making these personal care products,” shared research team leader Dr. Jennifer P. Tamayo. “The bamboo-activated carbon helps remove microorganisms, such as germs, by absorbing them. While the Institute has yet to study sapang and tawa tawa thoroughly, available literature point to their antimicrobial properties,” she added.

Prior to mass production, the FPRDI-formulated hand and liquid soaps, and hand mists will undergo further bioassay testing to determine their germ removal efficiency.

The Institute also prepared antimicrobial hand mists for disinfecting hands in the absence of soap and water. The hand mists were made from cinnamon, a proven natural disinfectant, and infused with either lavender or Manila elemi oil scent. According to Tamayo, bioassay testing and sensory test are now being done to further study the products. DOST-FPRDI aims to partner with local bamboo-based companies to speed up the manufacture of these antimicrobial soaps.

“Maintaining personal hygiene, such as through washing and sanitizing of hands, is deemed an important step in preventing the spread of diseases. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in some areas of the country, DOST-FPRDI will look for more ways to help protect the public against this global pandemic,” said DOST-FPRDI Director Romulo T. Aggangan.

Aside from Tamayo, the research team includes Rebecca B. Lapuz, Rowena E. Ramos, Benjo S. Salvatierra, Rogelio O. Rantael Jr., Kim Wilmer B. Balagot, Kimberly B. Delica, Audel V. Mosteiro, Kristopher R. Breis and Alexis B. Dorado.