The initiative, which was announced in May this year, will ensure that 250 acres in the Seoni and Balaghat regions in Madhya Pradesh state, India, will be planted with more than 166,600 Indian kino trees, which is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
“We wanted to get a product out that was quite indigenous to India,” said Shaheen Majeed, president of Sabinsa Worldwide. He accepted the award during the Inaugural NutraIngredients-USA reception in Chicago last week.
“The people of India use this product for diabetes, and it was just not going to be there anymore if we started to farm this out and take this to the world,” he added.
Indian Kino has been used for millennia in South Asia’s Ayurvedic tradition as a medicine to control blood sugar by drinking a water extract of the plant, obtained either by soaking pieces of the wood in water overnight or using a tumbler carved from that wood filled with water.
Today, the plant is used in the herbal supplement industry for its compound pterostilbene, a chemical relative to resveratrol.
Sabinsa uses the plant to manufacture its branded pterostilbene ingredients Silbinol and Pterosol.
The company also invests in research on the plant’s effects on health, such as one animal study published this year that suggests it may work better than resveratrol for blood sugar management.
Working with the local government
“The project entailed quite a bit of lengthy discussions with government bureaucrats and some of the local forest people to make them really understand that this product is going to be endangered or soon to be endangered as a species, not just for India but for the world,” Majeed added.
Under the initiative the forest department of the state of Madhya Pradesh will provide land, while reforestation organization Madhya Pradesh Rajya Van Vikas Nigam Limited will manage cultivation and maintaining of the plants for at least five years.
“Other than the lengthy paper work and documentations, we talked individually with a lot of government officials, a lot of state officials, and made them understand the forest that they have access to can be utilized for better benefit for human health.”
Video and editing by Justin Howe.
More from the inaugural NutraIngredients-USA Awards
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