Formulation Of Some Palm Oil Products For Medicinal And Pharmaceutical Uses


Ch' ng Hung Seng, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences Universiti Sains Malaysia Minden, 11800 Penang Malaysia


Trends in Traditional Medicine Research, Proceedings of the International Conference on the Use of Traditional Medicine & Other Natural Products in Health Care




Palm stearin, ointment base, percutaneous absorption, suppository base, ß-carotene extraction, anti-bacterial property.


Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is Malaysia's third most extensively cultivated crop after rubber and rice. In addition to palm oil, Malaysia is also the largest exporter of palm kernel oil in the world. Research into the medical and pharmaceutical uses of palm oil was initiated in 1978 and since then, the research has firmly established. Many aspects of the medical and pharmaceutical uses of palm oil were investigated resulting in the formulation of several commercializable products. ß -Carotene concentrate extracted from crude palm oil was solubilised with tween 80 into a water miscible and stable product.   This product can be mixed with any aqueous preparations to provide a source of vitamin A.   Palm oil consists of mainly fatty acids with carbon chain ranging from C12 to C18  in triglyceride forms.   It also contains reasonable amount of essential fatty acids such as linoleic (6.6-11.9 %) and linolenic acids (0-0.5 %).  Hence, it is suitable for formulation into a fat emulsion for parenteral nutrition.   Stable 10% and 20% emulsions of purified palm oil were formulated with lecithin as an emulgent.   Fractionated, bleached palm stearin was used as ointment and suppository bases for the studies of percutaneous and rectum absorptions of several drugs.  The results indicated that palm stearin provided greater percutaneous absorptioas for salicylic acid and benzocaine when compared with aqueous cream, wool alcohol ointment and white soft paraffin.  As a suppository base, it gave better releases of salicylic acid and sulfathiazole when compared with cocoa butter, kempas and witepsol bases. The above results have shown that palm oil is not only suitable as an edible oil but can be used for many medical and pharmaceutical applications.