By Muhammad Zulhaziq Ismail
PORT KLANG (Bernama) – Three Year Five pupils and three teachers of a primary school here are making strides towards commercialising an award-winning innovation of theirs – a herbal concoction that they have named Idaman Tea.
Consisting of powdered guava leaf (95 percent) and mint leaf (five percent) and packed in sachets made of pineapple fibre, Idaman Tea is free of chemicals and preservatives and is said to provide relief for diarrhoea.
It also contains lycopene, a plant nutrient with antioxidant properties, and may reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar levels.
Its innovators are from Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampung Idaman here, and they comprise 11-year-olds Mohamad Khairy Faris Afandey, Nidal Eiman Erwin and Muhammad Aqil Yahya, and their teachers Danial Heryanto Zainal Abidin, 42, Mohd Norhizal Ramlee, 40, and Shahrizal Mohd Azain, 37.
In February this year, their product won international recognition when it grabbed the gold medal in the school students category at the International Intellectual Property, Invention, Innovation and Technology Exposition 2020 in Bangkok, organised by the National Research Council of Thailand under the patronage of the International Federation of Inventors Associations.
Theirs was also the only team from Malaysia to take home the International I-New Gen Award. About 300 teams from Malaysia took part in various categories at the event, which attracted about 2,000 teams from 14 countries.
Team leader Danial Heryanto said they are now in the process of registering Idaman Tea with Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO).
“We hope to commercialise our product this year,” he told Bernama, adding that Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and the Selangor branch of Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (MPIB) would help them in their marketing efforts.
Danial Heryanto said the idea of producing the herbal tea was mooted by his colleague Mohd Norhizal who suggested that they do some research on traditional remedies recommended by the older generation who made use of natural resources to cure their ailments.
Noting that people these days are beginning to lean towards the use of natural products, the team decided to pursue Mohd Norhizal's idea and experimented with the leaves of various plants to study their curative properties.
“At first, we used only guava leaves to make the tea but were not able to reach a level of innovation that would attain international recognition.
“After putting in more research, we decided to combine guava leaves with the nutritional benefits of mint leaves. We sun-dried the leaves and powdered them and then packed the powder into sachets made of pineapple fibre. Thus, we came up with a 100 percent natural product that can relieve diarrhoea and has other health benefits as well,” he explained.
Mohd Norhizal, meanwhile, said they have been working on the herbal tea idea since February last year and that the three students in the team were also deeply involved in the process.
“We encouraged them to contribute their ideas and understand the production process. We are proud of these 11-year-old pupils as they were able to generate ideas for the innovation based on the knowledge and skills they have,” he said.
He said there were also suggestions from the boys to combine guava leaves with pandan and use corn or sugarcane fibre to make the sachets.
Mohd Norhizal also praised the three students for their professional presentation of the product to the jury and guests at the international expo in Bangkok.
“It was the first time they were participating in such an event and they had to present their product in English which they did with full confidence. It’s obvious they have a deep interest in the field of inventions and science,” he added.
It took the team six months to prepare the final product, Idaman Tea, as it had to go through various processes to ensure the efficacy of the ingredients.
Mohd Norhizal said the team collaborated with UiTM, MPIB and the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) in the process to turn their innovative idea into an actual product.
They tested and finalised the product’s ratio of ingredients and preparation at UiTM Shah Alam Faculty of Engineering’s laboratory, while they tested its safety and efficacy at MARDI.
Team member Nidal Eiman said he and his two schoolmates felt happy and proud to have been given the opportunity to participate in an international innovation competition.
“In our efforts to make a product that met international standards, we conducted various studies with our teachers. This process exposed us to more knowledge in the area of science and invention,” he said.
He said the experience of testing their innovation in a full-fledged laboratory motivated them to continue exploring the field of innovations.
“I never expected our team to win the gold medal as we were competing against students from secondary schools and elite schools from various countries.
“I’m now hoping to see the commercialisation of our Idaman Tea product,” he added.
Translated by Rema Nambiar
Malaysia National News Agency
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