Zembrin®, developed by HG&H Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd. (Bryanston, South Africa) and commercialized by P.L. Thomas & Co Inc. (Morristown, N.J.), received the 2013 Functional Ingredients magazine’ Editor's Choice Award for Most Sustainable Ingredient at the Engredea show in Anaheim, Calif., earlier this month. The South Africa–produced Zembrin is an extract of a cultivated elite selection of the indigenous plant Sceletium tortuosum, which for centuries has been used and traded by San hunter-gatherers and Khoi Khoi pastoralists for medicinal, social and spiritual purposes.
Zembrin has been sustainably developed for more than a decade and is the recipient of Africa's first "prior informed consent benefit-sharing agreement" with a South African indigenous community. The terms of this agreement state that 6 percent of all income from Zembrin will be shared with the San Council, which formally agreed to allocate 50 percent of their share with the villagers who provided input on plant selection and dosing that were pivotal to the initial research and development on Zembrin.
In addition, Zembrin has been granted the first ever export permit from the South African government, being in full compliance under the Biodiversity Act.
A growing body of evidence supports use of Zembrin for multiple benefits including cognitive function, focus, improved mood and reduced stress. The first of three clinical studies, published in the February issue of Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine is available online. The results demonstrate safety and tolerability of 8 and 25 mg doses of Zembrin in a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 37 healthy adults for three months. The study was conducted under the direction of Dr. Haylene Nell at the Tiervlei Trial Centre, Karl Bremer Hospital, Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Nell writes that in addition to both doses being well tolerated, "Unsolicited positive effects on well-being were noted in patient diaries by some participants taking extract Sceletium tortuosum (Zembrin®), including improved coping with stress and sleep."
To complement this safety study, two additional trials are being submitted for publication describing the positive benefits of Zembrin on cognitive function and stress reduction.