Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes difficulty in breathing. Many asthmatic patients make a wheezing sound when they breathe due to blocked airways in the lungs, and usually require an inhaler to supply oxygen directly to the lungs to help them breathe easier.
Dr Nurul Asma Abdullah, a researcher and lecturer from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Dental Sciences, has developed a new capsule formulation from Tiger Milk Mushroom or its scientific name Lignosus Rhinocerus called BreatheEZi as a new treatment for the management of asthma.
“Tiger milk mushroom is very rare and it can only be found in the tropical forest of South East Asia. Fortunately I found a local company that cultivates this type of mushroom and this greatly aided my research as I do not need to go into the jungle to get it,” said Nurul Asma.
“BreatheEZi helps to reduce common asthma symptoms, minimize the usage of inhaler, reduce severity of asthmatic attack while promoting better respiratory health,” explained Nurul Asma.
She added that since BreatheEZi is a natural alternative for the management of asthma, it has several advantages in terms of commercialisation potential compared to the present modern medications in the market as it has less side effects, is cost-effective, easily available with the current cultivation technology and sustainably prepared.
“Asthma medications can be divided into preventers, controllers and rescuers. BreatheEZi acts as a preventer and controller but not a rescuer,” Nurul Asma said at a press conference to highlight this product that had won a gold medal during the recently concluded 25th International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition (ITEX) 2014 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
“USM submitted 20 products and inventions in 23 catagories for ITEX 2014, and 19 of them won gold medals, one silver medal and three special awards from recipients of gold. USM also obtained a silver medal for the best exhibition booth design category,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Dr. Muhamad Jantan who chaired the press conference.
According to Nurul Asma, BreatheEZi has good commercial value especially in the international market as asthma is a global health problem that is increasingly affecting the population of many developed and developing countries who are facing unhealthy air quality due to smog pollution.
“Research on BreatheEZi is ongoing and I hope that it can still be further improved. Since this research started two years ago, a total of RM230,000 has been spent including for human capital development,” added Nurul Asma.