In this Millenium era, people become more prone to get depressed. Many factors contribute to the increasing level of depression such as work and study pressure, loss of loved ones, economic reasons, and many more. Depression is a common mental disorder characterized by depressed moods, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration. Moreover, depression often comes with symptoms of anxiety. These problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual’s ability to take care of his or her everyday responsibilities. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.
Seeing this condition, five students from Agriculture Faculty, Udayana University, Luh Putu Sugiari, Nevy Widya Pangestika, Ni Made Adhya Nididhya Sani, Fadel Alkahfi, and I Nyoman Wahyu Ardianta took initiative to find the natural solution using biowaste around them to cure depression because nowadays society views depression negatively. On November 22nd, 2019, they shared their experience with their research with Act Global members.
Being agriculture students, they have seen many weeds in their experimental station, then they started to do their literature study. They found that purslane weed (Portulaca oleraceae) contains omega-3 fatty acid that helps to reduce cortisol (stress hormone). As of another biowaste that they used, they use the biowaste of sumping (Balinese local food) biowaste. Sumping is Balinese local food from a yellow pumpkin. The yellow pumpkin seed is generally thrown away. They found that yellow pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata Duschesne) seed contains amino acid tryptophan that helps to increase serotonin level in the brain, serotonin is known as the happy hormone. They use their research to join an invention competition.
They started their literature study in December 2018 and did their experiment in February 2019. The experimental design used was a Completely Randomized Design (CRD) with 5 (five) treatments, P 0: control/given only water; P 1: supplement/antidepressant drugs on the market with a prescription (amitriptyline); P 2: extract pumpkin seeds; P 3: extract purslane; P 4: combination of extract pumpkin seeds and purslane. Each treatment was repeated 5 (five) times, for a total of 25 research objects. The research indicator is the level of depression in the rats. Decreased motor activity from the rats indicates a higher depression rate. The combination of yellow pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata Duchesne) seed extract and purslane weed (Portulaca oleracea) extract has the potential to be an antidepressant supplement that is 6.6 times more effective against the negative control, and 2.2 times more effective against the positive control. Compared to the pretest, overall effectiveness increased by 5.1%.
This invention competition is held by WIIPA (World Invention Intellectual Property Association), but they have to pass the selection from INNOPA (Indonesian Invention and Innovation Promotion and Association). INNOPA is a non-profit national organization that accommodates the potential of Indonesian researchers and inventors.
The competition took place in Tokyo Bay Ariake Washington Hotel, Tokyo, Japan on 15-17 June 2019. They have been awarded the Silver Medal for their invention of natural antidepressants.