With commercialization ofherbal medicine going on, there is a need for the quality, safety and efficacyof medicinal plants. Maintaining the reproducible efficacy and safety ofpharmaceuticals require proper standardization of herbal drugs and their qualitydetermination.(Bauer et al; 1993).Theraw material obtained from the herbs is prone to a lot of variations such asplant identity, many seasonal changes, genotypic and chemotypic variations,drying and storage conditions.
( Dixit etal; 2008). Standardization ensures a reasonable consistence productachieved through various parameters such as quality of herbal drugs, naming theherbal plants correctly i.e.
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proper identification of the plant species,pharmacognostic evaluation, quantification of active compounds such as totalphenolics, total flavonoids, tannins, saponins, alkaloids etc. (Calixto et al; 2000), identification of chemicalconstituents by chromatographic techniques. (Patel et al; 2006).
Authentication is done by- stage of plant collection (juvenile,flowering or fruiting stage), parts of the plant collected (leaves, roots,stems, barks, fruits etc.), its regional status, botanical identification withmicroscopic and histological analysis (cell wall’s characteristics, contents ofthe cells i.e. starch grains, trichomes, calcium oxalate crystals, fibres etc.(Shrikumar et al.,2006). Physical andchemical parameters are also included along with chromatographic analysis ofthe active constituents such as TLC, HPLC, UV, GC-MS etc.
Herbal drugs can beevaluated through study of anti-oxidant activity, radical scavenging activity,microbial contamination reduction, and many more. (Yadav et al.,2011)A large number of herbaldrugs failed the clinical trials in the laboratory and have been reported forthe cases of intoxication leading to adverse affects such as many allergicreactions, breathing problems, effects on the central nervous system, convulsions,problems related to heart and blood pressure. There is a need for properstandardization to ensure that every amount of herbal drug which is being used alsoincludes its therapeutic effect. (Chaudhary, 1992).
Consistency of the qualityof herbal drug can be checked by the requisite control on the quality of herbalplants. The plants which are wild tend to show more number of variations intheir qualities. With the rise in demand of herbal products, cultivation ofsuch plants needs to be encouraged. For meeting the increased demand of good qualitiesof herbal products, WHO (1991) released several guidelines for medicinal plantson Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP). In 1992, WHO issued”Guidelines for quality control methods for medicinal plants” The objective wasto develop various procedures for the correct identification and botanicalevaluation of medicinal plants which are tremendously used in home remedies.(WHO, 1998).
In September 2005, WHO Interregional Training Workshop on GACP andGMP for Herbal Medicines was held in China. Guidelines were also drafted forthe selection of substances for quality control of herbal medicines (issuesdiscussed in 2004 and 2005 at two WHO working group meetings.) Various standardmonographs on medicinal plants have been issued and published by UK,German-E-Commission, USA, Japanese Pharmacopoeia, ESCOP and the most number ofmonographs are given in Chinese Pharmacopeia. (Yadav and Dixit, 2014).India offers free choicefor the exploration of several new advancements in the traditionally usedmedicinal plants.
(Patwardhan, 2000). Faith in the herbal medicine has led tothe growth of recognition of more number of medicinal plants. (Kala, 2005).Interdependence on the plants for medicinal purposes in the growing vastsectors and industries is at a high phase for the extraction and production ofplant-based drugs, for obtaining chemotherapeutics from such plants and fromthe plant-based remedies used traditionally. (Unesco, 1998). Medicinal plantsare source of obtaining drugs and more number of plants must be explored andinvestigated for understanding their medicinal properties, safer use andefficiency. (Nascimento et al.
, 2000). Advancements related to chromatography,extraction, screening and selection of natural active compound, many hyphenatedtechniques and the use of biotechnological tools demand the profoundinformation and knowledge of pharmacognosy. (Shinde and Dhalwal, 2007). A largenumber of techniques are being approached for the preparation of herbal drugsand the network of pharmacognosy has advanced due to increase in the demand ofmedicinal plants for cure of remedies. The relation of cell and molecularbiology with the plant based-products, field of ethanobotany along with phytotherapyin the research areas of pharmacognosy haveexpanded which has seen the use of more number of analytical parameters andmethods and phytochemistry. ( Cooper, 2004).