Medicinal plants remain the main source of medicines for a large proportion of global population particularly in the developing world. In India the raw material for herbal medicinal products is mostly procured from wild sources, there is every possibility of vast variation of chemical constituents in the material collected from different geographical sources. There is also a possibility of deliberate adulteration and substitution in the genuine raw material. In such a scenario the proper quality control of the herbal raw material as well as the finished products become essential. Moreover, the quality of raw materials used in the herbal drugs assumes special significance particularly in context of conducting experimental studies, clinical trials and their therapeutic value.
The Medicinal Plants Unit of the Indian Council of Medical Research took initiatives for developing Quality Standards of Medicinal Plants for more widely used raw materials involving laboratories of reputed institutes in the country to generate requisite data as per prescribed format for preparing monographs. Each monograph is titled with botanical nomenclature and incorporates diagnostic macro- and microscopic features, phytochemical constitutents, identification by chromatographic fingerprints (TLC/GLC/HPLC), quantitative determination of the phytochemical marker using reference marker compound, information on pharmacological, clinical, toxicological aspects, dose, adulterants/ substitutes etc.
The present 10 volume in the series contains quality standards of 35 medicinal plants. The monographs are outcome of the ICMR programme carried out at Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, Maharashtra; Captain Srinivasa Murti Drug Research Institute for Ayurveda, Chennai, Tamil Nadu; Centre for Medicinal Plants Research, Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakkal, Kerala and L. M. College of Pharmacy, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
As with the earlier nine volumes published, the tenth volume in the series is also expected to be well received and useful to the herbal drug industry, practitioners of Indigenous system of Medicine. academicians, researchers and health professionals including regulatory authorities.
Preparation of the Eleventh volume in the series is in progress.
The global interest in Medicinal Plants and the fast expanding world market during the last two decades have necessitated quality ensured herbal drugs. An increase in the incidence of toxicity reported due to indiscriminate use, deliberate or undeliberate adulteration/ substitution and presence of contaminants in herbal preparations available over the counter and as food supplements make it important to ensure their quality, safety and efficacy. Quality standards of the Indian Medicinal Plants are necessary for the drugs and formulations produced from them to be of adequate quality, safety and efficacy for their wider acceptance and patients interest.
In response to this need, the Indian Council of Medical Research took initiative in the year 2001 to lay down quality standards of important Medicinal Plants as per WHO guidelines. The endeavour yielded very fruitful results evidenced by the publication of 9 volumes of Quality Standards of Indian Medicinal Plants containing 309 monographs. Under this continuing programme, this tenth volume on Quality Standards of another 35 Indian Medicinal Plants is being published.
Despite certain limitations that these standards may have, it is a step towards improving the quality of finished products. Better quality would inevitably help in raising the acceptance of Indian plant based health care products. These quality standards will be of great help to all those engaged in developing various quality products from Indian Medicinal Plants.
I deeply appreciate the efforts of the chairman and the members of the various committees. viz., Scientific Advisory Group, the Task Force and the Technical Review Committee as also the important role played by the investigators and the collaborative Research Institutions who have contributed to the significant task of developing quality standards.
Lack of quality standards of the raw material has been one of the major lacuna in the wider acceptance of plant based drugs. Medicinal Plants Unit of the Indian Council of Medical Research has initiated a programme for the preparation of quality standards for herbal raw materials involving several research institutes of Country to address this problem. This programme has resulted in publication of five volumes on "Quality Standards of Indian Medicinal Plants" covering 170 plants. The present volume is 6 in this series and contain monographs on 35 plants.
The following major guidelines have been adopted in evolving the standards and preparation of the monographs.
The raw material of the plants is procured from the field, from at least three geographical locations and authenticated. The samples are worked out for their pharmacognostic and phytochemical features through experiments while the information on the distribution of the plants, vernacular names, chemical constituents. pharmacological activity, safety aspects, clinical studies if any, therapeutic claims and any other details are derived from the published literature and compiled in the form of a monograph, along with complete references of the work cited. The experiments conducted and the compiled data is subjected to careful scrutiny by the experts of the scientific committee. The information incorporated in the monographs is further supported by the photographs of the plant, the part/s of the plant used, microscopic details, the TLC details, chromatograms, etc.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Acupuncture & Acupressure (200)
Gem Therapy (21)
Original Texts (226)
Therapy & Treatment (150)
Tibetan Healing (128)
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