Medicinal plants constitute one of the richest bioresource for herbal drugs, food supplements, natural cosmetics, complimentary alternate medicines, phytoconstituents of industrial significance and lead molecules for the development of Allopathic drugs. A number of countries including Germany, France, Canada, USA, China, etc. are registering standardized medicinal plant extracts of proven clinical efficacy and safety as herbal drug preparations or food supplements Inspite of the fact that India has a vast resource of medicinal plants, we are unable to exploit the growing world market to the required extent because we do not have a very satisfactory system of their quality control and registration. Therefore, it becomes absolutely essential to have quality standards of the raw material.
In this direction, in the year 2000 the ICMR initiated work on quality standards of Indian medicinal plants, involving laboratories of reputed institutes of the country. Three volumes of "Quality Standards of Indian Medicinal Plants" covering standards of 104 medicinal plants have already been published. We expect that this fourth volume like the earlier three volumes will also be of interest to the herbal drug industry, practitioners of the Indigenous Systems of Medicine, academicians, researchers, health professionals and regulatory authorities.
The growing worldwide interest in medicinal plants and fast expanding global market in the last two decades, has necessitated for quality ensured herbal drugs. Further, the increase in the incidence of toxicity reported due to the indiscriminate use of herbal preparations available over the counter and as food supplements make it important to ensure their safety and efficacy. Therefore, in the present business and industrial scenario, and considering the interest and faith that people have on herbal products, the need for their standardization cannot be over emphasized. The safety and efficacy of herbal preparations depend largely on the quality of the raw material used.
In this backdrop, ICMR took initiative in evolving quality standards for plants most widely used as raw material in Indian systems of medicine, especially those of Ayurveda. Several reputed institutions are involved in this endeavour. The efforts have so far resulted in bringing out three volumes of Quality Standards of Indian Medicinal Plants carrying monographs on 104 plants. The current publication with Monographs on 32 plants is fourth in the series. I do hope the present volume shall also be received well with all those concerned with medicinal plants. The commendable efforts and co-operation of the Chairman and the members of Scientific Advisory Group, the Task Force, the Technical Review Committee as also the investigators and the research institutions in bringing out this publication are appreciable.
In the National Policy on the Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) by the Department of AYUSH, priority is being given to research on standardization, pharmacology, toxicology and clinical trails of ISM drugs. In all these studies one important common factor, which can be called the lifeline, is the quality, especially of the raw material, and the crux is the inavailability of methods for the quality assessment.
Currently, the herbal drug preparation itself is regarded as the active substance. Hence the reproducibility of the total configuration of herbal drug constituents is important, and the TLC/GLC/ HPLC fingerprint profiles will serve as guiding line to the phytochemical profile of the drug in ensuring the quality, while quantification of the marker compound/s would serve as an additional parameter in assessing the quality of the sample.
As a part of its ongoing programs, Medicinal Plants Unit of the Indian Council of Medical Research has been bringing out a series of publications on the quality standards of important medicinal plants used in the traditional medicine. This is the fourth volume in the series, "Quality Standards of Indian Medicinal Plants" containing 32 monographs. Several national institutions have been participating in this national endeavour and just as in the first three volumes, the following guidelines have been adopted in evolving the standards for the plants included in this volume.
The raw material of the plants is procured from the field, from at least three different 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 results of experiments conducted and the compiled data are subjected to careful scrutiny by the experts of the Technical Review Committee.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Acupuncture & Acupressure (200)
Gem Therapy (22)
Original Texts (231)
Therapy & Treatment (144)
Tibetan Healing (131)
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