With and efficacy of medicinal plants. Maintaining the

With commercialization of
herbal medicine going on, there is a need for the quality, safety and efficacy
of medicinal plants. Maintaining the reproducible efficacy and safety of
pharmaceuticals require proper standardization of herbal drugs and their quality
determination.(Bauer et al; 1993).The
raw material obtained from the herbs is prone to a lot of variations such as
plant identity, many seasonal changes, genotypic and chemotypic variations,
drying and storage conditions.( Dixit et
al; 2008). Standardization ensures a reasonable consistence product
achieved through various parameters such as quality of herbal drugs, naming the
herbal plants correctly i.e. proper identification of the plant species,
pharmacognostic evaluation, quantification of active compounds such as total
phenolics, total flavonoids, tannins, saponins, alkaloids etc. (Calixto et al; 2000), identification of chemical
constituents 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 with
microscopic and histological analysis (cell wall’s characteristics, contents of
the cells i.e. starch grains, trichomes, calcium oxalate crystals, fibres etc.
(Shrikumar et al.,2006). Physical and
chemical parameters are also included along with chromatographic analysis of
the active constituents such as TLC, HPLC, UV, GC-MS etc. Herbal drugs can be
evaluated through study of anti-oxidant activity, radical scavenging activity,
microbial contamination reduction, and many more. (Yadav et al.,2011)

A large number of herbal
drugs failed the clinical trials in the laboratory and have been reported for
the cases of intoxication leading to adverse affects such as many allergic
reactions, breathing problems, effects on the central nervous system, convulsions,
problems related to heart and blood pressure. There is a need for proper
standardization to ensure that every amount of herbal drug which is being used also
includes its therapeutic effect. (Chaudhary, 1992). Consistency of the quality
of herbal drug can be checked by the requisite control on the quality of herbal
plants. The plants which are wild tend to show more number of variations in
their qualities. With the rise in demand of herbal products, cultivation of
such plants needs to be encouraged. For meeting the increased demand of good qualities
of herbal products, WHO (1991) released several guidelines for medicinal plants
on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP). In 1992, WHO issued
“Guidelines for quality control methods for medicinal plants” The objective was
to develop various procedures for the correct identification and botanical
evaluation of medicinal plants which are tremendously used in home remedies.
(WHO, 1998). In September 2005, WHO Interregional Training Workshop on GACP and
GMP for Herbal Medicines was held in China. Guidelines were also drafted for
the selection of substances for quality control of herbal medicines (issues
discussed in 2004 and 2005 at two WHO working group meetings.) Various standard
monographs on medicinal plants have been issued and published by UK,
German-E-Commission, USA, Japanese Pharmacopoeia, ESCOP and the most number of
monographs are given in Chinese Pharmacopeia. (Yadav and Dixit, 2014).

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India offers free choice
for the exploration of several new advancements in the traditionally used
medicinal plants. (Patwardhan, 2000). Faith in the herbal medicine has led to
the growth of recognition of more number of medicinal plants. (Kala, 2005).
Interdependence on the plants for medicinal purposes in the growing vast
sectors and industries is at a high phase for the extraction and production of
plant-based drugs, for obtaining chemotherapeutics from such plants and from
the plant-based remedies used traditionally. (Unesco, 1998). Medicinal plants
are source of obtaining drugs and more number of plants must be explored and
investigated for understanding their medicinal properties, safer use and
efficiency. (Nascimento et al., 2000).  Advancements related to chromatography,
extraction, screening and selection of natural active compound, many hyphenated
techniques and the use of biotechnological tools demand the profound
information and knowledge of pharmacognosy. (Shinde and Dhalwal, 2007). A large
number of techniques are being approached for the preparation of herbal drugs
and the network of pharmacognosy has advanced due to increase in the demand of
medicinal plants for cure of remedies. The relation of cell and molecular
biology with the plant based-products, field of ethanobotany along with phytotherapy
in the research areas  of pharmacognosy have
expanded which has seen the use of more number of analytical parameters and
methods and phytochemistry. ( Cooper, 2004).

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