Vol 5(1), 2007


Challenges and Techniques involved in Standardization of Herbal Drugs

G.V.R. Joseph

Central Council for Research in Ayurveda & Siddha

Dept. of AYUSH, Min. of Health & F.W. Govt. of INDIA


Abstract: Herbal medicines which formed the basis of healthcare throughout the world since time immemorial, are still widely used and have considerable importance in the national and international health sector. Many herbal medicines are directly used as therapeutic agents.   Moreover, there are several medicinal plants that are the starting material for the synthesis of drugs or are precursors for pharmacologically active compounds. With tremendous expansion in the use of herbal medicines, quality control and standardization have become important concern for both health authorities and public. Even the World Health Assembly in a number of resolutions has emphasized the need to have proper regulatory measures and the need to ensure quality of medicinal plants by using modern control techniques and applying suitable standards (1). For pharmaceutical purpose, the quality of medicinal plant material must be as high as that of other medicinal preparations.  However, it is impossible to assay for a specific chemical entity when the bioactive ingredient is not known.  In practice, assay procedures are not carried out even for those medicines for which there are known active ingredients.  For example, much of the ginseng or valerian is bought and sold on the basis of its sensory characters.  For medicinal purpose ginseng should be assayed for its ginsenoside content and valerian for its valepotriates (2). Further problem is posed by those preparations which contain complex heterogeneous mixtures.