Why Herbal Medicine Analysis?
Modernizing the old art of herbal medicine practice requires addressing the three
interrelated issues of ‘quality’, ‘safety’, and ‘efficacy’. The 'pharmaceutical
quality' of plant medicines is critically important as it does also affect the
efficacy and safety of the drugs. Among many other factors, the quality of a
given plant medicine could be variable due to:
wrong species/variety of
potential degradation of
active compounds during harvest, transport and storage
time/season of collection resulting in a qualitative and quantitative
differences of active compounds
quantitative differences in active constituents based on environmental
contamination of plant
medicines with microbes, microbial toxins, environmental pollutants, or heavy
have been the major subjects of concern
in the herbal medicine industry.
preparations of plant medicines including decoctions, infusions, powders, juices
are used in traditional medicine by means of one or multiple routes of
administration. Such crude plant medicine preparations are complex mixture of
different compounds, which may act in an agonistic, antagonistic, synergistic,
complementary or toxic manner. In the first instance, the therapeutic
potential of such medicines need to be VALIDATED through PHARMACOLOGICAL ASSAYS.
Establishing the scientific basis of plant medicines would promote the evidence
based approach in these practices and also gives
confidence among reluctant users of the green medicine.
chemical constituents responsible for the therapeutic activity of
plant medicines are known, STANDARDIZATION OF THE
DRUGS IS POSSIBLE. Alternatively, the active constituents
may be isolated and used by their own. Hence, PHYTOCHEMICAL ANALYSIS of plants is an essential
component of the ‘quality, safety and efficacy’ issues of plant medicines.
Further detail of herbal medicine standardisations can be obtained by visiting
our exemplary HPLC-based assay site.
As a classical example, we
have undertaken a quality check on Aloe vera supplements following the listing
of such products as potential therapy for diabetes by the Diabetes UK. Our study
using comprehensive chromatography and spectroscopy analysis revealed poor
quality assurance procedure including mislabelling and toxic contaminants
(methanol!) in some popular brands. Click on the image below to access the
Contact us if you have concerns on food or medicinal
products that are suspected to be of low standards; or that needs analysis by
our electronic NOSE!
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