ADULTERATION AND SUBSTITUTION IN INDIAN MEDICINAL PLANTS
Ayurveda is a system of Indian traditioonal medicine and a form of alternative medicine. In 20 andd 21 century people are becoming aware of the potency and side effect of synthetic drugs and so there is an in creasing interest in Ayurvedic proprietary medicine. But the adulteration and substitution of the herbs is the burning problem in herbal industry and it has caused a major treat in the research on commercial natural products. The deforestation and extinction of many species and incorrect identification of many plants has resulted in adulteration and substitution of raw drugs. The future development of the Pharmacognostic analysis of herbs is largely depended upon reliable methodologies for correct identification, standardization and quality assurance of Ayurvedic drugs.
Keywords Ayurveda, Adulteration, Substitution, Standardization, Identification
it is very difficult to trace these adulterations Types of Adulterants: Drugs are generally adulterated or
substituted with substandard.
Using artificially manufactured substance: The drug is adulterated with the substance which has been prepared artificially. Using substandard commercial varieties: Adulterants resemble the original crude drug morphologically. of any filthy. This is the most common type of adulteration
1. 8. Adulteration in market samples is one of the greatest drawbacks in promotion of herbal products. 11
4. 10. 5. They resemble only morphologically. A adulteration may also be defined as mixing or substituting the original drug material with other spurious. spoiled. 2
Adverse Event Reports are not due to the intended herb.
Using superficially similar inferior drugs: Inferior drugs may or may not have any chemical or therapeutic value. in whole or in part. faith in herbal drugs has declined . but rather due to the presence of an unintended herb
. putrid or decomposed substance . Due to adulteration. defective.INTRODUCTION Adulteration it is a practice of substituting the original crude drug partially or fully with other substances which is either free from or inferior in therapeutic and chemical properties or addition of low grade or spoiled drugs or entirely different drug similar to that of original drug substituted with an intention of enhancement of profits . The
. useless other parts of same or different plant or harmful substances or drug which do not confirm with the official standards. Many researchers have contributed in checking adulterations and authenticating them
7. 6. 9.
Medicinal plant dealers have discovered the scientific methods in creating adulteration of such a high quality that without microscopic and chemical analysis. therapeutically but are sub standard in nature and cheaper in cost. so due to its resemblance they are used as adulterants
. chemically. inferior or artificial drugs. a drug shall be deemed to be adulterated if it consists.
published two centuries ago (in 1820) on adulterations in food and culinary materials is a proof for this practice as an age-old one . inferior. It is invariably found that the
This method is followed for the costlier drugs . Examples: citral is added to citrus oils like lemon and orange oils . Casuarina equisetifolia for Tamarix indica and Aerva lanata for Berginia ciliate are some other
. Harmful adulterants: Some are harmful materials as the adulterant. Reason of adulteration: Confusion in vernacular names: to Fumaria
resembles the original drug. digitate leaves with narrow segments of F. odour. and constituents . are collected from market waste materials and admixed with the drug. coriander.artificially
Adulteration of powders: The drugs which are in the form of powders are frequently adulterated. these two herbs are often interchanged or adulterated or substituted. red sanders wood in capsicum powder and powdered bark adulterated with brick powder . Presence of vegetative matter of same plant: Some miniature plants growing along with the medicinal plants are added due to their colour. parviflora. natural colour and taste is manipulated with additives . fennel. caraway are adulterated by this method. Because of the popularity of Siddha medicine in some parts of South India. parviflora. Mainly volatile oil
containing drugs like clove. Examples: dextrin is added in ipecacuanha. exhausted ginger in ginger. These two can be easily identified by the presence of pale yellow to mild brown colored. As it is devoid of colour and taste due to extraction. thin wiry stems and small simple
of Mollugo pentaphylla and black to dark brown colored. In Siddha. ‘Parpadagam’ refers to Mollugo pentaphylla. It is done for the liquid drugs
1 1 1
In Ayurveda. traders in these regions supply Mollugo pentaphylla as Parpatta/Parpadaga m and the North Indian suppliers supply F. Owing to the similarity in the names in traditional systems of medicine. Using of synthetic chemicals to enhance natural character: Synthetic chemicals are used to enhance natural character of the exhausted drug. Using exhausted drug: The same drug is admixed but that drug is devoid of medicinally active substance as it has been extracted already. Parpatta refers
inophyllum (which plains) is sold as Nagakesar. transverse section
Similarity in morphology: Mucuna pruriens is adulterated with other similar
throughout the Western Ghats and parts of Himalayas. the abundant Indo-Nepal species H. patulum. ‘Ratanjot’ is a recent day example. However.
Lack of knowledge about authentic source: Nagakesar is one of the important drugs in Ayurveda. Anatomically. However. perforatum stem has compressed thin phloem. utilis is white or buff colored Lack of authentic
of Calophyllum inophyllum. utilis are in dull
size. Market sample is a whole plant with flowers and it is easy to identify them taxonomically. black . deeringiana (sold as bigger variety) are popular adulterants. patulum has broader phloem. in the past. plant:
While M. According to the suppliers and non-timer forest product (NTFP) contractors. availability of this species is very limited.
flowers can be easily identified by the presence of two-celled ovary whereas in case of spurious flowers they are single celled
of H. M. suppliers are unaware of it. deeringiana and bigger (1.
Papilionaceae seeds having similarity in morphology. There may also be some restrictions in forest collection. perforatum.example for adulterations due to confusion in names
markets. cochinchinensis. ensiformis are also sold in Indian
Similarity in color: It is well known that with course of time. market samples are adulterated with flowers the
surface. deeringiana is
and M. In India. M. The authentic source is Mesua ferrea. Due to is in these the
sold in the name of H. utilis (sold as white variety) and M. C. drug materials get changed to or substituted with other plant species. Though authentic plant is available
Hypericum perforatum is cultivated and sold in European markets.5-2 cm)
M. Whereas H. hollow pith and absence of calcium oxalate crystals. roots of Ventilago
. Authentic seeds are up to 1 cm in length with shining mosaic pattern of black and brown color on their
. Apart from this M. Canavalia virosa an d C. partially hollow pith and presence of calcium oxalate crystals
It is used also
used as grocery. While Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpam) has katu vipaka (punjent digestion) and ushna virya (hot potency). The adverse reaction of the drug: Vasa is a well known Rakta-Pittahara (cures bleeding disorder) drug. solamargin. V. perforata and P. 18
Bharangi has bitter taste. euchroma
. Usnea sp. madraspatana is not found Recently in market.
15. A. Both C. Types of substitution: Using totally different drug: Bharangi (Clerodendron indicum) and Kantakari. indicum and
. euchroma substitutes V.
verbascoside and solasoninie. Market samples showed it to be admixed with (P. It is clearly known that Arnebia euchroma var euchroma is the present source. Ipomea sepiaria etc are
only source of
‘Ratanjot’. laghu (light) . It has glycosides named
Need for Substitution
Non-availability of the drug: Substitution for Ashtavarga Dravyas (group of 8 crude drugs). but due to its abortificiant activity its utility in pregnant women is limited. Unani and Siddha. solasurine respectively. instead drugs such as Laksha. However. 17. cirrhata). Authentic plants can be identified by their thallus nature . madraspatana.
Whatever is available in the market. 16. is
also mixed with
them. Ashoka etc are substituted. as the
Uncertain identity of the drug: For the herb Lakshmana different species such as Arlia quinquefolia.madraspatana were Western Ghats. that has not been practiced now. Similarity is in yielding a red dye. considered Cost of the drug: Kumkuma being costly herb is substituted by Kusumbha Geographical distribution of the drug: Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata) is used in Northern India while in southeren parts Alpinia galanga is considered as the source. Sometimes.
Careless collections: Some of the herbal adulterations are due to the carelessness of herbal collectors and suppliers. in the name of Ratanjot
from A. Parmelia perlata is in Ayurveda. ruksha (unctuous) guna (quality) and has Kapha-vatahara property.
The alkaloids are proved as Using different parts of the plant: The root of Sida cordifolia and the whole plant of Sida cordifolia can be considered. T. Root has the chemical constituents such as
bronchodialatory and inhibitor of secretion of mucous membrane.
Using different species: Two types of Gokshura viz. hydrocarbons. Modern researches prove
.murex appear to be appropriate
. While the whole plant has alkaloid.
Substitution of the Species Belonging to Same Family: The Datura metal and Datura stramonium Chemical can be considered are here. hepatoprotective
and cardio tonic activities. metal shows anthelmentic activity The alkaloid present in both the species are well proven bronchodilators and also they inhibit the secretion of mucous membrane of the respiratory tract. Tribulus terrestris (Zygophylaceae) and Pedalium murex
that even the aerial parts are also equally effective
. Though it is the root which is mentioned as officinal part of S. xanthocarpam are commonly used in the diseases related to the respiratory system. which are usually associated with release of histamines and other autacoids
chlorogenin. antioxidant. ursolic acid. The clinical conditions where Gokshura is indicated i. Mutrakrcra (renal disorder). hypoglycemic. stramonium are beneficial. lyoscine.murex has sitosterol.
. lithotriptic. diuretic and hepatoprotective activities. ephedrine.
(Pedaliaceae) of which. various extracts of the whole plant showed anti-bacterial. rhamnose and alkaloids. flavonoids and alkaloids. Prameha (diabetes) etc. The alcoholic extract of D. While P. Shotahara (reduce inflammation) etc. cordifolia in the classics as Balya (promotes strength). hyocyamin. indicum and S. metal would be a better choice as it is a proven anthelmentic
diosgenin. terrestris and P. xanthocarpam have shown anti-histaminic activity. acylsteryglycoside.e. fatty acids. Thus as far as the diseases of the respiratory tract are concerned both D. rutin. both T. while as D. metal and D. vanilin. Both C.
alkaloids.. atropin. terrestris has the
. Ashmari (urinary calculi).S. Both the species are proved for nephroprotective.
Table 1 Commonly use substitution in Ayurvedic drug
Sl. Amalaki can be employed as Rasayana in Chronic debilitating diseases like bronchial asthma.
anti-tumour. hypotensive. In current
practice the Rasayana
. anticytotoxic and anticancerous properties etc.21
Apamarga 2 Murva
19. and shows
formulations are being employed as an adjuvant therapy in Chronic as well as Malignant diseases.21
Mimusops elengi Valeriana wallichii
19.Due to same in action: Embelica officinalis shows antioxident. while Bhallataka would be better choice in malignant conditions.21
Achyranthus aspera Lannea coromandelica
3 4 5
19. diabetes etc.
hypolipidemic action. Both Amalaki and Bhallataka are Rasayana (rejuvenator) drugs.21
Kamala Kustha Lavanga Jatiphala(fruits)
Nelumbo nucifera Saussrea lappa Syzigium aromaticum Myristica fragrans Saussrea lappa Ricinus communis
Tagar19. both in solid tumors and in leukemia
Fagonia cretica Capparis sepiaria Mimusops elengi Ocimum sanctum & Hobenaria spp.7 8
Lilium polyphyllum Fritillaria roylei Semecarpus anacardium
Asvagandha Asvagandha Nadi Bhallataka
Withania somnifera Withania somnifera Semecarpus travancorica
Punica granatum Cinnamomum camphora
Vrikshamla Granthi parna
Garcinia indica Leonotis nepetafolia
Duralabha Manakanda Babul (bark) Nirgundi Varahikanda
Alhagi pseudalhagi Alocasia indica Acacia arabica Vitex negundo Dioscorea bulbifera
16 17 18
Piper chaba Vitis vinifera
Pippali(root) Kashmari phala
Piper longum Fruits arborea of Gmelina
10 11 12 13 14
Ayurvedic drug industries follow high quality standards using modern techniques and
instruments to maintain their quality. in its publication on quality standards for medicinal plant materials. World Health Organization (WHO). stem in leaf drugs). Nowadays. Major reasons are confusion in name. recommends rejecting any batch of raw material.21
Ocimum basilicum Garcinia pedunculata
Gramya tulasi Chukra
Ocimum sanctum Garcinia indica
DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION It is not that all adulterations are intentional malpractice as stated in many literatures. Even scientific community and traditional physicians are unaware of it. Also. Suppliers are illiterate and not aware about their spurious supply.22 23
Mesua ferrea Desmostachya bipinnata
Padma kesar Kasha
Nelumbo nucifera Saccharum spontaneum
. never the less if they are derived from the authentic plant.g. With our experience it is noted that the herbal drugs are adulterated unintentionally also. non-availability and lack of knowledge about authentic plant.21 19. adulteration whether. should be rejected. intentional or unintentional. Based on these standards. which has more than 5% of any other plant part of the same plant (e. suppliers and traders should be educated about the authentic sources.