Article

An overview of advances in the standardization of herbal drugs

Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research 01/2011; 2:55-70.

ABSTRACT Herbal formulations have reached extensive acceptability as therapeutic agents for several diseases. The
development of authentic analytical methods which can reliably profile the phytochemical composition, including
quantitative analyses of marker/bioactive compounds and other major constituents, is a major challenge to
scientists. Standardization is an important step for the establishment of a consistent biological activity, a consistent
chemical profile, or simply a quality assurance program for production and manufacturing of herbal drugs. WHO
specific guidelines for the assessment of the safety, efficacy and quality of herbal medicines as a prerequisite for
global harmonization are of utmost importance. An overview covering various techniques employed in extraction
and characterization of herbal medicines as well as herbal nanomedicines standardization is reported. In
addition, phytosomes increased bioavailability, bhasma as a metal nanocarrier drug delivery system, potential of
metabolomics in the development of improved phytotherapeutic agents, DNA based molecular markers in
distinguishing adulterants, and SCAR markers for authentication and discrimination of herbs from their
adulterants are reported. The extraction of high-valued herbal compounds using microwave–assisted extraction
and supercritical phase extraction technology followed by the standardization utilizing various spectroscopic,
chromatographic and thermogravimetric techniques individually and/or in combination has been discussed in
relation to herbal drugs. Capillary electrophoresis and polarographic techniques contributions towards
standardization of herbal drugs is also reported. Nanotechnology based Chinese herbal drugs possess improved
solubility and enhanced bioavailability.

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