Herbal drugs have been used as remedies for the treatment of large number of humans, ailments since ancient times as the traditional medicine system; India has a glorious past, having first documented record of fully developed medical science known as Ayurveda written by several ancient Rishiâ€™s. Major groups of indigenous system of medicine are based on herbal drugs. A survey made by WHO indicated that about 80% of the world population relies on herbal drugs. Herbal drugs are becoming more popularized and important even in the developed
nations with hope of their non-toxicity and may play a role of substitute to overcome the problems of multi drug resistant pathogens. Cultivation of drug plants has been started in large scale without considering the land quality and in certain cases irrigation with waste water. Application of different fungicides, pesticides in that specific field or in neighboring fields may be directly deposited superficially or may be absorbed by the plant system. Therefore in the present situation possibilities of the Asian herbal drugs, contaminated with large number of toxic components cannot be ignored which may severely hurt human life in place of healing or curing.These contaminants may be either alone or in combination and may be originated intrinsically, extrinsically and deliberately. Certain contaminants may be highly toxic and may cause severe adverse effect in the human system. Some of the important contaminants are the heavy metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, copper and pesticides. Adulteration of modern drugs to enhance drug potency and heterogenous microbial population including human pathogens may contaminate both raw and powdered herbal drugs. Among these contaminants, microbial contamination seems more severe and may be due to their dual action on the drug i.e. utilization of medicinally important chemical components as nutrients and in certain cases by producing certain mycotoxins, which may be even carcinogenic under certain conditions . Critical evaluation of both raw and powdered herbal drugs for contaminants is the urgent need of the time in order to provide safety measures in herbal health care medicine.
Contamination, Herbal drugs, Evaluation
Clark, A.M. (1996). Natural products as a resource fro new drug. Pharma research 13: 1996.
Cowan M.M. (1999). Plant product as antimicrobial agent. Clinical Microbiology Review, 564-582.
Erich Czech, Wolfgang Kneifel and Brigitte Kopp. (2000). Microbiological status of commercially available medicinal herbal drugs- A screening study. Plant Medica, 67, 262-269.
Ernst, E. (2005). Contamination of herbal medicines. The Pharmaceutical Journal, 275: 167-168.
Esimone, C.O., P.O. Olighe, U.E. Dibaa, and E.C. Ibezium. (2007). Gross microbial contamination of herbal medicinal products (HMPs) marketed in mid western Nigeria. International Jour. of Molecular
Medicine and Advace Sciences, 3(2): 87-92. Hitoshi Hitokoto, Satoshi Marozumi, Tomoaki Ki Wauke, Sanzo Sakai and Hiroshi Kurata. (1978). Fungal contamination and mycotoxin detection of powdered herbal drugs. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 36 (2): 252-256.
Itankar P.R., P.R. Sakharkar, A.V. Chandran and A.T. Patel (2001). Estimation of arsenic contents in some Ayurvedic formulations. Hamdard Medicus, 19: 95-107.
Koh H.L. and S.O. Woo (2000). Chinese proprietary in Singapore. Regulatory control of toxic heavy metals and undeclared drugs. Drug Safety, 23: 351-362.
Kneifel wolfgang, Erich Czech and Kopp Priegithe. (2002). Microbiological status of commercially available medicinal herbal drugs. A screening study. Planta Medica, 67: 263-269.
Lalla, J.K., P.D. Hamrapurkar and H.M. Mamania. (2004). Mineral content and microbial impurity of Triphala Churna and its raw material. Indian J. of Traditional Knowledge, 3(1): 86-91.
Lennington, K.R. (1967). Salmonella in drugs and dietary supplements. Drugs Cosmet. Ind., 100: 42-43.
Matsushima, T., H. Itoh and M. Ikeda (1957). Investigation on the fungal spoilage of crude drugs I. J. Japan Bot., 32: 9-15.
Matsushima T., H. Itoh and M. Ikeda (1958). Investigation on the fungal spoilage of crude drugs II. J. Japan Bot., 33: 12-23
Melchart, D., H. Wagner, Hager, S., Saller, R. and Earnst, E. (2001). Quality assurance and evaluation of Chinese medicine drug in a hospital of traditional Chinese medicines in Germany: a five year report. Alternative Therapies, 7:524.
Nagy Halim Azij, Yousuf A., Yousuf, Moheiz, E. L. foully and Lotfy A. Moussa (1998). Contamiantion of some common medicinal plant samples by fungi and their mycotoxins. Bot. Bull. Acad. Sin., 39: 279-285.
Prasad, G., Sharma, N. and Gupta, K. K. (2002). Quantitative enumeration of microflora of certain herbal Ayurvedic drugs during storage. Hamdard Medicus (1): 73-77.
Prasad G., Metiyan, P., Gupta, K. K., Sharma, P. and Prashant (2003). Microbial flora and drug efficacy related with enhancement of therapeutic spectrum of three ingredients of Triphala drug during storage. Hamdard Medicus. XLVI (4): 82-87.
Prasad, G., Sharma, P., Gupta, K.K. and Chopra, A.K. (2007). Effects of microbial contaminants on Triphala drug efficacy during storage and enhancement of therapeutic spectrum of the drug in vitro. Hamdard Medicus, 50 (3): 55-62.
Robert, B., Saper, Stefanos, N., Kales, Janet Paquin, Michael J., Burns, David M., Eisenberg, Roger B., Davis, and Russell S., Phillips. (2004). Heavy Metal Content of Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine Products. JAMA, 292(23): 2868-2873.
Robert B., Saper, Russel S., Phillips and Sehgal, Amisha (2008). Lead, Mercury and Arsenic in U.S. and Indian manufactured Ayurvedic Medicines sold via the internet, JAMA, 300 (8): 915-923.
Roy, A.K. and Chaurasia, H.K. (1988). Aflatoxin contamination of some common drug plants. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 54: 842-843.
Roy, A.K. (2003). Mycological problems of crude herbal drugs overview and challenges. Indian Phytoph., 56 (1): 1-13.
Smolinske,C.Susan (2005). Herbal product contamination and toxicity. Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 18 (3): 188-208
Wong, M.K., Tan, P. and Wee, Y.C. (1993). Heavy metals in some Chinese herbal plants. Biol. Trace Elements Res., 36 (2): 135-142.
Wong wiwat, Tassaneeyakul, Ebrahim Razzazi-Fazeil, Supatra Porasuphathana and Bohm Josef (2004). Contamination of aflatoxins in herbal medicinal products of Thailand. Mycopathologia 158: 239-244.
This work is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) © Author (s)