Technical Expert
Adulteration of herbs and their extracts
What is Adulteration of Herbs?

Adulteration is presence of substance or material other than the label claim. Adulteration may due to deliberate attempt or accidental passage / inclusion of substitution by superficially similar but commercially cheaper natural substances, substitution by exhausted drugs adulteration by artificially manufactured substitutes, inferior material or substitution with spurious inferior quality material of cheaper commercial value, addition of vegetative matter from the same plant, addition of synthetic principles and adulteration by addition of worthless heavy materials or simply lack of knowledge.
Adulteration may be in the form of spoiled ingredient, infestation of microbial contamination, infested with insects,
There is a provision of substitution of Herbs as an alternate as the substituted herb or drug may have more or less similar pharmacological properties as the originally intended drug to be used.

There are plenty of examples of adulteration;

Herbs and extracts
1. Cassia senna auriculata
2. Zingiber officinale
3. Belladonna
4. Honey
5. Black pepper
6. Cinnamomum verum
7. Holarrhena antidysentrica
8. Pueraria tuberosa
9. Boswellia serrata
10. Saraca asoka longifolia
11. Ferula assafoetida
12. Clove Bud oil (Syzygium ­aromaticum): acetate.
13. Grapefruit oil
14. Sandalwood oil chemicals etc.
15. Basil oil
Cassia angustifolia, Cassia obovata and Cassia
Zingiber mioga (Japanese Ginger)
Ailanthus Species
Sugar Syrup
Papaya seeds
C. obtusifolium, C. tamala and other species.
Wrightia tinctoria, W.tomentosa
Ipomoea digitata
B. cartelli, and other imported gums
Stem bark of Bauhinia variengata, Polyalthia
F. galbaniflua.
clove stem oil & isolates (eugenol) & eugenyl
Orange terpenes or sweet orange oil distilled
Sandalwood terpenes, sandalwood fragrance
Llinalol to convert to Basil oil Sweet
The above are only a few examples.

Adulteration can be detected by various means of proper evaluation and analysis. Scientific Methods are to be applied to Drug Adulteration and Verification

The various methods for detection of adulterants are as follows;
A. Macroscopy
B. Microscopy to study internal structures
C. Chemical and Instrumental methods such as;
Detection and Estimation of Active /Marker compounds by
a. Gravimetry
b. Titrimetry
d. UV-VIS Spectroscopy
e. Gas Chromatography
g. Infra red Spectroscopy
Adulteration in oils can be checked by

Optical rotation
Gas chromatography analysis
and, if necessary, mass spectroscopy