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 Adulterant
1. Cassia senna Cassia angustifolia, Cassia obovata and Cassia auriculata
2. Zingiber officinale Zingiber mioga (Japanese Ginger)
3. Belladonna Ailanthus Species
4. Honey Sugar Syrup
5. Black pepper Papaya seeds
6. Cinnamomum verum C. obtusifolium, C. tamala and other species.
7. Holarrhena antidysentrica Wrightia tinctoria, W.tomentosa
8. Pueraria tuberosa Ipomoea digitata
9. Boswellia serrata B. cartelli, and other imported gums
10. Saraca asoka Stem bark of Bauhinia variengata, Polyalthia longifolia
11. Ferula assafoetida F. galbaniflua.
12. Clove Bud oil (Syzygium aromaticum): clove stem oil & isolates (eugenol) & eugenyl acetate.
13. Grapefruit oil Orange terpenes or sweet orange oil distilled
14. Sandalwood oil Sandalwood terpenes, sandalwood fragrance chemicals etc.
15. Basil oil 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;
B. Microscopy to study internal structures
C. Chemical and Instrumental methods such as;
Detection and Estimation of Active /Marker compounds by
c. TLC / HPTLC
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