Home  |   Sitemap  |   Contact

Interactive Research School For Health Affairs (IRSHA), Pune

Herbal Medicine

Dr. Suresh Jagtap

Herbal medicine department started in 2010 with an aim to validate traditional medicinal plants. In India out of 17,500 flowering plants, 8,000 species are reported as medicinal plants in folklore where, Ayurvedic medicines alone need 2200 species. Considering these great diversity, we focused on selecting and validating the most effective plant for inflammation which is the common condition in a large number of human conditions and typically involves a response to burns, chemical irritants, frostbite, toxins, and infection by pathogens, necrosis, and physical injury. However, chronic and uncontrolled inflammation gives rise to several non-communicable diseases and known to initiate and accelerate the degenerative processes. Thus, current work at Department of Herbal Medicine focuses on-

  • Correct botanical identification and authentication of selected medicinal plants, besides their popular/common names
  • Pharmacological and clinical validation of these plants using in-vitro biochemical assays and in-vivo animal models to ascertain their efficacy and safety with special reference to inflammation
  • Standardization by metabolomic approach using modern analytical techniques such as HPTLC, FTIR, HPLC, GC-MS etc. to ensure uniformity
  • Suggesting superior harvesting method and sites for raw materials, based on the quality and quantity of the desirable phytochemicals.

Current Scenario of herbal Standardization and Validation

In recent years, there has been great demand for plant derived products in developed countries. These products are increasingly being sought out as medicinal products, nutraceuticals and cosmetics. There are around 6000 herbal manufacturers in India. More than 4000 units are producing Ayurveda medicines. In order to have a good coordination between the quality of raw materials, in process materials and the final products, it has become essential to develop reliable, specific and sensitive quality control methods using a combination of classical and modern instrumental method of analysis. Standardization is an essential measurement for ensuring the quality control of the herbal drugs. "Evaluation" of a drug means confirmation of its identity and determination of its quality and purity and detection of its nature of adulteration.

Standardization of herbal medicines is the process of prescribing a set of standards or inherent characteristics, constant parameters, definitive qualitative and quantitative values that carry an assurance of quality, efficacy, safety and reproducibility. It is the process of developing and agreeing upon technical standards. Specific standards are worked out by experimentation and observations, which would lead to the process of prescribing a set of characteristics exhibited by the particular herbal medicine. Chromatography and spectroscopy techniques are the most commonly used methods in standardization of herbal medicines but the herbal system is not easy to analyze because of their complexity of chemical composition. Many cutting-edge analytical technologies have been introduced to evaluate the quality of medicinal plants and significant amount of measurement data has been produced. Chemometric techniques provide a good opportunity for mining more useful chemical information from the original data. Then, the application of chemometrics in the field of medicinal plants is spontaneous and necessary. Comprehensive methods and hyphenated techniques associated with chemometrics used for extracting useful information and supplying various methods of data processing are now more and more widely used in medicinal plants, among which chemometrics resolution methods and principal component analysis (PCA) are most commonly used techniques.

Validation is the process of proving that an analytical method is acceptable for its intended purpose for pharmaceutical methods. If the herbal products are marketed as therapeutic agents, and irrespective of whether the products really have any positive effects to cure and reduce the severity of the disease, it is necessary to ensure scientific validation and periodic monitoring of the quality and efficacy by drug control administrators. It is feasible that the introduction of scientific validation would control the production of impure or adulterated herbal products and would eventually ensure their rational use.

Research Projects at Herbal Medicine Department

•  Studies on anti-inflammatory activity of different Dashamoola formulation and its dosage forms

Dashmoolarishta is a formulation prepared using 10 plants and used singly or in combination either in crude or in processed form for treatment of inflammatory disorders. Most of the plants are rare and unavailability of these in market leads to adulteration and formulations containing less than 10 plants. Thus, study has been undertaken to identify most suitable dosage form and validation of its anti-inflammatory potential against Cervicitis. A new herbal combination (DF2112) showed significant anti-inflammatory activity in Cervicitis (Provisional patent filed: 207/MUM/2015) showed remarkable efficacy on Cervicitis.

•  Evaluation of effective herbs and formulations for the management of osteoarthritis

Ayurved is the most ancient traditional system of medicine which is still successfully practiced in India. Even in the current era, the treatment for Osteoarthritis (OA) is very routinely performed in majority of Ayurvedic clinics with a significant range of success in further progression of disease and reverting back the symptoms. In the classical literature, polyherbal formulations viz. Triphala, Triphala guggul, Dashamoolarishta, Dashamoolchurna, Balarishta etc. and some plants such as Emblica officinalis Gaertn Commiphora mukul Engl and Tinospora cordifolia Miers etc. are used as an anti-inflammatory agent and as a rejuvenator. Although so much of literature is available in the classical texts, very few studies are reported to validate the use of these formulations and hardly any effort has been done to elucidate its mechanism of action. So efforts has been undertaken to screen and identify most effective formulation for treatment of osteoarthritis. New herbal combination (OA-F2) showed significant anti-inflammatory activity in osteoarthrits (Patent filed: 2509/MUM/2014)

•  Bioprospecting of Amarkand, traditionally used tubers as a functional food

Plants of group Amarkand are extensively used by tribal people for the longevity. It has very good health promoting ability in Ayurveda. It is known from vedic period but the botanical name has been assigned from early 19th century to Indian species. So there is confusion to identify the exact plant and chances of misidentification and assigning different (new) names to this species. Out of 32 species under the group Amarkand, 21 species reported as medicine and food; it includes 20 species of Eulophia sp. and Dioscorea bulbifera. So the study has been undertaken to identify best species in terms of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and anti-fatigue properties.

•  Comparative evaluation of Dioscorea spp. From Maharashtra for its pharmacological activities

Genus Dioscorea is extensively used by tribal population as a food and medicine but lacks pharmacological validation. In Maharashtra, 9 species are commonly found and locally known as Amarkand, Varahikand, Dukkarkand, Kadukand etc. Ancient Ayurvedic texts and ethno-botanical survey reports anti-inflammatory, anti-fatigue and anti-ageing properties of these Dioscorea spp. However, very few species are being validated in terms of their Ayurvedic and ethno-botanical uses especially in terms of their anti-inflammatory and anti-fatigue effects. So, study will be undertaken to validate mechanism of action of Dioscorea spp. by comparative evaluation.

•  Chemical diversity and nutraceutical potential of Indian Propolis

Propolis is a resinous material that honey bees collect from plant sources. Consequently, its chemical composition varies with region and season. It has lot of applications in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical preparations due to their wide range of bio-activities. However, its inconsistent chemical composition is the biggest hurdle in maintaining its quality for commercial purposes. India has good apiculture setup but byproducts are not commercially explored.

•  Exploring ‘Vidanga’ (Embelia spp.) and its substitute with respect to its pharmacological activities

‘Vidanga’ is one of the herbs commonly used in Ayurveda. It is considered to support the intestine to keep the digestive system healthy. There several local names for ‘Vidanga’ and are known for their medicinal use for thousands of years. ‘Vidanga’ has a strong traditional as well as an experimental base for its use such as in skin ailments like acne and pimples, in constipation, digestive track in piles, as a brain tonic, etc.

Taxonomically, all the species under the name ‘Vidanga’ belong to the genus Embelia and Maesa of the family Myrsinaceae. Four species are Embelia ribes Burm.f., E. tsjeriam-cottam (Roem. & Schult), E. drupacea (Dennst.) M.R. Almeida & S.M. Almeida and Maesa indica (Roxb.) A.DC. There is confusion in market samples of 'Vidanga' as they are available single or in mixtures of allied species, hence there is an ambiguity in the identification of authentic drug as 'Vidanga' and considering the utmost condition, related parameters will be studied to find out most potent species from the genus Embelia & Maesa as a drug Vidanga.

•  Chemometric analysis and Development of Methodology for quality standardization of ‘Vidanga ’

Since the past decade there is a global shift towards use of the complementary and alternative medicines compared to the synthetic drugs due to various complications and side effects. Plants synthesize a bulk amount of secondary metabolites or bioactive principles which are accountable for the therapeutic activities of medicinal plants and provides unlimited opportunities for new drug leads. Herbal medicines would be accepted readily for treatment only if they could successfully pass through a full regimen of standardization parameters, which requires safety and efficacy data. Pharmacologically active components or biomarkers are currently employed for evaluating the quality and authenticity of herbal medicines. The usual assessment of herbal medicine based on identifying one or two biomarkers of pharmacologically active constituents in the herbal product does not give a holistic view of the product as the activity is usually due synergistic. Metabolic fingerprinting of complex biological and herbal samples has the potential to enhance the quality, safety, and efficacy of herbal medicine by providing a comprehensive view of a multitude of quality-determining compounds.

Considering the demand for drug ‘Vidanga’, the potential to cure a variety of diseases, and ambiguity in supply of the authentic drug in the market, its chemometric study is essential. Therapeutic properties of the genus Embelia are attributed by Embelin or Embolic acid present in berries of plants which is a major secondary metabolite. Recent advances in chemometrics to identify markers compounds and chemometrics by standardization can be applied for ‘Vidanga’ to create biomarkers based identification of the genuine drug. Chemometric analysis of ‘Vidanga’ will define the parameters to identify the species based on chemical composition, which will be a rapid, sensitive, and non-destructive method for standardization of drug ‘Vidanga’. This will ensure the quality check and authentication of the ‘Vidanga’ which will result in the use of a standardized drug for increased medical efficacy and to meet up the high market demand.

•  Development and evaluation of new synbiotic formulation against candidal inflammation of intestine

Prebiotics have been discussed with respect to the systemic effects they exert on the host’s health, metabolism, and immune system. The ability to regulate the composition of the gut microbiota by prebiotic dietary substances and probiotic microorganisms is an interesting approach in the control and treatment of some major diseases. Prebiotics are emerging as promising nutraceuticals in various medical conditions, including IBD. Since prebiotics are easy to administer, inexpensive, and lack significant toxic side effects they may become an attractive alternative or adjunct to standard therapeutics in inflammation conditions.

Hence, here we are studying wild and organic vegetables as a potential source as prebiotics which in combination with probiotics will lead to the development of probable symbiotic formulations.

Publications: 90

  • Papers: 76
  • Patents: 07
  • Books: 03
  • Book chapters: 04

PhDs awarded: 05

Current Team

Name   Title
Dr. Suresh D. Jagtap   Associate Professor
Ms. Anuradha R. Mulik   Research Assistant
Mr. Kartikey T. Jagtap   Research Assistant / PhD student
Manoj M. Khavate   PhD Student
Mayur A. Aswani   PhD Student
Suraj R. Bhongale   PhD Student
© 2023 - Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune. All rights reserved. Developed and maintained by Technology Department, Bharati Vidyapeeth.