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Collection of raw materials: Ayurveda context

  1. COLLECTION OF RAW MATERIALS Dr. Sathyanarayana B Principal, Muniyal Institute of Ayurveda Medical Sciences, Manipal
  2.  Standardization of drug means confirmation of its identity and determination of its quality and purity.  Phytotherapeutic agents or phytomedicines are – standardized herbal preparations consisting of complex mixtures of one or more plants which are used in most countries for the management of various diseases.
  3. Dr Sathyanarayana B 3  Ayurveda depends on natural substances for the preparation of medicine.  The natural substances show a great variation depending upon various factors.  In Ayurvedic pharmaceutics raw materials are derived from basically three Sources:  1. Herbal  2. Mineral  3. Animal
  4. Problems Faced in Herbal Drug Standardization  Herbal drugs are usually mixtures of many constituents  The active principles are, in most cases unknown  Selected analytical methods or reference compounds may not be available commercially  Plant materials are chemically and naturally variable
  5. Continued…  The methods of harvesting, drying, storage, transportation, and processing have an effect(e.g. mode of extraction, polarity of the extracting solvent, instability of constituents etc.)
  6. Factors Influencing Phytochemical Profile Of Medicinal Plants:  Genetic variants leading to the variability in the chemical composition.  Geographical and nutritional factors-altitude, soil composition, microbial load, climate, temperature etc.  Seasonal changes(rainfall, drought, water stress etc.)  Seasonal variations: alkaloid composition of Adhatoda vasica is low in Feb and March and highest in Aug/september
  7. Collection of herbal raw drugs
  8. Rules and regulations for the collection of medicinal plants 1.Collection according to the place of growth  Quality of a plant varies according to the place where it grows.  The observations and the inferences drawn by the ancient scientists, regarding the plant material, appear very rational on the background of recently accumulated knowledge about the variation in the phytochemical contents of plants, which is known to occur depending on place and time of collection. Dr Sathyanarayana B 8
  9. Rules and regulations for the collection of medicinal plants  Eg: the root of Rauwolfia serpentina, yielded different quantities of the alkaloid reserpine, when collected from the different places at the same time.  The root of the plant collected from Kumani forest yielded 1.6% alkaloid, and that from Kanchollari forest 1.4%; while the specimen from the local markets of Lucknow gave 0.8%, 1.2% yield was obtained from the roots collected from the "medicinal plants cultivation area". Dr Sathyanarayana B 9
  10. Qualities of the ideal Land/soil, to collect raw drugs (Su.Su.36/3): 1. The land should not have big pits, rocks or anthills. 2. The surface should not be uneven. 3. The plants which grow near burial ground, temples, slaughterer house should not be collected for medicinal purposes. 4. Land should not be rocky, sandy and soil should not be salty or alkaline. 5. Soil should neither be too marshy nor too dry. 6. The soil should be unctuous, soft, fertile and black, red or white in color. 7. The land surface should be even and covered by grass and big trees. Dr Sathyanarayana B 10
  11. Qualities of the ideal Land/soil, to collect raw drugs (Su.Su.36/3):  While collecting the plants, one should consider the characters of soil, environment, predominance of Mahabhuta, relation with Dosha etc.  If the plant is to be collected for inducing Vamana, it is ideal if it is grown in the land predominant with Vayaveeya and Agneya properties. Dr Sathyanarayana B 11
  12. Qualities of the ideal Land/soil, to collect raw drugs (Su.Su.36/3):  If the plant is to be collected for Virechana, it is better to select the plant grown in the soil rich with Apya and Parthiva Mahabhutas.  For Samshamana(palliative) purpose plant has to be collected from the place predominantly having Akasheeya properties. Dr Sathyanarayana B 12
  13. Collection according to the maturity of the plant:  The same plant at the same place may yield different amount of alkaloids in different stages of development according to the maturity of plant and plant part.  Hence, Ayurvedic classics clearly mention whether, the tender plant is to be collected or fully matured.  In the case of clove, it is mentioned to collect Pushpa Kalika i.e, flower bud. This is a proved fact that blown clove contains less amount of volatile oil and therapeutically it is not good as the flower bud. Dr Sathyanarayana B 13
  14. Collection according to the maturity of the plant:  In a survey, Mr. Choudhary reported, variation in the ratio of hyoscine/hyosciamine depending on the maturity of the plant, Datura stramonium from which it is obtained.  In the immature plant the ratio is 80:20 while in mature plant it is almost reverse to the extent of 30:70. Dr Sathyanarayana B 14
  15. Collection according to the specific part of the plant:  In order to have full therapeutic efficacy of a drug, Ayurvedic scholars with keen observations and immense empirical knowledge have specified different parts to collect and preserve them. Dr Sathyanarayana B 15
  16. Collection according to the specific part of the plant: S.No. Officinal Part Example 1. Sarabhaga(Heartwood) Asana(Pterocarpus marsupium), Khadira(Acacia catechu), Candana(Santalum alba) etc. 2. Tvak(bark) Ashvattha(Ficus bengalensis), Nimba(Azadirahta indica), Tvak(Cinnamomun zeylanica) etc. 3. Phala(fruit) Amalaki(Emblica officinalis), Draksha(Vitis vinifera), Hareetaki(Terminalia chebula) etc. 4. Patra(Leaf) Talisa(Abies webiana), Tamala (Cinnamomum tamala), Markandika(Cassia angustifolia) etc. 5. Pushpa(Flower) Dhataki(Woodfordia fruticosa), Madhuka (Madhuca indica), Kamala (Nelumbo nucifera) etc. 6. Pushpa Kalika(Flower bud) Lavanga(Syzygium aromaticum). Dr Sathyanarayana B 16
  17. Collection according to the specific part of the plant: 7. Kshira(Latex) Snuhi(Euphorbi nerifolia), Arka(Calatropis procera) etc. 8. Kanda(Stem) Guduci(Tinospora cordifolia) etc. 9. Niryasa(Gummy resin) Hingu(Ferula narthex), Guggulu(Commiphora mukul), etc. 10. Kanda(tuber/rhizo me) Varahi Kanda (Diascorea bulbifera), Haridra(Curcuma longa) etc. 11. Mula(Root) Ashvagandha(Withania somnifera), Punarnava(Boerhavia diffusa) etc. 12. Pancanga(Whole plant) Bhrngaraja(Eclipta alba), Apamarga(Achyranthus aspera), etc. Dr Sathyanarayana B 17
  18. Collection of drugs as per their Veerya (Potency):  Acarya Sushruta insists on collecting plants according to their Virya, because Virya is the responsible factor for drug action.  An Usna Virya drug should be collected in UsnaKala and Agneya Mahabhuta Pradhana Bhumi like Vindhya Pradesha.  Sita Virya drug should be collected in Sita Kala and Soumya Bhumi like Himalayas. Dr Sathyanarayana B 18
  19. Collection of plants as per the season:  Potency of plant/plant part varies according to the season.  Hence, Ayurvedic texts have given clear guideline regarding the specific season ideal for the collection of particular plant part. Dr Sathyanarayana B 19
  20. Collection of plants as per the season S.No. Officinal part Season for collection 1. Branches Varsha and Vasanta 2. Leaves Varsha and Vasanta 3. Roots Shishira and Grishma 4. Stem bark Sharad 5. Tubers/Rhizomes Sharad 6. Latex Sharad 7. Heartwood Hemanta 8. Flowers According to the flowering season of the specific plant 9. Fruits According to the fruiting season of the specific plant 10. Whole plant Sharad Dr Sathyanarayana B 20
  21. Example for the seasonal variation of drug components: 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 % of alkaloids Summer Rainy Winter Spring Season Seasonal Variation of Reserpine alkaloids Total Alkaloids Reserpine Dr Sathyanarayana B 21 In addition to this specific Nakshatra(Pushya, Shvini etc) for collection, specific direction (north or east), for collection, specific time (morning), specific method are also discussed in Ayurvedic texts.
  22. Scientific evidences
  23. Seasonal and Geographical Variations in Cellular Characters and Chemical Contents in Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DC. – An Ayurvedic Medicinal Plant Jayanthy A., Prakash Kumar U. and A. B. Remashree  The present study deals with the major variations observed in anatomical, physicochemical and phytochemical characters in D. gangeticum due to change in season and region.  Phytochemical changes due to various seasons and different regions were studied by performing HPTLC densitometric quantification of lupeol in methanol extract of roots.  Microscopic variation observed in the quantity of cell inclusions, number of fibers and wall thickness of lignified cells. Physicochemical parameters also showed variation.
  24.  The percentage of lupeol was very low in young plants then increase with growth and maximum percentage of lupeol was observed in the flowering stage.  In the case of geographical variation the quantity of lupeol was high in the roots collected from high altitude area and lowest in the ones collected from the plains.  The study showed that as the seasonal variation is associated with the vegetative and reproductive stages of the plant, it has direct influence with the variation in chemical constituents of the plants.  The region where the plants grow has also influence in the chemical constituents of the plants.
  25. Songklanakarin J. Sci. Technol. 33 (2), 193-199, Mar. - Apr. 2011  The results showed that total saponin contents in Brahmi were the highest in rainy season while the weight yield of Brahmi was the highest in summer. Ages of Brahmi (1-4 months) slightly affected total saponin content.  High level of total saponins (1.91±0.48% w/w) was detected at the shoot of Brahmi.  These findings indicate that the saponin quantity is affected by seasons and the distribution of the saponins is different in each part of the plant.
  26. Effect of Agro climatic factors on secondary metabolite production in plants Sr. No. Parameters Plant specie Effect on secondary metabolites 1. Altitude Chrysanthemum cinerarifolium At higher altitudes(1900-2700m) gives best yield of flowers and pyrethrines(Trease et al, 1992) Cinchona succiruba At lower altitude plant grows well but produces no alkaloid(Trease et al, 1992) Gentiana lutea Bitter constituents increase with altitude(Trease et al, 1992) 2. Temperature Nicotiana rustica The mean optimum temperature for nicotine production is 280C(Trease et al.) 3. Diurnal variation and type of radiation Bryophyllum pinnatum A dark adapted plant contains more polyphenols in leaves(Yogeswaran) Datura stramonium Long exposure to intense sunlight results in sharp increase in Hyoscine content at the time of flowering 4. Fertilizers Dioscorea spp. Apart from application of N,P and K, application of , Ca, Mg increases productivity as well as diosgenin content(Mishra 1992) Cymbopogon winterianus The Geraniol and Citronellol content of Citronella Java oil is highly affected by NPK application(Mishra 1992) Catharanthus roseus Spraying foliar nutrients like Fe, Cu, Zn and B either individually or in combination at pre-flowering stage increases the total alkaloid content of leaves, stem and roots(Mishra 1992) 5. Soil Atropa belladonna Linn Soil pH 6 and higher causes better accumulation of alkaloids in leaves
  27. Ontogenetic variations in some secondary metabolites in plants Sr. No. Plant species Ontogenetic variation 1. Artemissia annua Artemisinin content is maximum at the 16 week harvest (early flowering stage) and declines in harvested later(Farooqi et al.) 2. Salvia officinalis Oil obtained in flowering stage greatly differs in composition than at vegetative stage 3. Alpinia galanga Maximum amount of cineole is found in oil at 42 months after planting 4. Digitalis purpurea Glycoside content varies with age. Purpurea glycoside A is formed terminally and its content increase upto 50% of total glycosides 5. Ammi visnaga Khellin and Visnagin contents are maximum in unripe fruit 6. Mentha piperata Menthone:Menthol ratio is minimum at the end of flowering 7. Ipomoea violacea Lysergic acid amide:chanoclavine ratio increases as the seed matures
  29. Collection And Processing of Crude Drugs  After collection of the crude drugs, they are required to be processed prior to marketing.  The reasons for preparation of drugs are to stabilize them in transport and storage and to ensure the absence of foreign organic matter and substitutes.  Market preparation of crude drugs also takes care of pharmaceuticals elegance.
  30. Collection And Processing of Crude Drugs  While preparing drug for commerce, several methods are adopted to meet the standard pharmacopoeia requirements.  Generally, these methods include proper methods of collection, harvesting, drying and garbling.
  31. Collection And Processing of Crude Drugs  Sometimes, coating and bleaching are also necessary for converting the drug into suitable form for the market.  While doing so, it could be observed that neither the action of the drug is lowered down nor it is changed, due to additives used in the process.
  32. COLLECTION  Irrespective of the type of crude drug and area of collection, there cannot be two opinions that the drugs are collected suitably when they contain maximum concentration of active constituents.  The advantage of existing environmental conditions is also taken into consideration while collecting the crude drugs.  The drugs which constitute leaf and flowering tops of plants are collected just before they reach their flowering stage(maturity); e.g., senna, digitalis, vinca, belladonna, etc, while the leaves of aloe are collected when they are sufficiently thick.
  33.  Flowers need to be collected just before pollination or many a times, before their full expansion. e.g. saffron, clove buds, chamomile, arnica, etc,  They are collected in dry weather and preferably during morning hours.  Barks are generally collected in spring or early summer when cambium is active, as it is easy to detach them form the stem.  Sometimes, they are collected in autumn (wild cherry) or in rainy season (cinnamon).
  34.  Three different methods for collecting barks are  (i) felling,  (ii) uprooting and  (iii) coppicing.  In felling method, the tree is cut at base and bark is peeled out.  In uprooting technique, the roots are dug out and bark is stripped off from roots and branches.  In coppicing method, the plant is allowed to grow for a definite period and then it is cut off at specific distance from soil.
  35.  The stumps which remain in ground are allowed to send shoots, which develop further independently yielding aerial parts.  These new parts are cut off and bark is collected from shoots.  As compared to other methods of collection of bark, this technique is more economical and less time-consuming.  It is, therefore, the method of choice for collecting barks commercially.  Cascara and Cinnamon are collected by this method.
  36.  The fruits are collected depending upon the part of the fruits used.  They are collected either ripe of half ripe, but fully grown.  For example, cardamom fruits are collected just before their dehiscence; bael and tamarind, after their, full maturity, while caraway, fennel and coriander are collected, when they are fully ripe.
  37.  The roots are collected in spring, before the vegetative process stops.  Usually, the roots are sliced transversely or longitudinally to facilitate drying.  Rhizomes are collected, when they store ample of reserve food material and also contain maximum content of chemical constituents.
  38.  The unorganized drugs such as resins, gums, latices are collected, as soon as, they ooze out of the plant.  Acacia gum is collected 2-3 weeks after making incisions on the bark of the tree and when it is sufficiently hard.  Opium and papaya latices are collected after coagulation of latex.
  39. HARVESTING  Harvesting is an important operation in cultivation technology, as it reflects upon economic aspects of the crude drugs.  An important point which needs attention over here is the type of drug to be harvested and the pharmacopoeial standards which it needs to achieve.  Harvesting can be done efficiently in every respect by the skilled workers.  Selectivity is of advantage in that the drugs other than genuine, but similar in appearance can be rejected at the site of collection.  It is, however, a laborious job and may not be economical.
  40.  In certain cases, it cannot be replaced by any mechanical means, e.g. digitalis, tea, vinca and senna leaves  The underground drugs like roots, rhizomes, tubers, etc. are harvested by mechanical devices, such as diggers or lifters.  The tubers or roots are thoroughly washed in water to get rid of earthy- matter.  Drugs which constitute all aerial parts are harvested by binders for economic reasons.
  41.  Many a times, flowers, seeds and small fruits are harvested by a special device known as seed stripper.  The technique of beating plant with bamboos is used in case of cloves.  Peppermint and spearmint are harvested by normal method with mowers, whereas fennel, coriander and caraway plants are uprooted and dried.  After drying, either they are thrashed or beaten and the fruits are separated by winnowing.  Sometimes, reaping machines are also used for their harvesting.
  42. Seed stripper
  43. Reaping machine
  44. Reaper and binder