Harvesting of Medicinal Plants in the Forest of Central India and its Impact on Quality of Raw Materials: A Case of Nagpur District, India
AbstractAdulteration and substitutions are frequent in raw material trade of medicinal plants. Several studies have been done for a number of important crude drug materials to distinguish the genuine material from adulterant. The efficient way to determine adulteration is through morphological and organoleptic studies. The objective of this study is to find out current harvesting methods, malpractices adopted by various stakeholders and ocular analysis of market samples, impacting quality of raw (dry) produce of selected species in market of Nagpur. In the natural forests Baibirang (Embelia ribes Burm.), Safed musli (mixed tubers of Chlorophytum borivilianum Baker, C. tuberosum Baker.), and Aonla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) were collected just after the rains at unripe stage. The ocular observations of the market sample of Aonla, Baibirang fruits, Safed musli tubers indicate that mixing of old and diseased parts of same species and other adulterants is rampant in the local market. Laboratory analysis shows that in one kilogram of market sample, more than 20% raw material was found adulterated in all the selected species except Bach (Acorus calamus L.). Most of the selected plants were found adulterated, both intentionally and unintentionally. Major reasons for poor quality are unripe harvesting, mixing of inferior and cheap plant parts, mis-identification of species, non-availability of plant parts in required quantity, etc.
Key words: Adulteration, quality, medicinal plants, harvesting, malpractices.
ECOPRINT 16: 35-42, 2009