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J Res Educ Indian Med . 2007; 13(1): 7-16


DNA FINGERPRINTING : A NEW PHARMACOGNOSTIC TOOL FOR STANDARDIZATION OF HERBALS

SHRIVASTAVA S, DUBEY D, SHWETA K, SANJAY J, DUBEY P.K.

Abstract
Herbal medicines have been used since the dawn of civilization to maintain health and to treat diseases. They are now available not only in drug stores, but also in food stores and supermarkets. The World Health Organization estimated that about three-quarters of the world’s population currently use herbs and other forms of traditional medicine to treat their diseases. One of the most serious hazards associated with herbal medicine is that consumers mistakenly assume that since herbs are obtained from nature,they must be safe. Therefore, the efficacy and safety of herbal drugs is very crucial. Thereis a need to ponder over some basic issues such as authentication and standardization of plants with their parts, acceptable impurities, contaminants etc. before advocating herbal medicines. Recently researchers explored the utility of DNA-based techniques for authentication, detection of adulteration/substitution, breeds, selection of desirablenesses of plant species of medicinal importance. Routine pharmacology childproofing mainly addresses organoleptic parameters and characterization of crude drugs. Biotechnology driven the new pharmacognostic techniques which includes all the aspects of drug development and discovery. An optimal characterization of herbal materialsis possible by integrating the chemo type fingerprinting with genotype molecular techniques.This review provides a brief account of various DNA-based technologies that are useful in standardization of herbals with suitable examples.

Key words: Herbal medicine, Deoxyribonucleic acid, Fingerprinting, Standardization.



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