Frontiers in Natural Product Chemistry

Volume: 11

Herbal Drug Substitution (Abhava-Pratinidhi Dravya): A Key to Stopping Economic Adulteration of Botanical Ingredients

Author(s): Arun Shivakumar, Atul Namdeorao Jadhav*, Ashok Basti Krishnaiah and Rangesh Paramesh

Pp: 73-99 (27)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815136593123110005

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Dwindling of natural resources coupled with the rising demand for several botanical ingredients in the Indian subcontinent and global market has led to scarcity and extensive adulteration. This may result in altered safety and efficacy of several single and polyherbal Ayurvedic formulations. Foreseeing this, Ayurveda experts have decided to use alternate herbal ingredients with similar properties. Such ingredients are known as Pratinidhi (a substitute) and are used in medicinal preparations. Because of the unavailability of a particular herb or the availability of the herb at a prohibitive cost, the usage of substitutes is necessary. This concept of substitution of herbs in Ayurvedic medicines is quite an elaborate and popular practice. In commerce, there are some predominant herbs whose substitutes or adulterants are also being traded. These substitutes belong to the same or different genera or cultivar species and may or may not have similar phytochemical constituents. This also relates to the use mentioned in the authoritative texts of Ayurveda and their modern pharmacological responses and safety. Ayurvedic system of medicine has an in-depth biochemical classification of herbs, based on which substitutes can be deduced. In addition, ancient texts have mentioned alternate herbs for some key ingredients. In the present article, we are discussing commercially significant herbs, viz. Ativisha, Bala, Guduchi and Vidanga. These herbs have diverse clinical usage in Ayurveda and are reported to have properties such as immunomodulatory, anti-pyretic, anti-oxidant and anthelmintic. Based on this concept, the development of standard protocols for highly traded botanical ingredients will help the healthcare industry to meet the quality standards for medicinal products. Using substitute herbs will majorly reduce the overexploitation of natural resources and help bring balance to the ecosystem.

Keywords: Adulterant, Ativisha, Bala, Bioactive Constituent, Endangered Herbs, Guduchi, Herbal Trade, Herbal Medicine, IUCN, Pharmacology, Phytochemical Constitution, Pratinidhi, Substitute, Vidanga.

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