Plant Products

3.1 Plant Products
Many countries in the world have a ‘God-gifted’ natural reserve of medicinal plants. Because of their judicious and cautious administration by the expertise of indigenous-systems of medicine people could survive and thus explore and conquer the world as per the historical evidence. In the past, lack of knowledge, non-availability of adequate storage facilities and proper scientific means and methods of cultivation and collection a good number of useful medicinal plants almost reached a point of not only depletion but also extinction. With the advent of scientific knowledge abundantly available these medicinal plants are now grown in an organised fashion whereby proper identification, right cultivation, due harvesting in the correct time of the year to yield maximum desired chemical constituents, and adequate prevention from spoilage and infestation due to improper storage. Nowadays, plant-extracts are available commercially across the globe so that these may be incorporated duly in several tried and tested herbal preparations. Various advanced ‘analytical methods’ help a long-way in establishing the true picture of their quality, for instance: percentage of Eugenol present in Clove oil determines its quality; percentage of Cineol in Eucalyptus oil shows its purity; percentage of Total Alkaloids in Datura stramonium depicts its medicinal value.
A few countries in the world are noted for their supply of certain specialized plant extracts, namely:
India : Opium extracts;
China : Extract of Artemisia annuna;
United States : Ginkgbo biloba extracts (GBE)
Korea, Japan : Panax ginseng extracts;
Madagascar : Catharnthus roseus extracts;
Eastern Europe : Ergot produced by mechanical inoculation of rye plants with spores of a selected fungus.


REFERENCES
Ashutosh Kar (2003), Pharmacognosy and Pharmaco biotechnology, 2nd Edition
‘Handbook of Medicinal Herbs’ (2001), J.A. Duke, CRC-Press, London, 1st Edn.
William Charles Evans (2002), Trease and Evans Pharmacognosy 15th Edition by: Trease, Bailliere Tindall; Evans.
Ramstad (1956), E., ‘Modern Pharmacognosy’, McGraw Hill, London.

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