Bar-coding of Plants can help find out Adulteration in Herbal Medicines

Enviroment Health

The demand of medicinal plants has increased during the corona-period due to increasing importance of Ayurveda.

Everyone is not only aware about “immunity”, companies producing herbal products have started launching different products that increase and strengthen immunity. Under this “touch and rush” condition companies producing herbal medicines are feared to use sub-standard ingredients having similar properties.

So far we did not have any technique to catch the mixing of sub-standard ingredients in herbal medicines. But, now the bar-code prepared from the DNA (Deoxy -ribose Nucleic acid)of plants is supposed to catch the mixing of sub-standard ingredients in herbal medicines. This technique has been developed by Dr. Kirty Tantavay, the Assistant Professor of the Centre for Bio-technology, Jawaharlal Nehru Agricultural University (JNAU) of Jabal Pur, Madhya Pradesh. Her research has got patent from the Government of India.

It is through the Bar-coding technique that not only any plant can be correctly identified; it will become easy to identify any specific plant looking similar to some other plant.

Samples collected from 8 states

Dr. Sharad Tiwari, Director of Centre for Biotechnology has revealed that the research was done on preparing Bar-code from the DNA of the Cyprus plant. Dr. Kirty and her team collected samples of about 50 varieties of Cyprus from 8 states of the country. Out of these, studies were done on 10 species and DNA of these species was discovered in the laboratory. After this, the Bar-code was prepared with the help of software. In the bar-code all the information was stored related to characteristics of the plant.

Recently, the application of the Cyprus is mainly being done in China and Japan. Different species of Cyprus are used in the treatment of asthma, stomach diseases and pains of joints.

Importance of the Research

There are different types of herbal medicines in the market. Many of them have costly ingredients, and companies producing these medicines do not use these ingredients in the original forms. Rather, these companies combine substitutes of these costly ingredients. It is through this technique of bar-coding that information regarding the actual combination of any ingredient in original can be collected.

The Work of Consumers

Dr. Kirty Tantavay is of the opinion that consumers of a particular medicine can find out the actual composition of that medicine on the basis of bar-code, the bar-code prepared with the help of DNA of plants can be read out with the help of bar-code. It is through this method that the DNA of the ingredients of a particular medicine can be identified through bar-coding. If bar-code gives different information, it can be assured that the medicine has the faulty mixing of ingredients.

It is through this technique that bar-code for every plant can be prepared with the help of its DNA. This process is like that of the process used for making UID of a person. Now the DNA of a plant can be used to find out characteristics and importance of a plant and information about that plant can be bar-coded easily. The patent of the research is a great achievement of the University.

Key Words : Bar-coding of Plants, Adulteration in Herbal Medicines, DNA, UID, Patent,

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