Journal of Drug Research in Ayurvedic Sciences

Register      Login

VOLUME 5 , ISSUE 4 ( October-December, 2020 ) > List of Articles


Source Plant Identification for Ayurvedic Polyherbal Formulation: A Hypothetical Model-based Critical Review

Parvathy G Nair, Pratibha P Nair, Amit Kumar Dixit, Ranjita Ekka, Jayram Hazra

Keywords : Adulteration, Botanical source identification, Controversial medicinal plants, Polyherbal formulations, Virataradi Kashaya

Citation Information : Nair PG, Nair PP, Dixit AK, Ekka R, Hazra J. Source Plant Identification for Ayurvedic Polyherbal Formulation: A Hypothetical Model-based Critical Review. J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci 2020; 5 (4):249-258.

DOI: 10.5005/jdras-10059-0104

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 22-01-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd.


Background: Polyherbalism is one of the key traditional practices in Ayurveda to attain multi-therapeutic effectiveness. Vast numbers of polyherbal formulations (PHFs) are recorded in Ayurvedic lexicons but identification of many drugs in such formulations is in a state of controversy after numerous redactions and multiple commentaries resulting in many scribing errors and misinterpretations. At present, while manufacturing a PHF for commercial/research purpose, the standard guidelines are to be adopted from the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India (API) monograph. But the idea of using homonyms, a common practice in earlier times, gives a lead that drug identity in a formulation may have been fixed on the basis of desired therapeutic action considering other drugs in the combination. This paper aims at opening discussions on the need of ascertaining source plants specific to polyherbal formulations as against isolated identity fixation. Materials and methods: A polyherbal formulation Virataradi Kashaya was selected as the hypothetical model and an in-depth literary review of intertextual references of same in various Ayurvedic textbooks was undertaken to find out the controversial drugs and their probable botanical sources. Taking leads from such references along with supportive claims from folklore practices and preclinical studies, probable botanical sources were ascertained for inclusion. Observation and results: Through chronological screening of classical texts, all controversial drugs in Virataradi Kashaya were identified. Probable botanical sources suitable for inclusion in the formulation were determined to an extent based on the leads from literature, folklore claims, and preclinical studies. Virataradi kashaya marketed by two major pharmaceutical companies were also screened, which showed considerable variation in the ingredients used and also with the botanical sources identified as a part of this review. The findings are extrapolated to discuss the lacunas existing in identification of controversial drugs and to highlight the need of ascertaining botanical identities from the perspective of a PHF. Conclusion: Currently, nonuniformity of botanical ingredients in marketed formulations has become a major factor that questions the authenticity of Ayurvedic products. This is due to controversial identity of drugs in PHF resulting in usage of unjustified adulterants. Much work has been done in solving individual drug controversies through various analytical, pharmacological, and clinical studies but these cannot be pragmatically applied to all PHFs. Controversial drugs in PHFs are to be identified through a systematic literature study with due consideration to empirical clinical practices. This paper through a hypothetical model Virataradi Kashaya proposes methods that may be positively adopted to identify the botanical sources of controversial drugs in a PHF, which needs to be further ascertained by various preclinical and clinical studies.

PDF Share
PDF Share