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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 55  |  Page : 213-226

Development of internet technology TIPHAM (Tool for identity of Powdered Herbals through Analytical Microscopy) for microscopic identification of crude herbal drugs

Department of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, School of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Vidhu Aeri
Department of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, School of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi - 110 062
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/pm.pm_563_17

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Background: Industrial usage of herbal plants has gone up, but techniques for verifying their botanical identity is still questionable. In the herbal industry, bulk consignments are received in powdered form as it is cumbersome to transport drugs in whole form. To ensure that the final product is safe and efficacious, the authenticity of the herbal plant should be established at the first stage. A proper methodology should be adopted in terms of computer technology to establish the correct botanical identity of the plant and to check the presence of substitutes and adulterants. Objective: To develop a software for identification of powdered samples of leaves and barks used in Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India along with their substitutes and adulterants. Materials and Methods: Almost 100 plants have been selected from the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India comprising 54 barks and 46 leaves. Samples were self-collected and authenticated from the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, Pusa, New Delhi. The selected crude herbal drugs were subjected to a detailed powdered microscopic identification and standard operating procedure for the preparation of slides was prepared. The features selected for identification of bark included14 specific characters - stone cells, calcium oxalate crystals, starch grains, medullary rays, fibers, sclereids, cork, isolated oil cells, tubular lactiferous canals, phloem parenchyma, masses, rhytidoma, parenchyma, and secretory canals. These characters are further differentiated into 75 features and 151 subfeatures, whereas for leaves, 13 specific characters were included, namely, epidermis, stomata, trichomes, calcium oxalate crystals, fibers, cell contents, cystoliths, lamina, starch grains, tracheids, lactiferous canals, and xylem vessels which are differentiated into 139 features. The details of all the features have been uploaded in the software under the name tool for identity of powdered herbals through analytical microscopy (www.tipham.com) with the database of 100 selected drugs. Results: A computer-based approach is developed which contains standard requirements for powdered plant parts, thus enabling identification of a bark or leaf powder in short time with minimum expertise. Conclusion: Computer-based technology would be a landmark in the field of pharmacognosy as proper identification of plant is the key to develop quality herbal products ensuring their safety and efficacy. Abbreviations used: μm: Micrometer; AHP: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia; DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid; GMP: Good Manufacturing Practices; ICMR: Indian Council of Medical Research; Id: Identity Document; IT: Information Technology; MICROAID: Microaided Identification; MP: Megapixel; NA: Not Applicable; NISCAIR: National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources; TIPHAM: Tool for Identity of Powdered Herbals through Analytical Microscopy; TLC: Thin-Layer Chromatography; UK: United Kingdom; WHO: World Health Organization.

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