Daily Excelsior
day, May 31, 2006

Indian labs to set trend in ayurvedic herb standardisation

In what is seen as a milestone in the effort to standardize Indian systems of medicine in the context of its growing global popularity, a Bangalore-based laboratory is releasing reference standards for herbs used for ayurvedic drugs and formulations.

“To begin with, we are releasing reference standards in regard to 100 ayurvedic herbs next month,” Sami Labs Chairman Muhammed Majeed told UNI on the sidelines of the World Haelth Assembly, organized by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

He said scientists in his laboratories in India and the US have succeded in setting standards for 100 ayurvedic herbs after three years of intensive research. Dr Majeed is in the forefront of medicinal plant cultivation by engaging nearly 10,000 farmers in his farms in different parts of the country.

“These reference standards will be available to the industry for standardizing their products,” Dr Majeed, an NRI based in the US, said, pointing out that lack of reference standards made it difficult for standardization of different ayurvedic drugs.

He said standardization of herbs was important because it sought to remove toxic components. It also would help to ensure desired percentage of “active ingredients” in drugs for its efficacy.

The percentage of active ingredients in herbs and spices like turmeric vary from season to season and geographically.

For example, a piece of turmeric cultivated in one place would have five percent of its active ingredient called ‘curcumin’. But this would be less in one which is cultivated elsewhere. The first batch of Sami Labs reference standard would include important herbs and herbal exgtracts like Boswellia Serrata, Guggul, Adhatoda Vasaka, Picrorhiza Kurroa, Terminalia Arjuna, Curcuminoids and Pterocarpus Marsupium.

Dr. Majeed, a pioneer in herbal extract standardization and is known for his contribution in educating the west about the efficacy of Ayurveda, said the details of the reference standards being released by his company would be available on the website samistandards.com.

He said his company would release reference standards in respect of 50 more herbs by December this year.

He also said his company was working in tandem with the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in standardization of medicinal plants.

The AYUSH has engaged the Sami Labs, whose turnover was Rs 480 crore last year, to standardize 10 medicinal plants under its herb standardization programme.

Dr Majeed, who has to his credit 23 patented products used for prevention and cure of a wide variety of ailments, said his company would now divert its research activities to expore newer medicinal plants.

“We have so far explored only 10 percent of the medicinal herbs. We have to explore the remaining 90 percent which may resolve the mysteries around several diseases afflicting human beings.” One of the patented products of Sami Labs is Forslean, a standardized extract from – Coleus Forskohlin – plant, the only known source of Forskohlin, used to promote lean body mass and in the treatment of mood disorders.

Gugulipid, another standardized extract prepared from the Oleo Gum Resin(gum resin) of – Commiphora Mukul, - an Indian medicinal tree has been clinically proven to reduce the levels of harmful serum lipids in the bloodstream.