The Gulf Today
Resmi Sivaram, New Delhi
Monday, June
05, 2006

Scientist sets standard for Ayurvedic drugs

An NRI scientist-cum-entrepreneur has launched a pioneering initiative to standardise Ayurvedic herbs which will go a long way in setting quality standards for drugs and formulations in the context of this alternative system of medicine gaining global popularity.

Dr Muhammed Majeed, who has to his credit 23 patented products used for prevention and cure of a wide variety of ailments, is all set to release 'reference standards' in regard to 100 ayurvedic herbs next month.

The US-based scientist has involved his lab facilities in the US, Bangalore and Frankfurt for the standardization activities in the past three years. However, a major chunk of the works were done at his facilities at the Bangalore-based Sami Labs, which has an annual turnover of nearly Rs 500 crore.

"These reference standards will be available to the industry for standardizing their products," Dr Majeed said here today, pointing out that lack of reference standards made it difficult for conforming quality of ayurvedic drugs.

The standardisation of herbs will result in removal of toxic components, besides helping to ensure a 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 geography to geography.

For example, a piece of turmeric cultivated in one place would have five per cent of its active ingredient called 'curcumin." But this would be less in one which is cultivated elsewhere, he explains. The first batch of Sami Labs' reference standards would include important herbs and herbal extracts like Boswellia Serrata, Guggul, Adhatoda Vasaka, Picrorhiza Kurroa, Terminalia Arjuna, Curcuminoids and Pterocarpus Marsupium.

Dr Majeed, a pioneer in herbal extract standardisation 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, to be launched in August.

At present, Dr Majeed has medicinal plant cultivation in nearly 15,000 hectares in Tamil Nadu and Kerala by engaging nearly 10,000 farmers.

Dr Majeed, a native of Kollam in Kerala, said his company would release reference standards in respect of 50 more herbs by December this year.

He 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 the standardization of medicinal plants.

The AYUSH has engaged the Sami Labs to standardise 10 medicinal plants under its herb standardization programme.