Standardization of Medicinal Plants and their Herbal Products and Functional Foods

Document Type : Review Article


1 M.Sc. Student, Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemical Technologies, Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant professor, Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemical Technologies, Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran


In the last decade acceptance and popularity of using medicinal plants, herbal medicines and functional foods have increased in both developed and developing countries. The Efficacy of herbal products is dependent on the appropriate concentration of active ingredients during processing, storage and consumption. Standardization of medicinal plants and herbal products means adjusting the herbal products preparation to a defined content of a constituent known therapeutic activity that cause herbal products be safe, potent, effective and stable. Standardization should encompass the entire field of study from cultivation of medicinal plant to its clinical applications. Biological and chemical contaminants should be limited as much as possible in herbal compounds. Quality, safety and efficacy of herbal products are influenced by contaminates such as microorganisms, heavy metals, pesticides and etc. Many testing procedures have been performed for determination of the residue of pesticides, toxic metals and microbial count to minimize their effect on the final products. Chromatographic and spectroscopic methods have important roles in quality control of herbal products. Because of the importance of standardization in the quality control of medicinal plants and their herbal products, in this review article, the standardization of medicinal plants and their herbal products due to the physical, biological and chemical aspects has been discussed.


Main Subjects

 [1] Ahmad, I., Ahmad Khan, M.S., Cameotra, S.S. (2014). Quality assessment of herbal drugs and medicinal plant products. Enc. Anal. Chem., 1–17.
[2] Choudhary, N., Singh Sekhon, B. (2011). An overview of advances in the standardization of herbal drugs. J. Pharm. Educ. Res., 2(2), 55-70.
[3] Bent, S. (2008). Herbal medicine in the United States: Review of efficacy, safety and regulation. J. Gen. Intern. Med., 23(6), 854-859.
[4] Bigliardi, B., Galati, F. (2013). Innovation trends in the food industry: the case of functional foods. Trends Food Sci. Tech., 31(2), 118–129.
[5] Benzie I.F., Choi, S.W. (2014). Antioxidants in food: content, measurement, significance, action, cautions, caveats, and research needs. Adv. Food Nutr. Res., 71, 1-53.
[6] Sanaullah Khan, R., Grigor, J., Winger, R., Win, A. (2013). Functional food product development - Opportunities and challenges for food manufacturers. Trends Food Sci. Tech., 30, 27-37.
[7] Kunle, O.F., Egharevba, H.O., Ahmadu, P.O. (2012). Standardization of herbal medicines-A review. Int. J. Biodivers. Conserv., 4(3), 101-112.
[8] Mosihuzzaman, M., Iqbal Choudhary, M., (2008). Protocols on safety, efficacy, standardization, and documentation of herbal medicine. Pure Appl. Chem., 80(10), 2195-2230.
[9] Ekka, N.R., Namdeo, K.P., Samal, P.K. (2008). Standardization strategies for herbal drugs-An overview. Research J. Pharm. Tech., 1(14), 310-312.
[10] Sahoo, N., Manchikanti, P., Dey, S. (2010). Herbal drugs: Standards and regulation. Fitoterapia, 81, 462-471.
[11] WHO. Quality control methods for medicinal plant materials, 1998a. URL Accessed 23.2.2015.
[12] Govindaraghavan, S., Sucher, N.J. (2015). Quality assessment of medicinal herbs and their extracts: Criteria and prerequisites for consistent safety and efficacy of herbal medicines, Epilepsy Behav, doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.03.004.
[13] WHO. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants, 1999. URL . Accessed 23.2.2015
[14] Jayaran Kumar, K. (2011). Bottle necks in standardization of traditional system of medicines, Res. J. Med. Plants, 5(4), 443-447.
[15] Thirumalai, D., paridhavi, M., Gowtham, M. (2011). An overview of standardization of herbal drugs. Int. J. Rev. Life Sci., 1(3), 167-170.
[16] Heng, M.Y., Tan, S.N., Hong Yong, J.W., Shi Ong, E. (2013). Emerging green technologies for the chemical standardization of botanicals and herbal preparations, TRAC- Trend. Anal. Chem., 50, 1–10.
[17] Zhang, J., Wider, B., Shang, H., Li, X., Ernst, E. (2012). Quality of herbal medicines: Challenges and solutions, Complement. Ther. Med., 20, 100–106.
[18] Ong, E. S., (2004). Extraction methods and chemical standardization of botanicals and herbal preparations. J. Chromatogr B., 812, 23–33.
[19] Jiang, Y., David, B., Tu, P., Barbin, Y. (2010). Recent analytical approaches in quality control of traditional Chinese medicines-a review. Anal. Chim. Acta, 657, 9-18.
[20] Yang, L., Wu, D., Tang, X., Peng, W., Wang, X., Ma, Y., Su, W.,(2005). Fingerprint quality control of Tianjihuang by high-performance liquid chromatography–photodiode array detection. J. Chromatogr A., 1070, 35–42.
[21] Li, S.P., Zhao, J., Yang, B. (2011). Strategies for quality control of Chinese medicines. J. Pharm. Biomed Anal., 55, 802-9.
[22] Xie, P., Chen, S., Liang, Y., Wang, X., Tian, R., Upton, R. (2006). Chromatographic fingerprint analysis-a rational approach for quality assessment of traditional Chinese herbal medicine. J. Chromatogr A., 1112, 171–180.
[23] Xie, P., Leung, A.Y. (2009). Understanding the traditional aspect of Chinese medicine in order to achieve meaningful quality control of Chinese Materia Medica. J. Chromatogr A., 1216, 1933–1940.
[24] Asghari, Gh.R., Palizban, A.A., Tolue-Ghamari, Z., Adeli, F. (2008). Contamination of cadmium, lead and mercury on Iranian herbal medicines. Pharm. Sci., 1, 1-8.
[25] Rodrigues, M.V.N., Reyes, F.G.R., Rehder, V.L.G., Rath, S. (2005). An SPME–GC–MS method for determination of organochlorine pesticide residues in medicinal plant infusions. Chromatographia, 61, 291–297.