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Preparation of Medicinal Plants

November 10, 2021

Medicinal plants are extracted and processed for direct consumption as herbal or traditional medicine or prepared for experimental purposes. The concept of preparation of medicinal plant for experimental purposes involves the proper and timely collection of the plant, authentication by an expert, adequate drying, and grinding. This is followed by extraction, fractionation, and isolation of the bioactive compound where applicable. In addition, it comprises determination of quantity and quality of bioactive compounds. Recently, plant as a source of medicine is gaining international popularity because of its natural origin, availability in local communities, cheaper to purchase, ease of administration, and perhaps less troublesome. Also, herbal medicine may be useful alternative treatment in case of numerous side effects and drug resistance.

Extraction of medicinal plants is a process of separating active plant materials or secondary metabolites such as alkaloids, flavonoids, terpenes, saponins, steroids, and glycosides from inert or inactive material using an appropriate solvent and standard extraction procedure. Plant materials with high content of phenolic compounds and flavonoids were found to possess antioxidant properties, and hence are used to treat age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinsonism, anxiety, and depression. Several methods were used in the extraction of medicinal plants such as maceration, infusion, decoction, percolation, digestion and Soxhlet extraction, superficial extraction, ultrasound-assisted, and microwave-assisted extraction.

​ In addition, thin-layer chromatography (TLC), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), paper chromatography (PC), and gas chromatography (GC) were used in separation and purification of the secondary metabolites. The choice of an appropriate extraction method depends on the nature of the plant material, solvent used, pH of the solvent, temperature, and solvent to sample ration. It also depends on the intended use of the final products. This study aimed to assess various solvents of extractions, methods of extraction, fractionation, purification, phytochemical screening, and identification of bioactive compounds in medicinal plants.