Extraction of Bioactive compounds from medicinal plants.
In today’s arena, Herbal medicine or medicine extracted from medicinal plants have found their way in ailing many diseases when compared with Synthetic drugs. In recent years their utilization has increased rapidly and accounted for a significant percentage in the medicine market. Even the WHO (World Health Organization) supports the use of medicinal plants and introduced measures to ensure the quality of the Herbal medicines using modern techniques such as Chromatography and for manufacturing practices.
Isolation of Natural products from plants
Natural products are the components or substances that are produced from natural sources such as plants. These products which occur naturally have an impact on human life and therefore, used as Medicines, dietary supplements and in cosmetics.
The components of plants that have medicinal value and healing properties are called as Bioactive compounds and they undergo a series of the process called as Extraction, Isolation, and Characterization. Column Chromatography procedure for plant extracts is one such technique for isolating and identifying the Bioactive compound using a stationary phase such as Silica gel or Alumina. Before Isolation and extraction, identification of the bioactive compound is done based on a method called as Fingerprint which defines the character and gives complete information about a specific plant. Fingerprint analysis gives an accurate identification with similar peaks and is helpful in determining the intrinsic quality of the Bioactive compound.
Isolation of bioactive compounds from plants.
The Development of analytical techniques has to lead to a qualitative as well as quantitative analysis of Isolation of bioactive compounds from Plants which are herbs with a complicated system of mixtures formed through various pathways. Chromatography is one such analytical technique used for the authentication and identification of bioactive compound in a plant and is readily available.High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is a most extensively used application in Pharmaceutical industries for the isolation and purification of bioactive compounds from medicinal plants. This application requires larger stainless steel Columns packed with normal Phase Silica which not only isolates but also gives information about the sample containing new synthetic products. This is the very helpful technique for a pharmaceutical industry to introduce a new product into the market within a less timeframe.
Many more feasible techniques are emerging to control the quality of the bioactive compounds by using Solid phases such as Silica Gel with less particle size and shorter Column size. Ultra High-Performance Chromatography(UHPLC) is such a technique which is gaining momentum because of its enhanced selectivity and decreased analysis time, in isolating bioactive compounds from medicinal plants.
Some of the Bioactive Compounds and Medicinal Plants
- Atropine is a Bioactive compound isolated from Atropa Belladonna by HPLC technique for preparing analgesic and sleeping potions.
- Isolation of an extraction of Quinidine quinine, a bioactive compound from Cortex cinchona by HPLC method for treating Arthritis.
- Isolation and extraction of Ephedrine Norephedrine bioactive compound from Ephedra Sinica by Liquid Chromatography Technique for treating Asthma, Narcolepsy, and Obesity.
- Isolation and extraction of Quercetin Kaempferol bioactive compound from Ginko Biloba by Column Chromatography on Silica gel or HPLC for cancer treatment.
- Isolation and extraction of Rhein Emodin bioactive compound from Rheum Palmatum by HPLC analysis which is used for Inflammatory diseases and hepatitis.
- Chromatographic analyses of natural volatiles from Tasmanian blue gum and fennel for resolving breathing problems
- Through Ion exchange chromatography, Hydrophilic and Lipophilic extraction of bioactive compound from Conabiola for treating skin problems
Isolation of secondary metabolites from plants
The metabolites which are essential for plant growth and development are considered as Primary metabolites, whereas the metabolites produced by the plant which are highly diverse in the structure are considered as Secondary Metabolites. These metabolites are bio-synthetic in origin and are classified into four different categories.
- Alkaloids: These metabolites contain Nitrogen group and are extracted and isolated by HPLC Column Chromatography.
- Phenylpropanoids: These metabolites contain aromatic compounds and are isolated by various Chromatographic techniques.
- Polyketides: These metabolites are biosynthetic in origin, and their isolation and detection are carried by Liquid Chromatography or HPLC.
- Terpenoids: These metabolites are the largest class of natural products in plants, and is extracted and isolated by Silica gel Column Chromatography.
Pigment extraction from plants
The pigment is a molecule which has an ability to absorb the color and reflect the color which is abundantly found in Plant Tissues. Pigments obtained from plants are of utmost importance in day to day life as they are used -for coloring foods, in medicines, in plastics, in fabrics, in cosmetics. Many types of research have also proved that consumption of diet which is rich in plant pigment slows the cellular aging.They have features such as resistant to high heat, chemical agents and different weather conditions that made them popular and lead to extensive usage. Therefore Pigment extraction from plants can be accomplished through Analytical techniques among which Chromatography is considered as the best technique and the pigments which are of interest in Pharmaceutical and Nutritional research are said to be –Anthocyanins, Beta-carotene, Curcumin, Lutein, Lycopene, Zeaxanthin.