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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 99--100

Herbal drug research in India: A trend analysis using IJP as a marker (1995 August 2003)

Vishal Tandon, B Kapoor, BM Gupta 
 Post Graduate Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics GMC, Jammu - 180001, India

Correspondence Address:
Vishal Tandon
Post Graduate Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics GMC, Jammu - 180001

How to cite this article:
Tandon V, Kapoor B, Gupta B M. Herbal drug research in India: A trend analysis using IJP as a marker (1995 August 2003).Indian J Pharmacol 2004;36:99-100

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Tandon V, Kapoor B, Gupta B M. Herbal drug research in India: A trend analysis using IJP as a marker (1995 August 2003). Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2004 [cited 2023 Jun 4 ];36:99-100
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Herbal medicines are the oldest remedies known to mankind. Herbs had been used by all cultures throughout history but India has one of the oldest, richest and most diverse cultural living traditions associated with the use of medicinal plants.[1] In the present scenario, the demand for herbal products is growing exponentially throughout the world and major pharmaceutical companies are currently conducting extensive research on plant materials for their potential medicinal value. In many journals, national and international, we find an increasing number of research publications based on herbal drugs. Many analysis-based studies regarding pharmacological research in India[2],[3],[4] have been conducted in the past. Out of these, one study[3] has shown an upward trend in indigenous drug research but there are only few studies on the exclusive analysis of herbal drug research in India. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to analyze the recent trends of herbal drug research in India keeping the Indian Journal of Pharmacology as a marker. The issues of the Indian Journal of Pharmacology from 1995 to August 2003 were reviewed manually in the central library of Govt. Medical College, Jammu, and the Herbal Drug Research Trend Index (HDRTI) was worked out for presentations at IPS conferences as well as for paper publications in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology. Abstracts of the annual IPS conferences and articles (full communications/short communications/letters/correspondence) published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology were reviewed in the present study. HDRTI was worked out as a three-year average percentile of herbal drug research for both the parameters respectively.[4] For this, yearly data were collected first and then a three-year average percentage of herbal drug research for the parameters was calculated for the years (1995-1997), (1998-2000) and (2001 to August 2003) by dividing the total percentage for three-year herbal drug research by number of years.

Herbal medicines form a major part of remedies in traditional medical systems such as Ayurveda, Rasa Sidha, Unani, and Naturopathy. Hence all animal and clinical studies on herbal medicines were reviewed. The data for the years 1981-1983 were taken as baseline for the comparison of recent herbal drug research trends.

The present study showed that interest has increased in herbal drug research in India, which supported the findings of Adithan (1996),[3] with maximum utilization of the phytotherapeutic approach wherein crude plant preparations were used. The maximum work was observed with polyherbal preparations.

The results are shown in [Table:1].

 Presentations at IPS conferences

The study revealed a steady increase in HDRTI of presentations at IPS conferences from 21.2% (1995-1997), and 21.8% (1998-2000) to a maximum of 27.6% (2001-August-2003), which was 32.3% more as compared with the baseline HDRTI.

 Research publications in IJP

The HDRTI of research publications in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology increased from 22% (1995-1997), and 22.6% (1998-2000) to a maximum of 26.2% (2001-August-2003) which in comparison to the baseline HDRTI recorded a 58.9% increase.

This inclination seems to be a result of people all over the world looking to various alternative systems of medicine, especially herbal drugs which are claimed to be safe, equally effective in comparison to allopathic drugs and which provide some answer to chronic diseases. Secondly, either these herbal drugs are marketed with exaggerated claims or in some cases are credited with innumerable pharmacological activities which are not mentioned in the text of various traditional systems of medicine. Thirdly, if we compare the strength and weaknesses of herbal medicines with those of modern medicines we find that herbal medicines have a strong traditional or conceptual base and the potential to be useful as drugs in terms of safety and effectiveness but they lack an experimental base and therefore have second class status whereas modern medicines have a very strong experimental basis for their use but are potentially toxic. Thus, it seems, to get a new class of drugs, the researchers are increasingly blending the traditional knowledge with modern experimental methodology for testing the efficacy and safety of herbal drugs. Hence, it is for the readers to decide whether this shift of focus in research interests from allopathic to herbal drugs is desirable for better health care of mankind or not.

In conclusion, the present study revealed an upward trend of herbal drug research in India over the last ten years.


1Bhatt N, editor. Ayurvedic drug industry (challenges of today and tomorrow). Proceeding of the first national symposium of ayurvedic drug industry organised by (ADMA). Ayurvedic, New Delhi sponsored by Department of Indian System of Medicine of HOM, Ministry of Health, Govt of India; 1998 Aug; New Delhi; 1999.
2Dandiya PC, Bapna JS. Pharmacological research in India. Ann Rev Pharmacol 1974;14:115-26.
3Adithan C. Pharmacological research in India, 1972-1995 - An analysis based on IPS conferences. Indian J Pharmacol 1996;28:125-8.
4Singh H. Steady decline in clinical pharmacology research in India - A decade trend-analysis of IJP research publications (1990-1999). Abstracts of XXXIII annual conference of IPS, 2000. Indian J Pharmacol 2001;33:51-70.