Nanotechnology – Current Need of Ayurved

Herbal Drugs constitute a major share of all the officially recognised systems of health. More than 70% of India’s 1.1 billion populations still use these non-allopathic systems of medicine. Currently, near about 80 % of the world population use herbal medicine and World Health Organisation (WHO) also encourages, recommends and promotes the inclusion of herbal drugs in national health care programmes because such drugs are easily available at a price within the reach of common man and such are time tested and thus considered to be safer than modern synthetic drugs.

The therapeutic efficacy of medicines depends on the quality and purity of ingredients used in formulations. Ayurvedic formulations will be effective if they are prepared by using genuine drug. Several taxonomically unrelated plants are often used as one and the same raw drug. In recent time where the demand is high and original drug is becomes rare then the adulteration takes place and thus on the name of the original drug we are getting other drug, thus we don’t get the genuine drug. Report of the Committee headed by Dr. Bapalal Vaidya said that adulteration is common problem due to unavailability of original and genuine drugs.

These days Ayurved is commonly facing problems of availability, affordability of the drug. Ayurved healthcare system will not survive unless we maintain constant genuine supply of herbs. We can think of Novel Drug Delivery System which will increases the bioavailability, increases the therapeutic value of herbal drug, reduces required dose, reduces the repetitive administration and thereby help for preserving herbs.

Nanotechnology is an applied branch of basic science where particle size of the drug is reduced to Nanometric scale. This increases bio-availability of drug, increases palatability and reduces exploitation of plants. Many valuable species can be spared from becoming extinct. Thus Nanotechnology can be a boon to preserve medicinal plants. In herbal world, Nanotechnology has been applied on herbal extracts and efficacies were tested in China. Studies on Nano herbal extract showed equal efficacy to herbal extracts on lower Doses (near about 1/5th Dose), drug research is yet incomplete and not reached to clinical trials.

Ayurved uses crude whole herbal drug and not herbal extracts. Action of whole herbal drug is different than extracts. A Nano particle is a small object that behaves as a whole unit in terms of its transport and properties. In terms of diameter, fine particles cover a range between 100 and 2500 Nano meters, while ultrafine particles are sized between 1 and 100 Nano meters. Nano particles may or may not exhibit size-related properties that are seen in fine particles. Despite being the size of the ultrafine particles individual molecules are usually not referred to as Nano particles.

Nanoparticles may be created by using several methods. The methods of creation include attrition and pyrolysis. While some methods are bottoms up, some are called top down. Top down methods involve breaking the larger materials into Nanoparticles. Various methods are available in nano formation but in India mostly attrition and condensation methods are used. Attrition method involves bombardment of material with ball mills in all possible directions. In India, commonly Top down method with ball mills are used. Condension method with liquid Nitrogen are also used in some Institutes. Researchers are going for superior technique developments.

 Ancient Ayurvedic Acharya also thought of reduction in particle by the virtue of Peshan, Mardan etc. Samskaras. Bhasmikaran is an excellent example of soookshma medicine. Nanotechnology can be considered as one of the Anukta (untold) Samskaras which leads to Sookshmikaran. While producing Nano Drug, the machine produces, 1) Bombardment movement in all possible direction 2) Rotatary movement 3) Up- down movement 4) Internal small amount of heat production due to friction. So, Nano formation causes increase in Vayu, Teja, Aakash Mahabhuta and decrease in Prutvi and Jala mahabhuta. Internal frictional heat can not break strong covalent bond present in phytochemal aggrigates and hence

Nano formation changes the organoleptic properties but phytochemicals and properties of original drug remains same. Bhasmikaran involves new bond formation and new product formation. Various Bhasma contains metallic particles having micrometric size and having great potency at low doses. Bhasmikaran had different processes which lead to reduction in particle size. Reduced particle size increases bio availability of drugs and drugs shows eqipotent effect at lower dose. All over the world, the research has been going on herbal remedies and natural products.

The development of herbal remedies in the Drug delivery system in a number of institutes is being carried out at basic and clinical trial levels. This can be achieved by designing Novel Drug Delivery Systems (NDDS) for herbal constituents. NDDS not only reduce the repeated administration to overcome non-compliance but also help to increase the bioavailability. Incorporation of the herbal medicines into Novel formulation systems have certain added advantages, such as their bulk dosing and less absorption can be overcome which is the major problem being faced, enticing the attention of major pharmaceutical corporations.


More by :  Dr. Gayatri Kulkarni

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