Comparative powder microscopy on the barks of four Ficus species
The genus Ficus constitutes one of the largest genera of medicinal plants containing more than 800 species occurring in tropical and subtropical areas. The more famous species are Ficus bengalensis (Bargad), Ficus religiosa (Pipal), Ficus racemosa (Goolar) and Ficus lacor (Pakar). These plants are reported to possess antidiabetic, antidiarrhoeal, antiepilepsy, anti-inflammatory properties and are used in many Ayurvedic and traditional formulations. The barks of these species are usually interchanged or adulterated with other species of ficus due to limited knowledge of identification and differentiation. The slide preparation method was optimized to visualize common as well as distinguishing characters of the bark powder. The photomicrographs were taken with Motic microscope moticam 3.0 MP, AE 2000. The variation in the bark powder lies in size and shape of the stone cells and sclereids, their occurrence, type of wall and lumen. Most of the herbal drugs in the industry are supplied in powdered form. So, there are more chances of adulteration as it is very easy to spoil a drug in the powdered state. Industry emphasizes for powder microscopy as it is effortless. Hence, a detailed powder microscopy evaluation was carried out with an aim to establish diagnostic features to differentiate between these four bark powders.
Adulterants; Barks; Ficus; Herbal plants; Powder microscopy; Species.
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