Natural products from medicinal plants, either as pure compounds or as standardized extracts, provide unlimited opportunities for new drug leads because of the unmatched availability of chemical diversity. Due to an increasing demand for chemical diversity in screening programs, seeking therapeutic drugs from natural products, interest particularly in edible plants has grown throughout the world. Botanicals and herbal preparations for medicinal usage contain various types of bioactive compounds. The focus of this paper is on the analytical methodologies, which include the extraction, isolation and characterization of active ingredients in botanicals and herbal preparations. The common problems and key challenges in the extraction, isolation and characterization of active ingredients in botanicals and herbal preparations are discussed. As extraction is the most important step in the analysis of constituents present in botanicals and herbal preparations, the strengths and weaknesses of different extraction techniques are discussed. The analysis of bioactive compounds present in the plant extracts involving the applications of common phytochemical screening assays, chromatographic techniques such as HPLC and, TLC as well as non-chromatographic techniques such as immunoassay and Fourier Transform Infra Red (FTIR) are discussed.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.