Pharmacognosy - medicinal plants (herbs)

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Theme V: Drug analysis methods

Drugs analysis methods

Visual examination and microscopic inspection of herbal drugs

The characteristics described for each plant must be met by the sample material as the first step to establish its identity and purity.


The macroscopic characteristics are all the morphological elements of the plant for which it´s needed to have well identified the botanical classification of the specimen.

microscopic inspection of herbal drugs

These features include the shape, size, color, texture, fracture aspects and surface characteristics that are useful to determine the identity and purity of the drug tested, either is received in the whole vegetal form or in a specific organ (root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit, seed).


Regarding powdered drug the microscopic analysis is essential. This analysis helps to identify the drug and is essential when you want to determine adulterants. To ensure identification of the medicinal plant, microscopic analysis should be supplemented with physicochemical analysis of the plant material.

Method: A sufficient sample amount must be dispersed in a glass slide and been observed through a light microscope with magnification 4x, 10x and 40x.

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