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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 441-443  

Comparative powder microscopy of Alpinia calcarata Roscoe and Alpinia galanga (Linn.) Willd


1 Senior Research Scientist, Herbal Technology Section, Colombo, Sri Lanka
2 Director, Industrial Technology Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Date of Web Publication16-Mar-2013

Correspondence Address:
Chandima Wijayasiriwardena
Industral Technology Institute, No 363, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo - 07
Sri Lanka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-8520.108863

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   Abstract 

Medicinal plant materials are being adulterated in commerce due to many reasons such as similar morphological features, same name as written in classical text, presence of similar active principles in the substituted plant etc., that may badly affect the therapeutic activity of the finished products. Therefore, systematic identification is becoming essential in order to produce standardized finished herbal products. The present study includes two medicinal plant rhizomes; Alpinia calcarata Roscoe (Heenaratta) and A. galanga (Linn.) Willd (Aratta) whose microscopical build up was different from each other and was assessed by standard Pharmacognostical methods. Diagnostic identification characters of A. calcarata were compound starch grins, triangular-shaped starch grains, and plenty of simple starch grains in one parenchyma cell compared to that of A. galanga. Diamond-shaped silica crystals were found only on A. galanga rhizome powder. Present study has revealed an easy technique to identify two similar medicinal plant materials microscopically and this method can also be employed to detect the degree of adulteration in powdered raw medicinal plant materials as well.

Keywords: Adulteration, Alpinia galanga, Alpinia calcarata, microscopy


How to cite this article:
Wijayasiriwardena C, Premakumara S. Comparative powder microscopy of Alpinia calcarata Roscoe and Alpinia galanga (Linn.) Willd. AYU 2012;33:441-3

How to cite this URL:
Wijayasiriwardena C, Premakumara S. Comparative powder microscopy of Alpinia calcarata Roscoe and Alpinia galanga (Linn.) Willd. AYU [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Sep 23];33:441-3. Available from: http://www.ayujournal.org/text.asp?2012/33/3/441/108863


   Introduction Top


Alpinia calcarata Roscoe (Heenaratta) and A. galanga (Linn.) Willd (Aratta) are two important medicinal plants belonging to family Zingiberaceae and are used in Ayurveda and Sri Lankan Traditional Medicine since ages. Matured, dried rhizomes are used in medicine and in many herbal drug stores it is available in powder form too. Among the two plants, A. calcarata is more valued since it is one of the ingredients of "Buddarajakalka0" which is used in the treatment of chronic respiratory tract infections even among children. Therefore, proper identification is necessary before using in medicinal preparations to obtain correct therapeutic effect as per the classical texts. Morphological features do not give clear idea about the identity when they are in powder form. In such conditions, microscopical examinations would be the only choice. Therefore, present work was undertaken to highlight various microscopical characters by which the two plant materials can be identified microscopically when the materials are in powder form. [1],[2]


   Materials and Methods Top


Plant material

A. calcarata Roscoe and A. galanga (Linn.) Willd mature rhizome samples were collected in the month of May 2011 from local gardens at Panadura, Pannipitiya and Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) premises when they were in flowering condition. Confirmation was further done with the help of floras and other reputed literature. [1],[3] Voucher specimens (HTS/Phcog/197695 and 197696) were deposited at Pharmacognosy laboratory of Herbal Technology Section at ITI. Collected two rhizome samples were cleaned well and cut into one inch pieces. One part stored separately in Formalin-Aceto-Alcohol solution for microscopical detection. Other part is dried under shade for few days and then powdered separately and passed through 40 mesh size and stored in two airtight containers separately for powder microscopical detection. [4]

Microscopic study of powdered plant material

Pinch of A. calcarata Roscoe rhizome powder was placed on the grease-free microscopic slide along with the drop of glycerin and water (1:1) and then it was covered with a clean cover slip, observed under the compound microscope at 10X followed by 40X magnification. Same observation was done for all the samples collected from three different places separately and important identifying characters were drawn with the help of camera lucida. [5] Same procedure was done for A. galanga (Linn.) Willd rhizome powder as well. [4]


   Results Top


The results shows A. calcarata Roscoe powder consist of plenty of simple and compound starch grains of 30 to 50 μ. Some of the starch grains were muller shaped, some were triangular, pear shaped, and most of them were round and oval shaped. In case of A. galanga (Linn.) Willd, less number of simple starch grains of 50 to 70 μ size and mostly round and oval shaped and, very few pear shaped, were also found. Parenchyma cells at places studded with aggregation of small silica crystalline matter were found only on A. calcarata Roscoe. Few silica crystals were found in the parenchyma cells of A. galanga (Linn.) Willd that are diamond shaped 80 to 100 μ in size. Besides, other identification characters are vessels, fibers, and trichomes that are bigger in A. galanga (Linn.) Willd with the diameter between 200 to 300 μ. Pitted fibers are more prominent in A. galanga (Linn.) Willd and parenchyma cells near vessels are at places studded with small prismatic crystals of Calcium Oxalate and less frequently found cluster crystals of Calcium Oxalate as well [Figure 1] and [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Powder characters of Alpinia calcarata Roscoe rhizome 1. Simple trichome, 2. Simple starch grains, 3. Vessels and fibers, 4. Parenchyma studded with Silica crystalline matter, 5. Pitted parenchyma

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Figure 2: Powder characters of Alpinia galanga (Linn.) Willd rhizome 1. Starch, 2. Simple trichome, 3. Silica crystals and Calcium oxalate clusters, 4. Broad vessels, associated with pitted fibres and small silica crystals. 5. Pitted parenchyma, 6. Isolated reticulated vessel.

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   Discussion Top


Rhizome powder of both A. calcarata Roscoe and A. galanga (Linn.) Willd were studied in detail to highlight important anatomical characters. Matured A. calcarata Roscoe rhizome is smaller in size compared to that of A. galanga (Linn.) Willd and due to that most of the anatomical characters show smaller length and breadth. Diagnostic identification characters of A. calcarata Roscoe were compound starch grins, triangular-shaped starch grains, and plenty of simple starch grains in one parenchyma cell compared to that of A. galanga (Linn.) Willd. Diamond-shaped silica crystals were found only on A. galanga (Linn.) Willd rhizome powder. Present study has revealed an easy technique to identify two medicinal plant materials microscopically and the method can also be employed to detect the degree of adulteration in powdered raw medicinal plant materials as well. In addition to the presently used two botanical sources, there are many more similar rhizomes being used as "Arattaala" in Sri Lanka that has to be identified in order to standardize the official source.


   Conclusion Top


Microscopical detection is easy, reliable and cost effective tool for detection of adulteration in medicinal plant materials.

 
   References Top

1.Anonymus. Compendium of medicinal plants, A Sri Lankan study, Department of Ayurveda 2003;3:207-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Arambewella LS, Wijesinghe A, Alagiyawanna S. Sri Lankan medicinal plants monographs and analysis. Vol. 7 and 10. Sri Lanka: National Science Foundation; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Jayaweera DM. Medicinal Plants (Indigenous and Exotic) used in Ceylon, National Science Council of Sri Lanka 1982;5:213 and 217.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Wallis TE. Text Book of Pharmacognosy. 5 th ed. New Delhi: CBS Publishers and Distributers, New Delhi; 1985. p. 5-30.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Wijayasiriwardena C, Chauhan MG. Pharmacognostical investigation of leaves of Delonix elata (L.) Gamble. AYU Int Res J Ayurveda 2009;30(1):68-72.  Back to cited text no. 5
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]



 

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    Abstract
   Introduction
    Materials and Me...
   Results
   Discussion
   Conclusion
    References
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