India has a great diversity in medicinal herbal resources. More than 70% of the Indian population uses herbal drugs for the treatment of various diseases, and the manufacture of these medicines is mushrooming. Traditional herbal medicines and their preparations have been widely used in India as well as abroad for many years.[6
] But there are only few industrial organizations in India who carry out quality assessment on herbal drugs. In spite of standardization parameters and quality assessment, the share of India in the global herbal market is not up to the mark.[7
] In traditional systems of medicine, the drugs are primarily dispensed as water decoctions or ethanolic extracts, fresh plant parts, juices, or crude powder. Therefore, medicinal plant parts should be authentic and free from microbial contamination. This is the reason why the World Health Organization has set specific guidelines for the assessment of the safety, efficacy, and quality of herbal medicines as a prerequisite for global harmonization.[8
] Still, very few Ayurvedic industries follows Good manufacturing practices (GMP) and are ISO-certified.
Microbial and fungal contamination not only affects the chemical composition but also decreases the therapeutic potency of herbal drugs.[4
] Microbial contamination of herbal drugs is a major impediment that prevents India from becoming an herbal giant. Therefore, fungal contamination of drugs, especially raw materials, should be prevented during the manufacture of these preparations. Plant materials used for medical purposes should be properly stored and the growth of bacteria and fungi should be inhibited.[9
] India can be a major player in the global herbal market if herbal preparations are manufactured according to regulatory guidelines.
In the present investigation, we have assessed the quality of different brands of the marketed Ayurvedic preparation, Dasamoolaristam. The preparations were purchased from the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore, and stored in a refrigerator before conducting the microbiological limit test under aseptic conditions. The present findings have shown that the alcohol content of all brands of Dasamoolaristam are lower than the acceptable limit of alcohol content. As compared to Pharmacopoeial specifications. Unfortunately, all the five different brands of Dasamoolaristam were found to contain bacterial and fungal loads above the acceptable limits.