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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-10

Preparation of medicinal plants: Basic extraction and fractionation procedures for experimental purposes


1 Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
2 Unit of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Defence Health, National Defence University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Abdullahi R Abubakar
Prof. Mainul Haque, Unit of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Defence Health, National Defence University Malaysia, Kem Sungai Besi, 57000 Kuala Lumpur.
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jpbs.JPBS_175_19

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Preparation of medicinal plants for experimental purposes is an initial step and key in achieving quality research outcome. It involves extraction and determination of quality and quantity of bioactive constituents before proceeding with the intended biological testing. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate various methods used in the preparation and screening of medicinal plants in our daily research. Although the extracts, bioactive fractions, or compounds obtained from medicinal plants are used for different purposes, the techniques involved in producing them are generally the same irrespective of the intended biological testing. The major stages included in acquiring quality bioactive molecule are the selection of an appropriate solvent, extraction methods, phytochemical screening procedures, fractionation methods, and identification techniques. The nitty-gritty of these methods and the exact road map followed solely depends on the research design. Solvents commonly used in extraction of medicinal plants are polar solvent (e.g., water, alcohols), intermediate polar (e.g., acetone, dichloromethane), and nonpolar (e.g., n-hexane, ether, chloroform). In general, extraction procedures include maceration, digestion, decoction, infusion, percolation, Soxhlet extraction, superficial extraction, ultrasound-assisted, and microwave-assisted extractions. Fractionation and purification of phytochemical substances are achieved through application of various chromatographic techniques such as paper chromatography, thin-layer chromatography, gas chromatography, and high-performance liquid chromatography. Finally, compounds obtained are characterized using diverse identification techniques such as mass spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, ultraviolet spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Subsequently, different methods described above can be grouped and discussed according to the intended biological testing to guide young researchers and make them more focused.


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