Keywords: herbal medicines, genetics, adulteration, DNA analysis, medicinal plants, plant species authentication, DNA fingerprinting, quality assurance, quality control
Authentication of medicinal plant material by DNA fingerprinting
Based on their positive therapeutic results, herbal medicines are gaining popularity worldwide for human wellbeing and healthcare. Unfortunately, one major hurdle that might impair their potential future as 'medicine of choice' is the lack of standardisation. Many scientific studies on adulteration of herbal medicines have demonstrated that health consequences of adulterants may vary from life threatening to death. Fortunately, the breakthrough in genetic analysis and identification promise herbal medicines challenging era. Genetics permit the capacity to police adulterants to protect patients and public from dangerous fraud. This article highlights useful analytical techniques that can be employed to analyse DNA for quality assurance, control and authentication of medicinal plant species.