Indian Usage Of Medicinal Plants As Therapeutic Agents Biology Essay

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Medicinal plants have been known for millions of years and are highly esteemed all over the world as a rich source of therapeutic agents. Nature has best owed our country with an enormous wealth of medicinal plants. There for India has often been referred to as "The medical garden of the world". India has a unique position in the world, where a number of recognized indigenous systems of medicine viz. Ayurveda, Siddha, Homeopathy, Unani, yoga and naturopathy are being used for the health care of the people. The herbal drugs are popular among rural as well as urban community of India. Nowadays there is a revival of interest with herbal based medicines due to increasing realization of hazards associated with the indiscriminate use of modern medicines. The growing recognition and world wide acceptance of natural products are due to its lesser side effects, non-toxicity, easily availability and affordable price. Plant based medicaments had served from the outset as the most important therapeutic weapon available to man to fight various diseases and the exclusive use of herbal remedies to that and manage ailments. In recent times, there is a renewal and growing interest in the use of plant derived biologically active compounds. Drugs from various sources are still in the traditional medicine for treating a number of diseases.

Natural products, including plants, animals and minerals have been the basis of treatment of human diseases. History of medicine dates back practically to the existence of human civilization. The current accepted modern medicine or Allopathy has gradually developed over the years by scientific and observational efforts of scientists. However, the basis of its development remains rooted in traditional medicine and therapies. The history of medicine includes many therapies. Nevertheless, ancient wisdom has been the basis of modern medicine and will remain as one important source of future medicine and therapeutics. The future of natural products drug discovery will be more holistic, personalized and involve wise use of ancient and modern therapeutic skills in a complementary manner so that maximum benefits can be accrued to the patients and the community 1.

Herbal Medicines and its Importance

Medicinal plants are the oldest known health-care source. Their importance is still growing although it varies depending on the ethnological, medical and historical background of each country. Medicinal plants are also important for pharmacological research and drug development, not only when plant constituents are used directly as therapeutic agents, but also when they are used as basic materials for the synthesis of drugs or as models for pharmacologically active compounds. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 billion people, 80 percent of the world population, presently use herbal medicine for one or the other aspect of primary health care. Herbal medicine is a major component in all people's indigenous traditional medicine and a common element in Ayurvedic, Homeopathic, Naturopathic, Traditional oriental, and Native American Indian Medicine. WHO notes that of 119 plant-derived pharmaceutical medicines, about 74 percent are used in modern medicine in ways that correlated directly with their traditional uses as plant medicines by native cultures.

Major pharmaceutical companies are currently conducting extensive research on plant materials gathered from the rain forests and other places for their potential medicinal value. Interest in herbal medicines has continued to grow. This is shown in several ways, for example, by increased retail sales of herbal medicinal products in Europe and the USA as well as the greater awareness among the public and healthcare professionals about natural health products and complementary therapies. Industrially produced new herbal products, mainly based on single-herb extracts standardized for its specific active ingredient, continue to be developed 2.

In India knowledge of medicinal plant is very old, and medicinal properties of plants are described in 3500-1500 B.C, from which Ayurveda developed. In Ayurveda the ancient well known treatise are Charak samhita dealing mostly with plants in sashrat samhita in which surgery is also maintained. In Egypt the people were familiar with medicinal properties of plants and animals. Greek scientists contributed much to the knowledge of natural history. Hippocraties (460-370 B.C) is referred to as father of medicine and is remembered for his famous writings on kingdom, which is considered authoritative even in the 20th century. The substances from the plants were isolated, the structure elucidated and the pharmacological active constituents studied. In 1934-1960 simultaneous applications of disciplines developed like organic chemistry, biochemistry, bio-synthesis, pharmacology and modern methods and techniques of medicinal chemistry including paper, Thin layer chromatography, gas chromatography and spctrophotometry3,4,5.

Plants have provided the lead molecules for a large number of diseases. During the past 40 years numerous novel compounds have been isolated from plant sources and many of these substance have been demonstrated to possess interesting biological activities. India is the treasure house of herbs and more than 9000 different herbs with varying medicinal properties are present.

Ayurveda an ancient system of Indian medicine has recommended a number of drugs from indigenous plant and animal sources for the treatment of several disease and disorders more than 13,000 plants have been studied during the last 5 years.



Ayurveda the traditional Indian system of medicine is as old as the Indian culture and civilization. The term ayurveda means science of life's Ayur means life and veda means knowledge. The ayurveda deals with physical body, herbal medicines, diet, surgery, pshycology, spirituality and religion. Thr therapeutic realm of Ayurveda is based on Tridhosa theory. They are vata, pitta and kapha according to Ayurvedic principles any disturbance in the above constituents may result to diseased state. Ayurveda has well classified Materia medica consisting mainly of drug of plant origin. Various part of plants, roots, rhizomes, stem, leaf, flowers, fruits, bark, extrudates have been employed for therapeutic purpose currently some 1250 plants find uses in Ayurvedic Materia medica. Earliest description of curative properties of medicinal plants was found in Rigveda. Also Charaka samhita and susrutha samhita give extensive description of various medicinal herbs.The ancient healing system from India has steadily increased its popularity in all over the world.

Atharvaveda, charka samhita and sushrat samhita 500 BC are the main classics that give detailed descriptions of over 700 herbs 6. Indian healthcare consists of medical pluralism and Ayurveda still remains dominant compared to modern medicines, particularly for treatment of a variety of chronic disease conditions 7. This 5000 year old system of medicine recommends a combination of lifestyle management and treatment with specific herbs to cure various diseases.

Plants have been the major source of medicine Ayurveda. Indian folk medicines comprises numerous prescription for therapeutic purposes which may be as varied as healing wounds, treating inflammation due to infections, skin lesions, leprosy, diarrhea, scabies, veneral diseases, snake bites and ulcers etc.

A complex disorder like diabetes was little is talked about in aspects of prevention and cure, but rather management. There are so many plants in Ayurveda, which are having hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic activity. Because of leads provided by traditional medicine to natural products that may be better than currently used allopathic medicine. The ancient physicians also prescribed specific formulation for the treatment of diabetes, some of the drugs with a record of high safety and efficacy which have been validated recently.


The word siddha comes from siddhi, which means on object to be attained or perfection of heavenly bliss. Siddhars were saintly personalities who attained proficiency in medicine through practice of bhakthi and yoga. Siddha system originated from 18 siddhars Agastiar. This is the system of pre-vedic period and identified with Dravidian culture and it is largely therapeutic in nature. According to siddhantic physicians everything founds in nature have two qualities good and bad; when they are utilized for any purpose they have two actions in medicine. The good action is called "Nalvinai" and the bad action is called "Theevinai". The universe originally consisted of atoms which contributed to five basic eliments, viz. earth, water, fire, and ether which synchronize with the five senses of human body. The identification of causative factors of diaseases is done through pulse reading, colour of the body, study of voice, urine examination, status of digestive system and examination of tongue. Siddha is essentially a psychometric system where in alteration as given to minerals and metals rather than plant constituents. Herbs are used only to triturate and calcinate metals into their bhasmam and sindooram. The deep rooted difficulties in the siddha system are the lack of scientific validation of the therapeutic claims based drugs using standardize clinical models.


The root of unani system goes deep to the time of well known Greek philosophers Hippocrates and Aristotle Golen. It is known as Greeco-Arabic systems of Islamic medicine. This system of medicine is originated in the fourth and fifth centuries B.C. the system is based on the two theories viz. the Hippocratic theory of four humors and the pythagorian theory of four proximate qualities. The humeral theory of medicine forms the basic principles of unani system are blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile, which represents the states of human body like hot, cold, moist and dry. Many dietary ingredients, vegetables, fruits etc. are also classified to Hot and cold. The maintenance of the humeral is based on the above hypothesis and medicaments are given to correct the humeral balance. The unani system of medicine aims treating the cause of disease and not its symptoms. For this purpose, through history the patient is recorded in addition to his pulse, urine, and stool examinations. The diseased condition is considered to be due to the imbalance between humors and accordingly treatment is given. The unani medicinal system advocates the usage of naturally occurring herbal medicines.


Homeopathy system is newer when compared with other alternative systems and was introduced by the German physician Dr. Christian Frederick Samule Hehniman in the 18th century. This system is based on his principle of like cures like. It aims to stimulate body's vital force to such a point that the body can overcome the diseases and gets back to the normal health without causing any adverse side effects. The drug treatment in this system is not specified, but the choice of drug depends on symptoms and clinical condition of patient. The symptoms are compared with similar symptoms and accordingly the same extract is given for treatment. During treatment the drug extracts are extremely diluted, which is believed to cause potentiation and enhancement of curative effect. Homeopathic system in general is considerate as a slow process of cure in homeopathy; however it's the patient who is treated, not the disease.

Naturopathy and yoga:

Naturopathy is not merely a system of treatment, but also the way of life, which is based on the laws of nature. The attention is particularly on eating and living habits, hydrotherapy, mud pack, baths, massage, etc. The system of yoga is as old as Ayurveda. The eight components of yoga are restraint, observance of austerity, physical postures, restraining of sense organs, breathing exercises, contemplation, mediation and Samadhi. Yoga practice have potential in improvement in better circulation of oxygenated blood in the body, restraining the sense organs, improvement of social and personal behavior and induction of tranquility and serenity in the mind .

General Methods of Extraction of Medicinal Plants :






Hot Continuous Extraction (Soxhlet)

Aqueous Alcoholic Extraction by Fermentation

Counter-current Extraction

Ultrasound Extraction (Sonication)

Supercritical Fluid Extraction


In this process, the whole or coarsely powdered crude drug is placed in a stoppered container with the solvent and allowed to stand at room temperature for a period of at least 3 days with frequent agitation until the soluble matter has dissolved. The mixture then is strained, the marc (the damp solid material) is pressed, and the combined liquids are cleared by filtration or decantation after standing.


Fresh infusions are prepared by macerating the crude drug for a short period of time with cold or boiling water. These are dilute solutions of the readily soluble constituents of crude drugs.


This is a form of maceration in which gentle heat is used during the process of extraction. It is used when moderately elevated temperature is not objectionable. The solvent efficiency of the menstruum is thereby increased.


In this process, the crude drug is boiled in a specie volume of water for a definite time. It is then cooled and strained or filtered. This procedure is suitable for extracting water-soluble, heat-stable constituents. This process is typically used in preparation of Ayurvedic extracts called "quath" or "kawath". The starting ratio of crude drug to water is i xed, e.g. 1:4 or 1:16; the volume is then brought down to one-fourth its original vol-ume by boiling during the extraction procedure. Then, the concentrated ex- tract is i ltered and used as such or processed further.


This is the procedure used most frequently to extract active ingredients in the preparation of tinctures and fluid extracts. A percolator (a narrow, cone-shaped vessel open at both ends) is generally used (Figure1). The solid ingredients are moistened with an appropriate amount of the specii ed menstruum and allowed to stand for approximately 4 h in a well- closed container, after which the mass is packed and the top of the percola- tor is closed. Additional menstruum is added to form a shallow layer above the mass, and the mixture is allowed to macerate in the closed percolator for 24 h. The outlet of the percolator then is opened and the liquid contained therein is allowed to drip slowly. Additional menstruum is added as required, until the percolate measures about three-quarters of the required volume of the finished product. The mark is then pressed and the expressed liquid is added to the percolate. Sufficient menstruum is added to produce the required volume, and the mixed liquid is clarii ed by i ltration or by standing followed by decanting.

Hot Continuous Extraction (Soxhlet):

In this method, the ground crude drug is placed in a porous bag or "thimble" made of strong filter paper, which is placed in chamber of the Soxhlet apparatus (Figure 2). The extracting solvent in l ask A is heated, and its vapors condense in condenser D. The condensed extractant drips into the thimble containing the crude drug, and extracts it by contact. When the level of liquid in chamber E rises to the top of siphon tube C, the liquid contents of chamber E siphon into l ask A. This process is continuous and is carried out until a drop of solvent from the siphon tube does not leave residue when evaporated. The advantage of this method, compared to previously described methods, is that large amounts of drug can be extracted with a much smaller quantity of solvent. This effects tremendous economy in terms of time, energy and consequently i nancial inputs. At small scale, it is employed as a batch process only, but it becomes much more economical and viable when converted into a continuous extraction procedure on medium or large scale.


Today the Greek term carcinoma is the medical term for a malignant tumor derived from epithelial cells. It is Clesus who translated carcinose into the Latin cancer, also meaning crap. Galen used "oncos" to describe all tumors, the roof for the modern word oncology

Hippocrates described several kinds of cancers. He called benign tumors oncos, Greek for swelling and malignant tumors carcinos, Greek for crab or crayfish. This probably comes from appearance of the cut surface of a solid malignant tumor,with the roundish hard center surrounded by pointy projection, vaguely resembling the space of a crab. He letter added the suffix -oma, geek for swelling giving the name carcinoma. Since it was against Greek tradition to open the body, Hippocrates only describe and made drawing of outwardly visible tumor of the skin,nose and breasts. Treatment was based on the humor theory of four bodily fluids (black and yellow bile, blood and (phlegm). According to patient humor, treatment consisted of diet,blood letting and orlaxatives. Through the country, it was discovered the cancer put ocour anywhere in the body,but humor theory based treatment remained popular until the 9th century with the discovery of cells.

Tumor is a general term indicating proliferation of the cells, which is no longer under the control of the organism. This unwanted proliferation of cells consumes a significant portion of the body's supply of food material and metabolic energy thereby leaving the patient progressively weaker28. The advances that have occurred in the treatment of neoplastic disorders have placed clinical cures within reach. As knowledge has been accumulated in the areas of pharmacology, tumor biology, cytokinetics and drug-resistance, therapeutic strategies have been developed that maximize the tumor-cell kill, decrease the resistance and enhance the potential for cure by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy plays a significant role in the treatment of macro-metastatis along with surgery or radiation.

In general cancer fall into four major groups, which has been according to the body tissues in which they arise. All types can spread to other types of tissues of the body. While retaining their cellular characteristic.

Causes of Cancer:

Many factors are implicated in the induction of cancer. These factors may include,

Exposure to the carcinogenic hydrocarbons or to excessive radiation.

The hereditary factors involved in the causation of cancer include chromosomal abnormality, enzymes, immune defense system and hormonal imbalances. For example, the susceptibility to the lung cancer is associated with high inducible levels of the enzyme, aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase.

Culture factors play a dominant role by causing about 70% of all cancers. Such important cultural factors include diet, smoking, and drinking and sexual habits.

Occupational factors like, ionizing radiation, chemicals and other carcinogenic substances play an important role. For example, coal tar, mustard gas, chromium, hematite, nickel and asbestos can trigger lung cancer in employees working in chemical, insulation and gas factories.

Though it is known that viruses cause cancer in animals, their role in human cancers has not been proved.

Cell Cycling

During cell cycle, each cell divides into two daughter cells having identical genetic material. Each of these cells may immediately reenter a new cell cycle or pass into a non-proliferative resting state. The growth and division of cells can be defined into four prominent phases of cell cycle. These include:

1. S-Phase:

This phase is a phase of DNA syntheses. In human tumor, it is approximately of 10 to 20 hours.

2. G-2 Phase:

This period last for 1 to 3 hours during which the cell is made ready for mitosis. In this phase the cells contain a tetraploid number of chromosomes. This phase is followed by mitosis.

3. M-Phase:

It is a phase of mitosis that involves chromosomal condensation, spindle formation and cell division. It lasts for approximately one hour. The resulting two daughter cells may either immediately enter into G1-Phase (post mitotic rest) or pass into a non-proliferative resting phase (G 0- Phase)

Since proliferating cells are usually more sensitive to chemotherapy, chemotherapeutic agent least affects the cells in G 0-Phase29.


Chemotherapy plays a significant role in the treatment of early stage disease, in the pre-operative period and as adjutant therapy for the treatment of micro metastasis. As knowledge has been accumulating in the area of pharmacology, tumor biology, cytokinetics and resistance, therapeutic strategies have been developed that maximize the tumor-cell kill, decrease resistance and enhance the potential for cure by chemotherapy. The anti-neoplastic armamentarium currently contains over 30 drugs, with many additional agents under investigation. Human pituitary growth hormone, prostaglandins, cyclic-AMP, RNA-dependent DNA polymerase, etc also show promising results.

Since the differences between normal and neoplastic human cells are merely quantitative rather than qualitative, most anti-neoplastic drugs are associated with certain side effects. The toxicity usually involves attack of drugs on rapidly proliferating normal body tissues such as bone marrow, hair follicles and intestinal epithelium. In addition, individual drug may produce its own distinctive toxic effects on heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs. Hence with some exceptions it can be said that the anti-neoplastic agents are generally palliative and not curative.

Many anti-cancer drugs (a) have a very narrow therapeutic index (b) are highly unstable (c) are effective at very low concentration and (d) have unusual metabolic pathways.

Plants in the Detection, Prevention, Cure and Management of Cancer:

Cancer is the most dreaded and prevalent disease in current times without yet a confident cure or even satisfactory management protocols in sight; in spite of the enormous amount of time, money and energy spent on cancer research in the past quarter century.

Criteria for and anti-neoplastic drug:

An anti-neoplastic (anticancer) drug should be:

Cytotoxic: To inhibit the cancer cell's metabolism particularly synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids, in order to prevent cell growth, differentiation, vascularisation of the new growth, etc.,

Mitostatic: To disrupt the process of cell division to prevent the uncontrolled number of cycles of cell division and growth, to retard the proliferation of the cancerous tissue.

Nontoxic: The drug should be nontoxic to the rest of the body of the patient, it should not cause any side effects such as renal or hepatic dysfunction, neurotoxicity, hypersensitivity, etc.,

Target oriented: It should be site-selective targeting its action to the cancerous region and not cause the same effects (or at least not cause them to the same degree as on cancer) on the other parts of the patient's body.

In addition, the drug should be effective in small and\or few doses, should not be expensive, should have longer shelf life, freely available on the market etc.

These criteria for an anticancer drug are a tall order. Hardly there is any drug, synthetic or natural, that meets with all these qualifications and so the choice is dictated by the maximum compliance of the criteria and the philosophy of the 'lesser evil'. With the presence of a large number of different types of cancer, each a kind of a syndrome, no single drug can be expected to be effective against more than one, at the best a few of related cancers. Thus, several factors made cancer drugs a multimillion dollar and multinational business, hardly within the reach of the poor, even in the western world30.

Plants in the Treatment of Cancer

In the face of failure to find synthetic drugs against cancer, thousands species of plants have been screened since along time, for anti-neoplastic activity, in the hope of discovering effective natural products. Compounds have been isolated from hundreds of species and their activities in suppressing tumors induced in laboratory animals have been evaluated. Such work is still going on in several laboratories throughout the world. The Natural Product Drug Development Program of the U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified, about 3,000 species of plants and animals as useful in dealing with one or the other aspect of cancer management. Based on in vitro data, a large number of species have been identified to be of promise and taken to clinical trials. However, products of hardly a handful of plant species, such as the Vinca alkaloids, Taxol, Camptothecin, Podophtyllotoxin, etc., have passed through the rigorous tests to be officially used against certain types of cancer and are now available in the market. Yet there are severe problems associated with the use of even these largely 'successful' drugs, which are among the most expensive plant products. This reflects the complexity of the scenario of cancer drugs in general and plant based drugs in particular.


The better hope of usefulness of plants lies in the areas of detection, prevention, management of symptoms inherent in the disease or incidental to the treatment, post-cure management such as the recovery of the body to full and normal functioning, prevention of remission, and management of symptoms of incurable cancers, to keep the patients in the maximum possible comfort.


Chemo prevention is the attempt to use natural and synthetic compounds to intervene in the early pre-cancerous stages of carcinogenesis, before the invasive disease begins, as prevention of cancer is immensely better than its uncertain cure.

Food has been identified as one of the most promising sources of chemo preventive agents. These include vitamins A (and its analogues), C, and E, which are obtained by us only from plants. Some plant products without any recognized nutritional value such as indoles, isothiocyanates, dithiolthiones and organosulphur compounds have been shown to be chemopreventive. Dithiolthiones and organosulphur compounds are abundant in broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Genistein from soybean. The bulk of solid material in brewed tea have also been found to be chemopreventive, as well as turmeric, ginger and saffron.

Among the plant-based chemopreventives, B-carotenes, the precursors of vitamin A, are rated high. In addition to carrots, they are present in a large number of plants, particularly abundant in the leafy vegetables. These food plants also provide the dietary fiber that is believed to prevent colon cancer. It is not yet very clear how the chemopreventive agents function31. Some are believed to prevent the mutations that can lead to cancer, some halt the process of excessive proliferation of altered cells, some hasten apoptosis (death of cells) of altered cells, while some function as antioxidants and scavenge the free radicals that may trigger cancer. The first know surgical treatment for cancer was described in the 1020sby avienna(ibn sina) in the canon of medicine. He stated that excision should be radical and that all diseased tissue should be removed which included the uses of imputation or the removal of veins running in the direction of the tumour .He also recommended the use of cauterization for the area being treated if necessary.



While the liver serves a variety of functions, the most crucial is its role in the body's metabolism. There is no organ that is more important to healthy metabolism than the liver - in many ways, it is as central to metabolism as the heart is to the circulation of blood. The liver plays a critical role in four key areas of metabolism: fuel management, nitrogen excretion, the regulation water distribution between the blood and tissues, and the detoxification of foreign substances. Because of the crucial importance of healthy metabolism to overall health, diseases of the liver, such as hepatitis C, can be devastating, leading to fatigue, malaise, and even to death.

The liver is the largest gland in the body and performs an astonishingly large number of tasks that impact all body systems. One consequence of this complexity is that hepatic disease has widespread effects on virtually all other organ systems. At the risk of losing sight of the forest by focusing on the trees, we will focus on three fundamental roles of the liver:

Vascular functions, including formation of lymph and the hepatic phagocytic system.

Metabolic achievements in control of synthesis and utilization of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.

Secretory and excretory functions, particularly with respect to the synthesis of secretion of bile.

The latter is the only one of the three that directly affects digestion - the liver, through its biliary tract, secretes bile acids into the small intestine where they assume a critical role in the digestion and absorption of dietary lipids. However, understanding the vascular and metabolic functions of the liver is critical to appreciating the gland as a whole. The liver is the largest gland in the body and normally weighs between 1 - 2.3 Kg. It is situated in upper part of abdominal cavity on right side, under the costal margin ( right hypochondriac region). The upper and anterior surfaces are smooth and curved to fit the under surface of the diaphragm.

The posterior surface is irregular in outline. The stomach, bile ducts and duodenum are inferior. The organ is enclosed in thin hepatic capsule and incompletely covered by a layer of peritoneum, folds of which form supporting ligaments to the diaphragm. The liver is in two main lobes, the left and right as well as two smaller lobes.


Fig no.1 : Image of liver


The functional unit of the liver is the individual liver cell, these are termed hepatocytes. The liver structure is made up of tiny lobules. In the centre of each lobule is a branch of the hepatic vein. The hepatocytes are arranged in columns, which form walls of liver cells. Between these there is an area referred to as a sinusoid. These are in effect capillaries, which allow the blood to come into close contact with the individual liver cells. Small branches of the hepatic artery and hepatic portal vein both circulate blood into the sinusoids, so in the sinusoids there is mixing of this arterial and venous blood. Because these sinusoid blood vessels have incomplete walls, larger molecules can interchange the blood and the liver cells. Once the blood has passed through the sinusoid it is collected in the central vein, which is a branch of the hepatic vein.

Function of the liver

As mentioned the functional unit of the liver is the individual liver cell. This is the site of much of the biochemistry being carried out by the body. Because there is a lot of chemistry being carried out in liver cells a lot of energy is required to facilitate these reactions. This means the liver produces heat.

Individual functions of the liver

1. Converts glucose to glycogen in presence of insulin, for storage.

2. Breaks down protein (deaminates protein), forms urea, and uric acid.

3. Desaturates fats - converts stored fat to a form in which it can be used by the tissue to provide energy.

4. Heat production

5. Produces and secretes bile

6. Stores the anti-anaemic factor, ie, vit B12 (extrinsic factor)

7. Stores iron

8. Stores Vit A.D.E.K.

9. Synthesis of Vit A.

10. Forms Plasma Proteins - serum albumin and globulin

11. Forms prothrombin and fibrinogen

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The liver disease is still a worldwide problem. Unfortunately, conventional or synthetic drug used in the treatment of the liver disease are inadequate and sometimes can have serious side the absence of reliable liver protective drug in modern medicine there are number of medicinal preparations in ayeurveda recommended for the treatment of liver disorder. Because of synthetic preparation sever undesirable side effect. The role of free radical reactions in disease pathology is well established, suggesting that these reactions are necessary for normal metabolism but can be detrimental to health; the antioxidants protected against free radicals induced oxidative damage by antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and catalase or antioxidant compounds. [ The liver is expected not only to perform physiological functions but also to protect against the hazards of harmful drugs and chemicals. In spite of tremendous scientific advancement in the field of hepatology in recent years. Jaundice and hepatitis are two major hepatic disorders that account for a high death rate. Liver diseases are mainly caused by toxic chemicals, excess consumption of alcohol, infections and autoimmune disorders. Most of the hepatotoxic chemicals damage liver cells mainly by inducing lipid peroxidation and other oxidative damages. In spite of tremendous advances in modern medicine, there are no effective and reliable drugs available that can stimulate liver function, offer protection to the liver from damage or help to regenerate hepatic cells. However, there are a number of medicinal preparations in Ayurveda that are recommended.