Adulteration – mimprovement(1)


The term adulteration is a practice of mixing or substituting, the original drug partially or wholly with the other similar looking substance. The adulterated drug has lost its actual or original therapeutic properties & some time form a toxic product. The adulterant must be some material, which in both cheap and available in large amount and used to adulterate the original drug.

Adulteration is an illegal practice of increasing the value or quantity of a product by adding unauthorized or unapproved ingredients or components. It is a major problem in the food industry and it has been linked to numerous health issues due to the presence of harmful substances such as metals and chemicals. Adulteration can also be found in other products such as medicines, cosmetics, fuel, and even water. This practice not only harms consumers but it also affects businesses by causing losses due to product recalls and reduced trust from customers.

Reason for adulteration

1. Scarcity of drug
2. Expensive drug
3. Similarity in morphology
4. With the intention of enhancing profits

Condition of adulteration

1. Admixture

Adding the substance due to accidentally or carelessness. Like; collection of two different species of plant or drug in a field, there may be a change of mixing above a species due to carelessness or ignorance..

2. Sophistication

It means intentionally mixing of an original crude drug with adulterant. Example – brick powder used in red chilli powder.

3. Deterioration

Due to microbial attack at high temperature, incorporation of impurities causes decrease in quality of drug.

4. Spoilage

Due to improper storage & attacking of microbes, causes therapeutic, loss of product & may be also form toxic product.

Types of adulteration

1. Direct(intentional) adulteration
2. Indirect(unintentional) adulteration

1. Direct adulteration

It is done intentionally which usually includes practice in which an herbal/crude drug is substituted partially or fully with other in error products.

Reason for direct adulteration

1. Price of drug is normally high
2. Product is not sufficed
3. Just for profit

1. Adult ration by artificially manufactured substitute

In this adulteration, artificially prepared substance resembles the original drug. It is done for costlier drug or for those which are not easily available like yellow coloured paraffin waxes bee’s wax.

2. With inferior quality material

In this adulteration, sub-standard substance with/without therapeutic effect substitutes original drugs. Due to their morphological characteristics similar to original drugs, inferior material used as adulterant.

3. Substituted with exhausted drugs

In this adulteration, the exhausted material may be used partially as a substitute for the genuine drugs. In case of volatile oil containing material like clove, fennel.

4. Addition of synthetic chemicals

In this adulteration, sometimes chemicals(synthetic) products are used to enhance the character of natural products like citral in citrus oil (Lemmon).

5. Adulteration by harmful adulterants

In this adulteration, the water material from the market is collected and admixed with authentic drugs. Mostly seen in case of liquids or unorganised drugs. Example – lead shot in opium, white oil in coconut oil.

2. Indirect(unintentional) adulteration

Those adulteration which sometimes occurs without bad intention of the manufacturers or supplier or accidentally. Basically, it is due to carelessness, ignorance, accidentally and unknowingly.

It can be happened:
1. Faulty collection
2. Imperfect preparation
3. Incorrect storage

1. Faulty happened

Here adulteration is caused by carelessness of drugs by collections & supplies. In this during collection, some other plants/material is collected due to similarity in the appearance, ignorance, colour and lack of knowledge. Example- Aconitum dimorphism in place of Aconitum nepellus is collected etc_.

2. Improper processing

Sometimes neglected drying process may lead to unintentional adulteration or any other process. Example- use of excessive heat in separating the cod liver oil from liver but the proportion of vitamin, odour, colour etc are affected.

3. Incorrect storage

Deterioration, especially during storage, leads to the loss of active ingredient and production of non-active toxic metabolites. In this proper storage of drug is not done, the drug stored in unsealed bottle or the drug box. Stored in open area, may lead to degradation of drug cause adulteration.

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