Classification of crude drugs – mimprovement

Classification of crude drugs

The crude drug is the unprocessed form of drug, which are directly obtained from natural sources like plants, animals and minerals, etc. For the proper and adequate study of crude drug, it is necessary to arrange them in scientific and systemic manner.

Classification of crude drugs

The classification of crude drugs is an essential step in the development and production of effective medicines. It involves analyzing the drugs’ chemical structures and pharmacological properties so that they can be grouped into categories based on their active ingredients, therapeutic uses, toxicity levels, and more.

They are classified into seven types:

1. Alphabetical classification
2. Morphological classification
3. Pharmacological classification
4. Chemical classification
5. Taxonomical classification
6. Chemo-taxonomical classification
7. Sero-taxonomical classification

1. Alphabetical classification of crude drugs

It is the simplest way of classification of crude drugs. In this classification the crude drug is arranged according to their alphabets. Most of the reference book and the pharmacopoeia are arrange according to the Latin or English name they are:

1. British pharmacopoeia
2. British pharmaceutical codex
3. V.S.P
4. I.P
5. British herbal pharmacopoeia

Merits of alphabetical classification

1. Easy and quick in use.
2. No repetition of drug

Demerits of alphabetical classification

1. Scientific nature of drug can’t be identified.
2. Original source is not clear.

Example of alphabetical classification

Acacia, Agar, Benzoin, Cinchona, Cinnamon, Digitalis, Fennel, Linseed, Mustard, etc.

2. Morphological classification of crude drugs

In this classification, drugs are arranged according to their morphological character such as their shape, size, part of plants/animals. The crude drugs are classified in organized and unorganized manner:

Organized drugs

BarkCinchona, Cinnamon
RootRauwolfia, Liquor ice
LeavesEucalyptus, Senna
FlowersClove, Vinca
FruitsOpium, Bael, Fennel
SeedAlmond, Coffee, Beans
Entire plantsVinca (Visiting, Vinblastine)

Unorganized drugs

ExtractsTea, Gelatin
LatexPapaya, Opium
Fixed oilCastor oil
Volatile oilEucalyptus, Sandalwood oil
JuiceAmla, Aloe vera
GumTragacanth, Acacia, Guar
Merits of morphological classification

1. Very useful in identifying the adulterant used.
2. More convenient for practical study.

Demerits of morphological classification

It does not give an idea about chemical constituents and uses.

3. Pharmacological classification of crude drugs

According to this classification, the crude drug is classified in pharmacological in therapeutic activity. It is more relevant classification and widely used, they are as follow:

P’cological activityDrugs
CarminativesFennel, Clove, Coriander, Cinnamon
AntimalariaCinchona, Artemisia
AnticancerVinca, Taxus
Anti inflammatoryTurmeric, Colchicum
Anti spasmodicDatura, Hyoscyamus
BitterGentian, Charita
ExpectorantOpium, Liquorish
Merits of pharmacological classification

They classified according to their therapeutic action, so they are easy in use event their chemical consequence is not known.

Demerits of pharmacological classification

Regardless of morphology, taxonomical or chemical nature, the drugs are grouped together due to their same pharmacological uses.

4. Chemical classification of crude drugs

In this classification, the drug is arranged according to the chemical or active constituents present on crude drug, they are as follows:

Merits of chemical classification

Chemical constituents and medicinal uses are known.

Demerits of chemical classification

Drugs of different origin are grouped together under similar chemical titles.

5. Taxonomical classification of crude drugs

In which, drugs are arranged according to their kingdom class, phylum class, order, family and species. It is the best method for classification of crude drugs.

Merits of taxonomical classification

1. Easy to use.
2. Helpful for studying evolutionary developments.

Demerits of taxonomical classification

This system failed to tall about chemical nature and therapeutic significance of crude drugs.

6. Chemo-taxonomical classification of crude drugs

In this classification, the equal importance is given for taxonomical status and chemical constituents. This classification is based on the chemical similarities of a taxon based on the existence of the relationship between the plant & it’s constituents. In this plant secondary metabolites are taken into consideration. Researches have printed already regarding the similarities of constituents from different plant species of a Gene. It is the best method for classification of crude drugs.

7. Sero-taxonomical classification of crude drugs

The study of antigen-antibody reaction is called serology. The application of serology in solving taxonomic problems is called sero-taxonomical. serology can be defined as the study of Antigens, Antibody reaction. It is the best method for classification of crude drugs.


Antigens are those substance which can stimulate the formation of antibody.


Antibody is the highly specific protein molecule produced by plasma cell in the immune system.

This classification expresses the similarities and dissimilarities among different taxa. It determines the degree of similarities between species ‘Genera’ or ‘Genus’, family, etc by comparing the reaction with antigen from various plant taxa with antibodies present against a given taxan.

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