Unorganised Plant Drugs

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The unorganised drugs consist of some natural substances, which are derived from plants and animals by a number of extraction processes like incision, decoction, expression, distillation and percolation or as natural secretions. Thus these drugs arc devoid of definite histological or cellular structures, that is, they are not built up into any definite plant or animal organs. They represent both physiological and pathological products of plants and animals, and occur as solids, semi-solids and liquids depending on the type of the products constituting the drug.

The unorganised drugs may be classified into the following groups on the basis of their origin and nature:

  • Latices, e.g., Opium, Papain
  • Juices, e.g., Aloe, Kino
  • Extracts, e.g., Agar, Catechu, Curare
  • Gums, e.g., Acacia, Tragacanth, Sterculia Resins, e.g., Colophony, Guaiacum, Benzoins, Gamboge, Myrrh, Asafoetida, Copaiba
  • Balsams, e.g., Canada balsam, Tolu balsam, Peru balsam, Stora..x Fixed oils and Fats, e.g., Olive oil, Castor Oil
  • Volatile oils, e.g., Clove oil, Cinnamon oil, Lemon oil

Some of these unorganised drugs of these groups are described below in the form of Monographs as representative examples for the students so that they can also describe other similar drugs.

LATICES

Latices (singular:

Latex) are the naturally occurring thick, sticky, turbid fluids, which occur as suspensions or emulsions in the laticiferous cells, laticiferous tubes and vessels of s01ne plants. The liquid medium of the latex suspension or emulsion consists of an aqueous solution of mineral salts, proteins, sugars, tannin, alkaloids and other chemical sustances and the suspended particles are oil droplets, resins, gums, proteins, starch and other similar substances. The latex may be white in colour, as in the Opium capsule; milky white, as in Calotropis leaf, or yellow, as in Chelidonium and Nerium species, or red, as in the rhizome of Sanguinaria canadensis, or colourless, as in the young fruits of paw-paw (Carica papaya). They are obtained from their natural sources by marking suitable incisions on the plant parts and evaporating the exuded latex naturally or art1ficially. Examples of some drugs prepared from dried latices are described below in the form of Monographs.

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