Qualitative and quantitative assessment of four marketed formulations of Brahmi
This study was conducted with the aim to compare two batches each of four popular commercial formulations of Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi), and report, if any, inter-batch variations. The formulations were procured from local market and analyzed for label specifications, uniformity of weight of capsule, identity, purity and strength parameters (total ash content test, acid insoluble ash content, water soluble extractive, alcohol soluble extractive, loss on drying). Bacoside A, one of the pharmacologically active saponin present in B. monnieri, was quantified in all the formulations using UV-spectrophotometer. In addition each formulation was assessed and compared for variation in biological activity using in vitro test for hemolytic activity using human erythrocytes. The results of the study show that there is a wide variation in the quality and content of herbal drugs marketed by different manufacturers. More importantly this study demonstrates that there exists a bigger challenge of batch-to-batch variation in the quality and content of herbal formulations of the same manufacturer. This challenge of providing standardized formulations is being faced by not any one manufacturing house but by all, and may be attributed firstly to, lack of stringent regulations and secondly to high variability in raw material quality.