SEM-EDX: A Potential Tool for Studies of Medicinal Plants
Pp. 124-141 (18)
Naturally obtained compounds from aromatic and therapeutic plants, herbs
and shrubs have been playing a vital role in providing medicinal benefits for humans
since the prehistoric period. Ancient Unani manuscripts, Egyptian papyruses, and
Chinese writings have described the use of medicinal plants, herbs, and shrubs. Shreds
of evidence can be found from Unani hakims, Indian Vaids, and European and
Mediterranean cultures using herbs in medicine for over 4000 years. India has been
known to be a rich repository of medicinal plants. The forests in India are the principal
repository of various medicative and aromatic plants that are mostly collected as raw
materials for the production of diverse medicine and perfumery merchandise.
Treatments with these drugs are considered safe as there is minimal or no side effects.
The Energy-dispersive x-ray analysis (EDX) technique is useful in the study of drugs
and drug delivery. It detects nanoparticles, which are generally used to improve
therapeutic performance of chemotherapeutic agents. EDX is also used for
characterization of minerals accumulated in tissues. It can also be considered as a
useful tool in element determination, endogenous or exogenous in the tissue, cell or any
other samples. In the present chapter, potential applications of SEM-EDX in the study
of valuable compounds present in medicinal plants, herbs and shrubs have been
highlighted. Special reference was given to the rich biodiversity of medicinal plants
found in the state of Jharkhand and the need for preserving it for the well-being of
human-kind. The study provides information about the availability of some crucial
minerals and phytoconstituents, which can be used to provide dietary elements and may
also help in emerging new drug formulations. This chapter further highlights the role of
electron microscopy coupled with analytical analysis, particularly SEM-EDX, in
characterization of various primary and secondary elemental compositions. Since
medicinal products based on the extracts from plants, herbs, and shrubs are ecofriendly,
there is urgent need to promote extensive research in the field.
Herbal drugs, Medicinal plant, Pharmacology and ailments, SEMEDX.