Background: This paper aims at establishing pharmacognostic parameters and anatomical descriptors of Ficus palmata Forssk. (Bedu) for the first time by utilizing more sophisticated modalities like HPTLC fingerprinting and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in addition to the conventional analytical techniques. Ficus palmata Forssk. is a well known, yet minimally explored plant of western Himalaya despite its tremendous traditional value. Hence, no monograph stating its standardization or rather its pharmacognostic standardization is so far available.
Objective: To establish the pharmacognostic standardization parameters of Ficus palmata Forssk. and to perform its anatomical and analytical evaluation by means of scanning electron microscopy and HPTLC fingerprinting, respectively.
Method: Pharmacognostical evaluation including microscopy and SEM analysis of the leaves and fruits of Ficus palmata collected from the western Himalayan region of India was done along with preliminary phytochemical screening, fluorescence analysis, and HPTLC fingerprinting studies of fruits of the plant.
Results: Presence of carbohydrates, alkaloids, tannins, saponins, lipids and phenols was confirmed in Ficus palmata through phytochemical screening. The physicochemical analysis provided standard ranges for parameters like moisture content, ash values and extractive values. Characteristic anatomical structures such as abundant trichomes, paracytic stomata, lignified fibres, cortex, sclerenchyma, pith with hexagonal cells were observed and stomatal index, vein islet number, and palisade ratio were established. HPTLC fingerprinting revealed the presence of the complex bioactive chemical composition of the extract.
Conclusion: The study is an attempt to establish the quality control parameters pertaining to phytochemical, microscopical and anatomical characteristics of F. palmata. The results of the study provide a useful application of the pharmacognostic studies, scanning electron microscopy and HPTLC for quality control of the leaves and fruits of F. palmata.