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Sharma Shallu* and Kumar Ishab


Herbal medicines have been widely used all over the world since ancient times and have been recognized by physicians and patients for their better therapeutic or biological value as they have no or fewer adverse effects as compared with modern medicines. Phytosome is a novel approach to drug delivery system that addresses the limitations of the traditional drug delivery systems (Suryawanshi, 2011). Phytosome is a newly introduced patented technology developed to incorporate the standardized plant extracts or water-soluble phytoconstituents into phospholipids to produce lipid compatible molecular complexes called phytosomes (Manach et al., 2004; Habbu
et al., 2013 and Pandey et al., 2010). Most of the biologically active constituents of plants are water soluble molecules. However, water soluble phytoconstituents (flavonoids, tannins, Xanthones, Glycosides) are poorly absorbed when taken orally or when applied topically either due to their large molecular size which cannot be absorbed by passive diffusion or due to their poor lipid solubility, severely limiting their ability to pass across the lipidÔÇÉrich biological membranes, resulting in poor bioavailability (Manach et al., 2004). Phytosomes provide better absorption and bioavailability than the conventional herbal extracts. When a stoichiometric amount of the phospholipid was made to react with purified herbal extract in an aprotic solvent, phytosomes were formed (Keerthi et al., 2014). Phytosomes, complex of natural active ingredients and phospholipid increase absorption of herbal extracts or isolated active ingredients when applied topically or orally. Phytosome are cell like structures which result from the stoichiometric reaction of the phospholipids (phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine) with the standardized extract or polyphenolic constituents (flavonoids, terpenoids, tannins and xanthones) in a non-polar solvent, which are better absorbed, utilized and as a result produce better results than conventional herbal extracts (Bhattacharya et al., 2009; Singha et al., 2011). Phospholipids are the main building blocks of life and are one of the major components of cellular membranes. In general, they are considered as natural digestive aid and carriers for both polar and non-polar active substances (Pandey et al., 2010). Most of phospholipids possess nutritional properties, like phosphatidylserine which acts as a brain cell nutrient, phosphatidylcholine which is important in liver cell regeneration. Soya phospholipids have lipid reducing effect and hydrogenated phospholipids serve as basis for preparation of stable liposomes because of their amphiphilic character (Schmitt and Lecithin, 2008). Phytosomal formulations enhance the bioavailability of active phytochemical constituents as they are now permeable and can cross the lipid rich biomembranes quite easily and the active components of the herbal extracts are well protected from destruction by digestive secretions and gut bacteria. Therefore, with help of phytosomal preparations, the amount of standardized plant extracts and phytoconstituents administered in body through several routes are required in fewer amounts for good therapeutic activity (Singha et al., 2011). With the advancements in science, the phytosomes have gained importance in various fields like pharmaceuticals, Cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals in preparing different formulations such as solutions, emulsion, creams, lotions, gels, etc. Several companies involved in production and marketing of phytosome products’ are Indena, Jamieson natural resources (Neffulusa, 2009). Many approaches have been developed to improve the oral bioavailability, such as inclusion of solubility and bioavailability enhancers, structural modification and entrapment with the lipophilic carriers. The phytosome technology developed by Indena meets this challenge by markedly enhancing the bioavailability of selected phytomedicines (Venkatesan et al., 2000; Longer et al., 1985; Sharma et al., 2005).

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