Priyanka Manoj Kumar, Sonam Saluja, Rachana

Abstract: Phytosomes are novel drug delivery system containing hydrophilic bioactive phytoconstituents of herbs surrounded and bound by phospholipids (phosphatidylcholine). These compounds can be considered novel entities on the basis of their physiochemical and spectroscopic characteristics. This form of drug delivery system is developed by keeping the facts in mind that, many of the herbal extracts loose their efficacy when, their active ingredients are separated from other components. The reasons being: many of them prevent the biodegradation of the active principles and might also be required for their better bioavailability. The present article is focused to describe the importance, methods of preparation and application of phytosome in pharmaceutical world.
During the last century many chemical and pharmacological studies have been performed on a number of plant extracts in order to determine their chemical composition and to confirm the indications of traditional medicine1,2,3. Most of the known, active constituents of phytomedicines are: phenolics, glycosides, and flavonoids1,2,4 which are present along with other constituents. It has often been observed that, the separation and purification of the various components of an extract may lead to a partial loss of specific activity of the purified component5. Very often the chemical complexity of the extract seems to be essential for the bioavailability of the active components5. Many approaches have been developed to improve the oral bioavailability of such formulations, such as inclusion of solubility and bioavailability enhancers, structural modification and entrapment with the lipophilic carriers. There are many factors which may contribute to the poor bioavailability2. Many phytoconstituents possess multiple ring structure which leads to poor absorption in human body when taken orally or when applied topically2,5,6. Therefore, they cannot be absorbed from the intestine into the blood by simple diffusion1,2. Limited solubility of few of them, in water and others in lipophilic phases, as well as hydrolytical instability at physiological pH values makes several botanical extracts containing polyphenolics and terpenes to get very poorly absorbed, when administered both: orally and topically. Bioavailability can be improved by using new delivery systems which can enhance the rate and the extent of solubilization into aqueous intestinal fluids and the capacity to cross the biomembranes. Polyphenolics exhibit a marked affinity for phospholipids via hydrogen bonding and dipolar interactions with the charged phosphates groups of phospholipids. It has been observed that, complexation with certain other "clinically useful nutrients" substantially improves the bioavailability of such extracts and their individual constituents. One of the nutrients that can be used and found to be helpful for enhancing the absorption are: the phospholipids7. To enhance the bioavailability of selected phtyomedicines, many researchers have developed a new series of noncovalent supramolecular adducts named "Phytosome"2,8. The meaning of the word "phyto" is plant and "some" refers to cell-like2,9,10. The phytosomes can be prepared from various herbal extracts including Ginkgo biloba, grape seed, hawthorn, olive fruits and leaves, milk thistle, green tea, ginseng, kushenin, marsupsin and curcumin9,11.



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