Basics Of Pharmacy: Cultivation,Propagation,Collection And Drying Of Crude Drugs

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Cultivation,Propagation,Collection And Drying Of Crude Drugs

Cultivation is the process in which soil is cut or dug and rearranged for better and improved plant growth.

The crude drugs which are widely used in home remedies or in industries for medicinal purposes are cultivated in a better way to get more constituents from the plant.

Benefits Of Cultivation 

Following are benefits of cultivation,

  • Cultivation results in the production of high quality crude medicinal plants.

  • If we give attention during cultivation and use proper methods to remove weeds then the crude drug obtained is free from contamination.

  • Cultivation results in better quality therapeutic constituents.

  • Cultivation results in improved growth.

  • Cultivation results in an increased yield of medicinal plants.

  • By using advanced cultivation techniques improved hybrids can be achieved.

  • Cultivation ensures a uniform supply of material and does not result in a shortage.

Factors Affecting Cultivation

When plants grow in wild conditions there is a variation of growth and secondary metabolites. Cultivation is used to grow plants under specific conditions and the following factors may affect cultivation,

  • Altitude

  • Temperature

  • Soil Condition

  • Rainfall

  • Soil Fertility

  • Day Length

  • Daylight

  • Air pollution

  • Herbicide

Consideration For Cultivation

  • Soil plays an important role in the growth of plants so before cultivation proper soil study is done and its physical, chemical and microbiological properties are studied.

  • The water holding capacity of soil is also kept in mind.

  • If we have well-balanced soil and bad seed it will also ruin our crop so the seeds used should be of high quality.

  • The seeds used should be botanically traceable.

  • If we use genetically modified seeds then these seeds should meet regulatory criteria.

  • The seeds used should be free from disease.

  • Nowadays disease-resistant seeds are used.

Plant Propagation

It is the process in which a new plant is grown from seeds or by cutting different plant parts.

Two methods are used for plant propagation which is as follow,

  • Sexual Propagation

  • Asexual Propagation

Sexual Propagation

  • It is also known as a seedling and it is the process in which new plants are grown from the seeds.

  • In simple words in this method of propagation seeds are used to grow more plants.

Qualities Of Seed For Propagation

The seeds used for propagation methods must have the following properties

  • It should have a high germination rate.

  • Seed should be free from disease and insects.

  • It should be free from other seeds.

Methods Of Sowing The Seeds

Different methods are used to sew the seed some are given as below,

  • Broadcasting Method

  • Dibbling Method

  • Miscellaneous Method

Broadcasting Method

  • The broadcasting method is a very important method used for sowing seeds and it is used when seeds are very small in size.

  • In the broadcasting method seeds are scattered over the well-prepared soil.

  • In a broadcasting method, it is ensured that seeds are not deeply covered by soil because if it happens then the seed will not germinate.


Example of seeds sown by the broadcasting method is as follow,

  • Sesame Seeds

  • Isabgol Seeds

Dibbling Method

It is also an important method used for growing medicinal plants and this method is used when we have medium-size seeds.

In this dibbling  method, seeds are placed in holes and covered by soil by keeping a proper distance between two holes.

Three to five seeds are placed in a hole and the number of seeds placed in a hole depends on the nature of the plant and our requirements.


  • Four to five fennel seeds are placed in a hole for good plant growth.

Miscellaneous Method

In these methods, the seeds are first grown in a nursery and when small branches come out known as seedlings then these are grown in main farms.


  • Cardamom

  • Capsicum

  • Clove

Advantages Of Seed Propagation

Following are some main advantages of seedlings.

  • These are long-lived.

  • Easy to grow.

  • This method is cheap.

Dis-Advantages Of Seed Propagation

Following are some drawbacks of seed propagation,

  • Plants grown by this method of propagation are not uniform in growth.

  • Plants grown by this method of propagation are not uniform in yield.

  • Require more time to grow

Vegetative Propagation

It is also known as asexual propagation.

Vegetative propagation is the process in which vegetative parts of the plant are used to grow a new plant. In this method, vegetative parts are placed in such a condition that it results in the development of new plants.

Usually, stem or roots are used.

Types Of Vegetative Propagation

There are three types of vegetative propagation which are as follow,

  • Natural Vegetative Propagation

  • Artificial Vegetative  Propagation

  • Micropropagation or Tissue Culture

Natural Vegetative Propagation

In this method of vegetative propagation, the vegetative parts of plants are put into the soil which is prepared for the cultivation of plants. After a few days, new plants start to grow.


  • Bulb of garlic

  • Rhizomes of ginger

Artificial Vegetative  Propagation

In this method of vegetative propagation, the new plants are grown from the vegetative plant parts by using some artificial techniques. It includes the following,

  • Plant Cutting

  • Plat Layering 

  • Plant Grafting

Plant Cutting

Plant Cutting is a technique used in artificial vegetative propagation in which specific vegetative parts are cut and placed in moist soil to grow into new plants.


Examples of plant cutting are as follow

  • Root Cuttings

  • Leaf Cuttings

  • Stem Cutting

Plant Layering

Plant layering is a type of vegetative propagation in which a new plant remains along with the parent plant and it forms new roots.


  • Simple Layering in lemon

  • Tip Layering

  • Air layering in mango

Plant Grafting

Grafting is a process in which vegetative parts from one plant are joined with another plant and this combination continues to grow.


Side grafting in cashew nuts.


Micropropagation is also known as tissue culture in which plants are grown from very fine, usually single cells under special aseptic conditions. It is also known as aseptic micropropagation.

Special nutrients and hormones are supplied to these plants.

Advantages Of Vegetative Propagation

Following are some main advantages of vegetative propagation.

  • No variation of growth.

  • Start bearing soon.

  • Grafting is used to produce disease-resistant varieties.

Disadvantages Of Vegetative Propagation

Following are some drawbacks,

  • Are not long-lived.

  • New varieties are not produced by this method.

Collection Of Crude Drugs

Collection of crude drugs is a very important step which is done after cultivation and it is the process in which drugs are collected from wild or cultivated plants.

Following are important points that should be kept in mind during drug collection,

  • The collection of crude drugs depends upon the skill of labour.

  • Drugs are collected when they bear maximum constituents.

  • Amount and nature of constituents of drugs vary season to season so drugs should be collected in suitable season.

  • Age of plant also plays an important role for drug collection so should be collected accordingly.

  • Leaves are collected before the season of fruits.

  • Some fruits are collected after fully ripening and some are collected before ripe.

  • The bark is collected in the spring season due to its easy removal in this season.

  • Underground parts of plants are collected and then dust is removed.

Harvesting Of Crude Drugs

The process of gathering useful parts of a plant is known as harvesting.

Harvesting is a process of sorting and it is the process in which unwanted or undesired parts are separated from the useful parts.

  • Harvesting ensures the removal of undesired parts which are not required for medicinal purposes.

  • Harvesting is manually done by trained labour.

  • Due to advancements in technology mechanical means are also used for harvesting.


  • Beating a clove with bamboo.

  • For rhizomes and tubers, diggers are used.

  • Peppermint with a mower.

Drying Of Crude Drugs

As the name indicates drying is the process of removing the excess moisture from the products.

In the case of crude drugs, it is required to dry the parts before delivering them to the marketplace.

Drying is performed to remove extra moisture and it increases product stability.

Drying stops the activity of many enzymes and also results in the inhibition of microbial growth.

Types Of Drying

There are two types of drying

  • Natural Drying

  • Artificial Drying

Natural Drying

  • Natural drying is the process in which crude drugs are dried in sunlight or under shade.

  • The selection of usage of sunlight or under shade depends on the type of drugs to be dried.

  • If our product is stable to the heat it can be dried in direct sunlight.

  • If the product has natural colour and volatile constituents then it is dried under shade.

Artificial Drying

Artificial drying is the process in which crude drugs are dried by using artificial drying equipment like,

  •  Tray Dryers

  • Vacuum Dryers

  • Spray Dryer

Tray Dryers

The products which are not degraded by heat are dried in tray dryers.

Tray dryers are also used for the inactivation of different enzyme activities.

In-tray dryers the crude drugs are placed in trays and hot air is circulated which dry the products.


Tea Leaves

Vacuum Dryers

The products which are sensitive to heat are dried by vacuum dryers.


Digitalis leaves

Spray Dryer

This method is used for highly sensitive drugs.


Papaya Latex


Garblingbis the process which is carried out after drying to remove dirt, sand or unwanted parts.


For market supply crude drugs are packed in proper packaging to give protection from environmental conditions and for safe transportation.


Aloe is packed in goatskin.


Storage Of Crude Drugs

Crude drugs are stored in well-closed containers at a place protected from rodents, moisture and fire.

Also Read

Classification Of Crude Drugs

Ginger And Its Constituents

Basics Of Pharmacology

Basics Of Pharmacognosy

Basics Of Drug Routes

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