Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2004): Supplement 2:
2nd International Congress on Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica
Ferula gumosa: Study on the phytochemical variability and the occurrence of adulterations
Betti G., Casabianca H., Schmidt M., Thomsen M., Omidbaigi R.
1Medicinal & Aromatic Plants R&D, C.N.R.S., Vernaison, France 2HERB Research, Germany
The resin of Ferula gumosa (galbanum) has been used in Persia for thousands of years. The habitats of this exceptional and endemic Iranian species is closely correlated to the parameters of rainfall and, mostly, to the usual winter fog. Within the last decades, the scarcity of the raw material was the reason for a dramatic increase in adulterations. Currently, more than five times the amount actually harvested in Iran is offered on the European market through different trading pathways! One consequence of this lamentable fact is the exchange of real galbanum against synthetical replacements to ensure reproducibility of the product characteristics. The international networks consciously causing the adulterations have been identified. There was even an intentional adulteration of numerous medicinal plant raw materials, deliberately risking serious consequences for the health of the consumers. Our research projects were aimed on a clarification of the situation for galbanum in Iran. With Khorassan, Elburz and Zagros, three big geographical areas were identified and distinguished according to their geology and climatic conditions. Within these three zones, Georges Betti took samples of botanically strictly identified populations of Ferula gumosa. Numerous of the collected samples of Ferula gumosa were analyzed by the CNRS (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique). In addition samples of some typical adulterants were taken and used as references for the identification of typical markers in commercial galbanum. The corresponding analyses are presented in detail within the posters of our working group. Besides an evident variability within the species, the analyses allowed us to identify some middlemen continuing to adulterate galbanum, with severe consequences for the Iranian regions economically depending on galbanum trading.