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Apricot

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Apricot fruit is botanically named as Prunus armeniaca, is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. It is a small tree, 8–12 m tall; the leaves are ovate, 5–9 cm long and 4–8 cm wide, and a finely serrated margin. The flowers are 2–4.5 cm diameter, with five white to pinkish petals. The fruit is a drupe similar to a small peach, 1.5–2.5 cm diameter from yellow to orange. The single seed is enclosed in a hard stony shell, often called a stone.
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Botanical Names
Prunus armeniaca
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Urumana Hindi : Khubani Marathi : Jardaloo Gujarati : Jardalu Tamil : Apricot Telugu : Apricot pandalu Kannada : Apricot Bengali : Khubani fal
Chemical Constituents
Apricot fruit contains carbohydrates, sugars, fats, protein, iron and dietary fiber. Apricot fruit contains reducing and non reducing sugars. Apricot fruit is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and B carotene. The content of different mineral elements in the fruit is phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. The protein present in apricot fruit is only 0.67 per cent. The chemical composition of the seed shell of the apricot was investigated and it contains oils, soluble sugars, pectins, polyphenolic compounds, proteins and mineral elements. Essential amino acids comprised 38-41% of the total amino acids. Potassium was the most abundant element, followed by calcium found in apricot seed shell.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Throughout the centuries, the fruit, kernels, oil and flowers of the apricot have been used in medicine. Apricot fruit is antipyretic, antiseptic, emetic and ophthalmic in nature. The apricot seeds possess analgesic, anti-asthamic, antispasmodic, demulscent, emollient, expectorant, and sedative properties. Apricots are big source of B carotene and antioxidants which are very beneficial for human health. Cyanogenic glycosides are found in high concentration in apricot seeds. Laetrile, a purported alternative treatment for cancer, is extracted from apricot seeds. Apricot seeds possess anticancer property and were also used against tumors. Apricot oil can also be used against tumors, swellings, and ulcers. Scientists of Korea found that treating human prostate cancer cells with amygdalin, found in apricots induces programmed cell death. They concluded that amygdalin may offer a valuable option for the treatment of prostate cancers. Due to their high fiber to volume ratio, dried apricots are sometimes used to relieve constipation. Research shows that of any food, apricots possess the highest levels and widest variety of carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants that help to prevent heart disease, reduce low density cholesterol levels, and protect against cancer. In traditional Chinese medicine, apricots are considered helpful in regenerating body fluids, detoxifying.
Health Benefits
Nutrients in apricots can help to protect the heart and eyes, as well as provide the disease-fighting effects of fiber. The high beta-carotene content of apricots makes them important heart health foods. Beta-carotene helps to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may help prevent heart disease. Apricots contain nutrients such as vitamin A that promote good vision. Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, quenches free radical damage to cells and tissues. The degenerative effect of free radicals, or oxidative The copper and iron content in apricots helps in formation of hemoglobin. Thus, it is extremely beneficial for treating anemia. The lycopene and high beta-carotene in apricots make it a perfect health food. Regular consumption of apricots, which are rich in vitamin A can prevent this. Rich in beta-carotene, apricots have antioxidant qualities that reduce the risk of cardiac problems, strokes and even cancer to some extent. Since dried apricots have lots of potassium, eating some of these fruits can prevent hypertension. Health benefits of apricot include building up of energy and iron resources in the body.
Application in Cosmetics
An apricot is very nutritious fruit. It provides good health and is also beneficial for skin care. It contains nutrients such as vitamin A that promote good vision. Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, quenches free radical damage to cells and tissues. Antioxidants are very beneficial for skin health. Antioxidants keeps the skin free from signs of aging such as wrinkles, dark spots etc. Apricots possess the hydrating and revitalizing properties, making them an excellent addition to the natural skin care routine. The beta carotene in the apricots is great antioxidant for skin as well. Apricot is also effective to treat acne. Fresh juice of apricot is helpful in treating skin diseases. Apricot contains high amount of beta carotene it keeps skin glowing and healthy. It also removes the dead skin, blemishes, acne from the skin and imparts glowing skin. Apricot contains antioxidants which prevent the harmful effects of free radicals such as premature aging, stress, wrinkles etc.
Research References
yun-Kyung C., Mal-Soon S., Hye-Young Y., Jin-Woo L., Young-Sick K., Myoung-Hwa L., Jullia K., Khae-Hawn K., and Chang-Ju K. Amygdalin Induces Apoptosis through Regulation of Bax and Bcl-2 Expressions in Human DU145 and LNCaP Prostate Cancer Cells Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2006 29(8) 1597—1602 ARSHAD H., AZRA Y. and JAVED A. COMPARATIVE STUDY OF CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF SOME DRIED APRICOT VARIETIES GROWN IN NORTHERN AREAS OF PAKISTAN Pak. J. Bot., 2010 42(4): 2497-2502 Sa’ed J. O. Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Apricot Fruits Grown in Southern Jordan Jordan Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2007 3(3): 288-297