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Tomato is a savory, typically red, edible fruit, scientifically named as Solanum lycopersicum. The tomato plant belongs to genus Solanum and family Solanaceae. The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects. The tomato belongs to the nightshade family. The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Solanum lycopersicum
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Raktamaci, Rakta vrntaka Hindi : Tamatar Marathi : Tomato Telugu : RamaMulaga Tamil : Takkali Manipuri : Khamen asinba
Chemical Constituents
Tomato contains lycopene, carotene, anthocyanin, and other antioxidants. Tomatoes also provide vitamin C, vitamin A , high levels of anthocyanin, lycopene. Tomato is a rich source of lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants. Tomato is a good source of potassium, folate, and the vitamins A, C and E (1). In addition, tomatoes also contain valuable phytochemicals including carotenoids and polyphenols such as a-, b-, g-carotene, lutein, lycopene, b-carotene and flavonoids. Tomatoes also contain vitamin B, thiamine, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and proteins.
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.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, carotene, anthocyanins and many other beneficial phyto chemicals which are powerful antioxidants. These components impart number of beneficial activities such as anticancer, antidiabetic, and anticholesterol. Lycopene found in tomato possesses the ability to reduce the risk of human prostate cancer (3). It can also be included in cardiovascular disease prevention (4). Thus consumption of tomato products or lycopene has been found to reduce the risk of human prostate cancer. Lycopene inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cell lines, it is a potent antioxidant, influences expression of gap junction proteins, and inhibits growth factor signaling (5). Tomatoes are also beneficial in the prevention of colorectal adenomas (6). Lycopene, the predominant carotenoid in tomatoes, has the highest antioxidant activity among all dietary carotenoids and contributes to a reduction in the risk of several experimental cancers. It was also found that consumption of tomato juice by individuals with type 2 diabetes inhibited platelet aggregation after few weeks. Anti platelet medical therapies have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications in type 2 diabetes. Lycopene is the most efficient singlet oxygen quencher in vitro (7). Lutein and zeaxanthin are also scavengers of free radical oxygen species, whereas cryptoxanthin stimulate the expression of RB, an anti-oncogene and p73, a p53-related gene. In addition to the inverse association of dietary lycopene with various cancers, studies suggest a role for lycopene in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention.
Health Benefits
It is widely acknowledged that the intake of tomatoes diminishes the prevalence of several cancers and cardiovascular diseases. It is assumed that antioxidant micro constituents present in these foods, i.e. vitamin C and E, carotenoids, polyphenols, and trace metals (cofactors of antioxidant enzymes), play a key role in the protection mechanisms by scavenging free radicals. Tomato possesses anticancer properties. It prevents the prostate cancer and colorectal cancer in humans. The possibility of a preventive effect of lycopene on the development of colorectal cancer is supported by the results of a case-control study in Italy, in which a high tomato intake was consistently associated with a reduced risk of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, including the colon and the rectum (8). Tomatoes also possess anti cholesterol properties. It reduces the low density lipid (LDL) i.e. harmful cholesterol concentration. Consumption of tomato products has been found to be inversely correlated with incidence of acute coronary events, development of early atherosclerosis, and mortality from heart disease. Furthermore, clarified tomato juice has been shown to inhibit human platelet aggregation in vitro and in an animal model. In addition, tomatoes are a very good source of fiber, which has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels, keep blood sugar levels from getting too high, and help prevent colon cancer.
Application in Cosmetics
Tomato is a great source of antioxidants. It is a rich source of lycopene, the most powerful carotenoid quencher of oxygen free radicals. Oxygen free radicals produced during exposure to ultraviolet light and stress is a primary cause of skin aging (11). Tomato can treat several types of skin problems including acne, blackheads, oily skin, skin rashes, and sunburns. Tomato contains a wide variety of nutritional elements not only good for the health but also for skin. It is most widely known for having vitamin A, and C which are beneficial for skin. As a powerful antioxidant, tomato fights free radicals from causing abnormal skin cell changes which can cause wrinkles, acne, discoloration, and many more diseases and skin problems. Tomato can brighten a dull complexion and reduce skin imperfections such as skin tone and texture as it is rich in vitamin C. Vitamin A in tomatoes builds healthy skin cells that are strong and resilient. This removes the dead skin cells from the top layer of skin, which eliminates excess oil and clears blackheads that fill the top of pores. For people with oily skin, the tomato balances the oiliness by reducing excess oil that sits on top of the skin. When treating acne, the tomato has the property to clean and cleanse the skin of bacteria that causes acne.
Research References
1. Ergun G., Birol U. and Beyhan K. Chemical composition of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) stalk and suitability in the particle board production Journal of Environmental Biology 2009, 30(5):731-734 2. Ahmet T. and Vedat E. Estimation of certain chemical constituents of fruits of selected tomato genotypes grown in Turkey African Journal of Agricultural Research 2009, 4 (10): 1086-1092 3. Thomas W.M., Zhiming L., Sunny K., Stanley L., John W. E., Steven K. C. Prostate Carcinogenesis in N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (NMU)–Testosterone-Treated Rats Fed Tomato Powder, Lycopene, or Energy-Restricted Diets Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2003 95(21) 4. Howard D. S., Simin L., Michael G. and Julie E. B. Dietary Lycopene, Tomato-Based Food Products and Cardiovascular Disease in Women J. Nutr 2003, 133: 2336–2341 5. Kirstie C. A., Brian L. L., and Shihua W. Combinations of Tomato and Broccoli Enhance Antitumor Activity in Dunning R3327-H Prostate Adeno carcinomas Cancer Res 2007 67:836-843. 6. Juergen G E., Christoph M., Christian B. and Christiane B. Lycopene, _-carotene, and colorectal adenomas1–3 Am J Clin Nutr 2003, 78:1219 –1224. 7. Tomato Juice and Platelet Aggregation in Type 2 Diabetes JAMA, 2004, 292(7): 805 8. PHYLLIS B., LONGWEN C., MARIA S., CLAUDINE D., ROOHOLLAH S., LUNA G., HYUNG-S. K., KONSTANTIN C., AND RICHARD V. B. Tomato Sauce Supplementation and Prostate Cancer: Lycopene Accumulation and Modulation of Biomarkers of Carcinogenesis TOMATOES, DNA DAMAGE, AND CANCER 886 9. Andre N., Parviz G., Kenneth C. J., Daniel K. and the Canadian Cancer Registries Epidemiology Research Group Dietary Intake of Lycopene Is Associated with Reduced Pancreatic Cancer Risk J. Nutr. 2005, 135: 592–597 10. Marja-Leena S., Georg A., Antti A., Antero K., and Sohvi H. Tomato juice decreases LDL cholesterol levels and increases LDL resistance to oxidation British Journal of Nutrition 2007, 98:1251–1258 11. Viviane T., Christine F. C., Catherine C., Jean-Claude G., Charles C., Sylvie B., Maryse R., Marie J., Corinne B., Yves B. and Patrick B. Effect of Tomato Product Consumption on the Plasma Status of Antioxidant Micro constituents and on the Plasma Total Antioxidant Capacity in Healthy Subjects Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2004, 23(2):148–156