Phytochemical constituents are distributed in various parts of plants and their localization is indicative of their therapeutic properties. Ergastic crystals such as calcium oxalate crystals are also found in almost all plant parts, which is an anti–nutrient as the dietary oxalates contributes to human ailments. Several of the medicinally useful plants contain these crystals and consumption of such plant materials in raw form can cause health problems in humans. Ergastic crystals can be an important diagnostic tool for the identification of raw drug as in Costus pictus a medicinal spiral ginger commonly called Insulin plant is devoid of cuboidal crystal but its related Costus speciosus leaves possess characteristic cuboidal shaped crystal in its leaf mesophyll. Gene manipulation technology may be promising in removing such deleterious genes or introduction of altered bio-chemicals to nullify such effects for the future generation.
Part of the book: Herbal Medicine