Phytosomes: The New Technology for Enhancement of Bioavailability of Botanicals and Nutraceuticals

  • S Bhattacharya


Lipid solubility and molecular size are the major limiting factors for molecules to pass the biological membrane to be absorbed systematically following oral or topical administration. Several plant extracts and phytoconstituents, despite having excellent bio-activity in vitro demonstrate less or no in vivo actions due to their poor lipid solubility or improper molecular size or both, resulting poor absorption and poor bioavailability. It is often found that, when individual constituents are isolated from the plant extract there is loss of specific bio-activity. Sometimes some constituents of the multi-constituent plant extract are destroyed in gastric environment when taken orally. Phytosomes are advanced forms of herbal formulations that are better absorbed, and as a result produce better bioavailability and actions than the conventional herbal extracts. They are produced by a patented process whereby the standardized plant extract or its constituents are bound to phospholipids, mainly phosphatidylcholine, producing a lipid compatible molecular complex. This phyto-phospholipid complex (phytosome) resembles a little cell. Phytosomes exhibit better pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile than conventional herbal extracts. Phytosome technology has been effectively used to enhanced the bioavailability of many popular herbal extracts including milk thistle, Ginkgo biloba, grape seed, green tea, hawthorn, ginseng etc and can be developed for various therapeutic uses or dietary supplements. Keywords: Phytosomes, plant extract, bioavailability

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eISSN: 1596-9819