Medicinal plants are used not only by local practitioners (hakims), as household remedies, and by dawakhanas (Herbal drugs stores), but also by Pakistan's pharmaceutical industry. The business is in the hands of a few large trading houses in the areas that neither are organized nor work on scientific lines for the collection, drying, cleaning, washing, storage, and standardization of medicinal plants. Medicinal plants are either dried for further use or sold directly to the local grocers in fresh form, where the grocer does the drying him- or herself. The village grocers have to store small quantities for a short time until they are able to sell them to wholesalers of the local markets of Rawalpindi, Abbottabad, Murree, and Haripur. The fresh drug in the market is dried by spreading it in sunlight for 4-6 days, and then it is graded (pure, mixed), packed, and stored in bags ranging in quantity from a few kilograms to mounds (1 mound = 40 kg) or (1 mound = 88.1849 pounds), depending upon the mass and availability of the drug. The process of drying is generally crude because dust and other foreign materials get mixed in with them. Storage is not done hygieni-cally and the crude drug often gets infected with insects and fungi. This results in deterioration of the dried crude drugs and ultimately causes financial loss to the traders. In order to maintain quality, storage facilities need definite improvements.
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