Plants & Medicinal Properties
With tens of thousands of plant species, Mother Nature continues to inspire human life with the treasure of novel drug leads. New plant entities serve as drug precursors, drug prototypes, and pharmacological probes. Natural products have a great structural and chemical diversity offering opportunities for new drug design.
An integrative approach of coupling advanced chemical profiling and genetic fingerprinting of natural products delivers a realistic route for future industrial and pharmaceutical drug discovery.
Why We Study Plants
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that plant-based medicines provide primary healthcare for approximately 3.5 to 4 billion people worldwide. Approximately 85% of traditional medicine involves the use of plant extracts which may be called “modern phyto-medicine. Medicinal plants are highly esteemed around the world as a rich source of therapeutic agents. In recent time, approximately 80% of antimicrobial, cardiovascular, immunosuppressive, and anti-cancer drugs originated from plants. Countries are considering to integrate plant-based medicines into their mainstream health systems. For example, the Chinese government plan to integrate Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into their healthcare system by 2020.
Ancient Culture & Plant Medicine
Ever since ancient times humans have been looking for drugs from nature. Earliest Chinese, Roman, Greek and Egyptian civilizations recorded proof of medicinal plants in the form of preserved documents written on monuments and even novel phyto-medicine recipes. The oldest written evidence of medicinal plants was found on a Sumerian clay slab which included 12 drug preparations from plants such as poppy, henbane, and mandrake. The Chinese “Pen T’Sao” book was written with over 365 drugs, many of which are used in recent times such as Rheirhisoma, camphor, Chinese ginseng, cinnamon bark, and ephedra.