Medicinal Natural Products

The valuable medicinal properties of different plants are due to presence of several constituents i.e. saponines, tannins, alkaloids, alkenyl phenols, glycoalkaloids, flavonoids, sesquiterpenes lactones, terpenoids and phorbol esters. Among them some are act as synergistic and enhance the bioactivity of other compounds. Natural products (and conventional medicines) offer great anticipation in the identification of bioactive compounds and their development into drugs for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Previously, the plant medicines were dispensed in the form of crude drugs like tinctures, teas, powders, poultices, and other herbal preparations. This eventually serves as the basis of the current modern drug discovery.

It has been estimated that about 80-85% of population both in developed and developing countries rely on traditional medicine for their primarily health care needs and it is assumed that a major part of traditional therapy involves the use of plant extracts or their active principles. In several countries, traditional medicine is still in vogue, and in fact, has been gaining more acceptability for treatment of chronic ailments. This is especially true for countries like India and China, which have a long tradition of fairly well-organized traditional therapy. In Africa, a great number rely on traditional medicine because of the availability and high cost of the synthetic drugs. About 20% of the population of the US takes herbal products, often in the absence of good evidence of their effectiveness. 

  • Natural products as anti-cancer agents
  • Natural products as anti-diabetic agents
  • Natural products as anti-microbial agents
  • Biosynthesis of natural products and potential usage for synthetic biology
  • Vaccines and antibodies

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