Novel Developments in Natural Products


Anwarul Hassan Gilani


Traditional & Complementary Medicine Exhibition 2007 (TCME 2007), Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia




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The use of plants, plant extracts or plant-derived chemicals to treat disease is a therapeutic modality, which has stood the test of time. Indeed today many pharmacological classes of drugs include a natural product prototype. Aspirin, atropine, ephedrine, digoxin, morphine, quinine, vinblastine, vincristine, taxol, artemesinin and tubocurarine are a few examples of medicines, what medicinal plants have given us in the past. Some active principles have limited therapeutic role but are invaluable as pharmacological “tools”. Some examples are atropine, muscarine, nicotine, cocaine, reserpine, yohimbine and himbacine. There is a revival of interest in the use of botanicals; Ispaghol, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginger, Ginkgo, St. John’s Wort,Mucuna prureinsandSaw palmettoare gaining popularity for the healthcare purpose. The impact factor of the journals publishing data on medicinal plants is rising with rapid pace and there is increasing trend to include Phytotherapy in the curriculum of Medical Schools in North America and Europe. Botanicals are considered relatively safe as they are believed containing multiple chemicals with specific composition acting as “effect-enhancing and/or side-effects neutralizing”, though this needs scienti¿c validation. We have recently demonstrated the presence of novel combinations of active constituents in different plants with synergistic and/or side-effects neutralizing potential in addition to discovery of novel phytochemicals such as himbacine, ebeinone, orientin and chrysoeriol acting selectively on target sites. A multidisciplinary team work of the ethno-botanists, pharmacologists, physicians and phytochemists is essential for the fruitful outcome on natural products research and such international conferences help achieving the goal.