Why are medicinal plants important?

Our first human ancestors found plants to heal wounds, heal diseases and soothe disturbed minds. People from all continents have long used hundreds, if not thousands, of native plants, for the treatment of various ailments dating back to prehistoric times. Medicinal plants can be defined as plants that possess therapeutic properties or exert a beneficial pharmacological effect on the human or animal body. Treatment of diseases with herbal remedies, whether purchased without a prescription in health food stores or purchased from traditional medicine professionals, can lead to unwanted toxicity.

Markers, if present, may not fully represent the myriad of compounds contained in. Potentially harmful ingredients can be included as contaminants or can be added intentionally to increase the desired effect. Contamination of products with Atropa belladonna (deadly belladonna), Datura spp. Common herbal preparations such as kava-kava (Piper methysticum) and St.

St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) has neurotoxic potential, especially if combined with other herbal or standard pharmaceuticals. May apple (Podophyllum peltatum), widely used in Chinese herbal medicine, is potentially neurotoxic. Medicinal plants have long been used in traditional medicine and in world ethnomedicine.

This chapter presents a look at the current state and future trends in the genomics, evolution and phylogeny of medicinal plants. These dynamic fields are at the intersection of phytochemistry and plant biology and concern the mechanisms of evolution and systematics of the genomes of medicinal plants, the origin and evolution of the plant genotype and metabolic phenotype, the interaction between the genomes of medicinal plants and the environment, and correlation between genomic diversity and metabolite diversity, etc. The uses of emerging high-end genomic technologies can be extended from crop plants to traditional medicinal plants to accelerate the breeding of medicinal plants and transform them into the living factory of medicinal compounds. The usefulness of molecular phylogeny and phylogenomics for predicting chemodiversity and bioprospecting is also highlighted in the context of drug discovery and development based on natural products.

Representative case studies of the genome, phylogeny and evolution of medicinal plants are summarized to exemplify the expansion of knowledge, pedigree and the paradigm shift towards omics-based approaches, which update our awareness of plant genome evolution and enable improvement molecular medicinal plants. and sustainable use of phytopharmaceutical resources. Medicinal plants from Africa have a wide variety of biological properties, which must be discovered, documented and explored. While other countries have extensive pharmacopoeias to use as a guide when it comes to medicinal plants, Africa has only a number of books that contain basic information.

There have been some recent developments with the publication of African Herbal Pharmacopoeia, a truly valuable resource. Although a second edition is being prepared, it focuses on the most outstanding, well-known and most used medicinal plants from different countries in Africa. During your trip from the field to the shelf, the material of medicinal plants can come into close contact with many sources of contamination. The risks of contamination with heavy metals, pesticides and other agrochemicals are of particular concern to growers and buyers of medicinal plants.

If contaminants of any of these types get into herbal medicine products, they are likely to cause adverse health consequences for the consumer. Adverse health consequences have been reported in several cases involving consumers who consume herbal medicines made from incorrect species of medicinal plants. The GACP guidelines for herbal starting materials place special emphasis on ensuring that medicinal plants are correctly identified, so that systems are in place to provide manufacturers of herbal medicines with the vital security that they are purchasing the species material desired. The source of the vast majority of medicinal plants is still nature, so the collection of plant material comes from land that is owned by the government or a local community (or both parties are involved) and is subject to local, national and international codes and regulations.

With the increase in competition for limited resources, the pressure on the collection of medicinal plants in the above-mentioned areas also increases. The GACP guidelines highlight the importance of adherence to both traditional and relevant government collection standards to ensure the sustainable management of common resources. Compliance with these rules will also ensure the availability of medicinal plants for domestic use by local communities (Fig. Studies from all over the world reveal that the medicinal importance of plant families only partially overlaps in space.

Advances have been made in modern (synthetic) medicine; there are still a large number of ailments or infections (diseases) for which suitable drugs have not yet been found. Clinical and preclinical data on some medicinal plants used as dietary supplements show that they may be useful in strategies to reduce the prevalence and mortality of CHD, either in the general population or in subgroups of people at high risk. Yasukawa (201) has reviewed the chemopreventive activity of natural sources, foods, supplements, raw drugs and Kampo medicines (traditional Japanese herbal recipes). Many countries of the world, that is, two-thirds of the world's population depends on herbal medicine for primary health care.

According to the recent WHO monograph for guggul, the plant is useful for the treatment of hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia. Good practices in the review and publication of studies on phytotherapy, with special emphasis on traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese medical matter. A modified form of this approach (Figure) can be a useful tool to engage other health promoters, address different forms of disease and propagate the ideals of medicinal plants. Medicinal plants have been the basis of treatment of various diseases in traditional African medicine, as well as other forms of treatment of various cultures of the world.

It should be noted that this analytical approach, when used to analyze medicinal flora, usually violates the statistical assumptions of homecedasticity and normality (Bennett and Husby, 200). Therefore, strategies for the promotion of medicinal plants for disease prevention in Africa should take into account the PHC approach. Medicinal plants have evolved over the centuries as essential parts of African civilization and are today widely recognized as representatives of its rich cultural and scientific heritage. Prescriptions for the treatment of common ailments such as diarrhea, constipation, hypertension, low sperm count, dysentery and weak penile erection, hemorrhoids, coated tongue, menstrual disorders, bronchial asthma, leucorrhoea and fevers are given by traditional medicine professionals very effectively.

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Andrea Pedraza
Andrea Pedraza

Hardcore music specialist. Avid social media nerd. Hardcore pop culture lover. Devoted zombie practitioner. Hipster-friendly communicator.

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