Power of herbs
“Nature as a remarkable chemist.” – Susan B. Horwitz
Herbs are the main form of medicine since ancient times. Ancient civilizations in Egypt, Europe, China, India, the Middle East, and Africa have accumulated sophisticated medical uses of herbs. There are about seventy thousand plant species worldwide having medical use one time or another during the history.
Herbal medicines contain numerous biologically active compounds found in nature, such as phytochemicals from plants. Because of their vast numbers and varieties, finding a particular beneficial compound molecule as a drug is possible. In contrast to chemically synthesized non-natural compounds, natural ones from plants, animals, or the environment have been co-evolved with humans, so we have already adapted and survived along with natural molecules. That is one of the reasons why natural herbal medicines are often less toxic and beneficial to us.
Finding Drugs From Nature
It is worth noting that some of the most successful drugs used today in clinics are initially isolated or derived from nature. Famous examples include aspirin from salicylic acid in plants, taxol from pacific yew tree, penicillin from mold, insulin from pancreas, and artemisinin from wormwood. Such as taxol, also called paclitaxel, is one of the most successful anticancer drugs.
However, in the field of natural drug identification, a significant hurdle is often missing drug target. Without knowing what factor causes a disease, it will be hard to scientifically prove why the herbs combat diseases and if the herbs contain active drugs; disregarding the presence of extensive patient testimonies. It is also hard to purify herbs to remove impurities if there is no target to measure the herbs’ activity during purification processes. We now have found a new drug target, and gain great opportunity to purify drugs from natural herbs.