Phytomedicine and Phytochemistry

The pharmaceutical industry’s interest in natural products diminished with the advent of such promising new technologies like combinatorial chemistry (CC) and high throughput screening (HTS). The prospect of such disciplines, aimed at accelerating drug discovery efforts, led some companies to dismiss their natural product programs. Combinatorial chemistry employs parallel synthesis techniques allowing the creation of libraries containing hundreds of thousands of compounds, whereas HTS allows rapid testing of large numbers of compounds. A significant number of drugs have been derived from plants that were traditionally employed in ethnomedicine or ethnobotany (the use of plants by humans as medicine as in Ayurvedic or Traditional Chinese Medicine), while others were discovered initially (through random screening of plant extracts in animals) or later, by determining their in vitro activity against HIV or cancer cell lines.

 

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