Importance Of Herbal Drugs

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CHAPTER – 1
INTRODUCTION
Our Mother Nature stands as an inexhaustible source of therapeutic agents for thousands of years and a remarkable number of modern medicines find their origin in natural products. Natural products, including plants, animals and minerals have been the basis of treatment of human diseases. The plants based herbal drugs are currently in great demand all over the globe as they imply safety in contrast to the synthetic modern medicines that are even though very effective but regarded as precarious due to their side effects to humans and environment. Modern health care system stressed more on the curative and lesser extent to the preventive aspects of diseases and very little has been done on the health promotive aspects.
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It is in this context the relevance of the holistic approach of herbal therapy becomes important. In spite of the overwhelming influences and our reliance on modern medicine, a large segment of the world population still hang on drugs from plants. According to a report by World Health Organization,more than three-quarters of the current world population still mainly trusts on herbal products for their primary health care. The major factors that led to the increased prominence of herbal drugs in this modern world include the inadequate supply of drugs due to an upsurge of diseased individuals among the growing population, rise in the cost of treatments in the modern systems of medicine, drug abuse and resistance of many synthetic drugs etc. So it is quite evident that the blind dependence on synthetic drugs is over and more people are coming back to naturals with hope of safety and security. Presently, approximately 25 per cent of the drugs prescribed by the modern medicine are plant based, which are either directly isolated or are synthetic derivatives of the bioactive…show more content…
Its diversity is unmatched due to the presence of 16 different agro climatic zones, 10 vegetative zones and 15 biotic provinces. The country has about 18,000 species of angiosperms, 23,000 fungi, 2500 algae, 1800 bryophytes and 30 million micro-organisms (Kamboj, 2000).In India, drugs of herbal origin have been used in traditional systems of medicines such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Folk (tribal) medicines since ancient times. Among these systems, Ayurveda is most practiced and widely accepted alternative system of medicine in India. Ayurveda, dating back to 1500-800 BC has been an integral part of Indian culture. As the name implies it is not only the science of treatment of the ill but covers the whole array of happy human life involving the physical, metaphysical and the spiritual aspects. Ayurveda is gaining prominence as the natural system of health care all over the world. The number of plant based crude drugs included in Ayurvedic Materia Medica ranges from about 260 in DhanvanthryaNighantu which is considerd to be the oldest written document to 570 in BhavaprakashaNighantu, written around 1500 to 1600

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