Department of Chemistry
New perspectives onhow to discover drugs from herbal medicines: CAM's outstanding contribution to modern therapeutics
With tens of thousands of plant species on earth, we are endowed with an enormous wealth of medicinal remedies from Mother Nature. Natural products and their derivatives represent more than 50% of all the drugs in modern therapeutics. Because of the low success rate and huge capital investment need, the research and development of conventional drugs are very costly and difficult. Over the past few decades, researchers have focused on drug discovery from herbal medicines or botanical sources, an important group of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapy. With a long history of herbal usage for the clinical management of a variety of diseases in indigenous cultures, the success rate of developing a new drug from herbal medicinal preparations should, in theory, be higher than that from chemical synthesis. While the endeavor for drug discovery from herbal medicines is "experience driven," the search for a therapeutically useful synthetic drug, like "looking for a needle in a haystack," is a daunting task. In this paper, we first illustrated various approaches of drug discovery from herbal medicines. Typical examples of successful drug discovery from botanical sources were given. In addition, problems in drug discovery from herbal medicines were described and possible solutions were proposed. The prospect of drug discovery from herbal medicines in the postgenomic era was made with the provision of future directions in this area of drug development. © 2013 Si-Yuan Pan et al.
Source Publication Title
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Link to Publisher's Edition
Pan, Si-Yuan, Shu-Feng Zhou, Si-Hua Gao, Zhi-Ling Yu, Shuo-Feng Zhang, Min-Ke Tang, Jian-Ning Sun, Dik-Lung Ma, Yi-Fan Han, Wang-Fun Fong, and Kam-Ming Ko. "New perspectives onhow to discover drugs from herbal medicines: CAM's outstanding contribution to modern therapeutics." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013): 627375-1-627375-25.