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Brief Description of Plants

Brief Description of Plants

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Published by Sayed Nudrat
This is a brief overview of medicinal plants in India , their uses and a brief explanantion of the properties of theses plants
This is a brief overview of medicinal plants in India , their uses and a brief explanantion of the properties of theses plants

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Published by: Sayed Nudrat on Mar 23, 2009
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06/15/2013

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A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF MEDICINAL PLANTS OF INDIA
NUDRAT.Z. SAYED AND USHA MUKUNDAN
Chapter Outline:
1.Introduction
1.1 Brief History:1.2 Medicinal Plants and their Uses in Present Age:1.3 Medicinal plants and Modern Drugs:1.4 Distribution of Medicinal Plants:1.5 Trade:
2. India and its medicinal wealth.
2.1 Indian Floral Elements2.2 Distribution of Medicinal plants in India 
3. Medicinal Plants of India.
3.1 Brief Overview:3.2 Brief description:
4. Some therapeutic actions, mode of action and some plants that possess theseactions.5. Current Status of Medicinal Plants In India.6. Trade of Medicinal plants in India.7. Conclusion.8. Reference. ____________________________________________________________________ 1. Introduction:
“There is no plant in this Universe which is non medicinal and which cannot be made useof for many purpose and by many modes.” This definition rightly suggests that in principle all plants have a potential medicinal value. Medicinal plants have beenconsidered as important therapeutic aid for alleviating ailments of humankind. Search for eternal health and longevity and to seek remedy to relieve pain and discomfort promptedthe early man to explore his immediate natural surrounding to develop a variety of therapeutic agents using natural resources.
1.1 Brief History:
Hundreds if not thousands of indigenous plants have been used by man from prehistorictimes on all continents for relieving suffering and curing ailments. There are evidencesthat suggest that Neanderthals, living 60,000 years ago in present day Iraq used
 Althearosea
which is still in ethnomedical use around the world today. The practice of organizedherbal medicine dates back to the earliest periods of known human history. Medicinal plants have been used in treatment of diseases in almost all ancient civilizations, from3700 B.C. Egypt followed by the Chinese, the Greeks and Romans. The Petric collectionfrom Kahun in Egypt (1880 B.C.), Atharvaveda (1200 B.C.) from India and the Avesta (6A.D) from Persia show that the early medicine was based mainly on religion and magic but also included a growing use of herbs.In spite of tremendous development in the field of allopathy medicinal plants and their derivatives still remain one of the major sources of drugs in modern and traditionalsystems throughout the world playing a major role in medicinal therapy.
 
1.2 Medicinal Plants and their Uses in Present Age:
The WHO estimates that 80% of people living in developing countries rely almostexclusively on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs. Medicinal plantsform the back bone of traditional medicine and hence more than 3300 million peopleutilize medicinal plants on a regular basis. Demand for medicinal plants is increasing dueto growing recognisation of natural products being non toxic, having no side effects.Furthermore an increasing reliance on the use of medicinal plants in the industrializedsocieties has been traced to the extraction and development of several drugs andchemotherapeutics from the plants as well as from traditionally used rural remedies.Moreover in these societies herbal remedies have become more popular in the treatmentof minor ailments on account of the increasing cost of personal health maintenance.
1.3 Medicinal plants and Modern Drugs:
Inspite of rapid development in methods of organic synthesis in laboratories, medicinal plants continue to play a significant role in modern medicine due to their inherent distinctchemical and biological properties. In nature a plant is able to synthesize complexmolecules, namely alkaloids, terpenoids, tannins, saponins, glycocides etc collectivelycalled secondary metabolites, from simple ones through highly specific reactionmechanisms that they use for defense and communication. It is difficult and expensive toduplicate such synthesis in laboratory. The compounds synthesized by the plants play animportant role as medicinal and pharmaceutical agents not only as purified isolates andextractives but also as lead compounds for synthetic optimization. As botanist Walter Lewis PhD and microbiologist Memory Elvin Lewis, PhD put it in their book MedicalBotany: “Nature is still mankind’s greatest chemist and many compounds that remainundiscovered in plants are beyond the imagination of even our best scientists”. Apartfrom being the sources for new drug the plants continue to play an important role inmodern therapy.Plants seem to have served as model in drug development due to several reasons the mainreason being their capability to synthesize complex compounds (secondary metabolites).Many secondary metabolites extracted from plants are useful in studying biologicalsystems and disease processes. At least 25% of all prescription contains active principlesextracted from higher plants which have persisted for at least the last 25 years.Biologically active substances derived from plants may have low pharmacological properties or they may be toxic if directly used however they can serve as templates for synthetic modification. Medicinal plants are an integral component of researchdevelopments in the pharmaceutical industry
 
and drug development, not only when plantconstituents are used directly as therapeutic agents but also when they are used as basicmaterial for the synthesis of drugs or as models for pharmacologically active compounds.In 1985, Farnsworth identified 119 secondary metabolites isolated from higher plants thatwere being used globally as drugs.These 119 useful drugs are still obtained commerciallyfor the most part by extraction from only about 90 species of plants. About 75% of thesedrugs have the same or related uses as the plant from which they were discovered.The scope of herbal medicines ranges from mild acting medicinal plants such aschamomile and peppermint, to very potent ones such as foxglove. In between these two poles lies a wide spectrum of plant medicine with significant medical application.
 
1.4 Distribution of Medicinal Plants:
In terms of life form medicinal plants are equally distributed across habits viz trees,shrubs and herbs. Roughly one third of the known medicinal plants are trees and equal proportion is shrubs and the remaining one third comprises of herbs epiphytes, grassesand climbers. Very small proportions of the medicinal plants are lower plants like lichens,ferns, and algae. The majority of medicinal plants are higher flowering plants. The major families in which medicinal plants occur are Fabaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Asteraceae,Poaceae, Rubiaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Apiaceae, Convolvulaceae, Malvaceae, andSolanaceae.
1.5 Trade:
The industrial uses of medicinal plants are many ranging from traditional medicines,herbal teas and health foods as nutriceuticals to galenicals, phytopharmaceuticals andindustrially produced pharmaceuticals.Medicinal plants also constitute a source of valuable foreign exchange for mostdeveloping countries as they are a ready source of drugs such as quinine and reserpine, of galenicals like tincture and of intermediates in the production of semi synthetic drugs.
2. India and its medicinal wealth:
India is well known as an Emporium of medicinal plants. Knowledge of medicinal use of  plants in India is amassed over millennia by tribals. For thousands of years Indian plantshave been attracting attention of foreign countries. People from countries like China,Cambodia, Indonesia and Baghdad used to come to ancient universities of India likeTakshila (700BC) and Nalanda (500BC) to learn health science of India. Dioscoridesmentions many plants including datura smoke for treating asthma, nux vomica for  paralysis and indigestion and croton as purgatives.It is evident that the Indian people have a tremendous passion for medicinal plants anduse them for a wide range of health related applications from common cold to memoryimprovement and treatment of poisonous snake bites to a cure for muscular dystrophyand the enhancement of body’s general immunity. There are estimated to be around25,000 effective plant based formulations available in the indigenous medical text used infolk medicine and known to rural communities all over India. Medicinal plants provideraw material for use in all indigenous systems of medicine in India namely Ayurveda,Unani, Siddha, and Tibetan medicines.
2.1 Indian Floral Elements:
India is a treasure chest of biodiversity which host a large variety of plants and has beenidentified as one of the eight important
Vavilorian
centers of origin and crop diversity.Wide variation in climatic, meteorological and topographical conditions prevailing inIndia due to its vastness makes it the repository of perhaps the most varied and luxuriantflora growing anywhere on the surface of earth. Indian flora is not only rich but verycosmopolitan. There is naturally a preponderance of genera and species of the adjacentcountries. Chinese, Malayan and Burmese floral elements are seen in the eastern regionof the country while European and Middle Eastern flora occur in the north western parts.African, Australian and American elements occur in some part or the other. In the alpine

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