Plants are very useful to mankind, and many plants are exclusively used by
humans for medical purposes to prevent or treat diseases. In recent decades, natural products
including medicinal plants have gained major attention in the pharmaceutical research
field. Medicinal plants are the richest and commonly available sources for drug discovery.
Many pharmaceutical lead molecules are derived from plants. The cost of the treatment,
duration of illness and adverse effect/ toxicity of allopathic drugs cause an increase in the
use of alternative systems of medicines, which lead to the drastic development of herbal
drugs industry. The estimated market for pharma and pharma products in 2022 is $1.12
trillion and this indicates the global pharma needs. This may be due to changes in lifestyle
and increased risk of infection globally. The World Health Organization recommends the
practice of the traditional system of medicine as it is affordable, safe and culturally acceptable.
The objective of this review article is to summarize the importance of plants in
drug discovery, current perspectives and challenges.
Keywords: Adulteration, drug discovery, medicinal plants, panchamahabhutas, prakriti, toxicity, tridosha.
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