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Rupnar A. S.*, Markad S. T. and Supekar A. V.


Herbal drugs constitute a major share of all the officially recognized systems of health in India viz. Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and Naturopathy, except Allopathy. There has been an increase demand for the pharmaceutical products of Ayurveda in all over the world because of fact that the allopathic drugs have a side effect. The aim of the present review was to understand the knowledge of herbal medicines in respect to its development, present aspects of herbal drug discovery and the future prospects in herbal medicines with promotion and Ethno pharmacological approach to herbal drugs. The ancient civilization has developed the Indian Medical System with a long history of herbal usage for the clinical management of a variety of diseases in indigenous cultures and thus Ayurveda came into existence. The raw materials for Ayurvedic medicines were mostly obtained from plant sources in the form of crude drugs such as dried herbal powders or their extracts or mixture of products. Much work is now being done on the botany, pharmacognosy, chemistry, pharmacology and Biotechnology of herbal drugs. These new technologies will extend and enhance the usefulness of plants as renewable of valuable chemicals. In the future, biologically active plant-derived chemicals can be expected to play an increasingly significant role in the commercial development of new products, for regulating plant growth and for insect and weed control. In view of the progress of Western medicine not only new synthetic drugs but also herbal drugs have to fulfill the international requirements on quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal drugs have the advantage of being available for patients in the geographical area of the special traditional medicine. The development procedure of herbal drugs for world-wide use has to be different from that of synthetic drugs. While the endeavor for drug discovery from herbal medicines is “experience driven,” the search for a therapeutically useful synthetic drug is just like “looking for a needle in a haystack,” In this paper, we first illustrated various approaches of drug discovery from herbal medicines. Typical examples of successful drug discovery from botanical sources, problems in drug discovery from herbal medicines are described and possible solutions were proposed. The prospect of drug discovery from herbal medicines in the post genomic era was made with the provision of future directions in this area of drug development.

Keywords: Herbal Medicine, Current Approaches, Drug Discovery, Prospects in Herbal Medicine.

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