Trends in ethnopharmocology

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


The use of plants, plant extracts or plant-derived pure chemicals to treat disease is a therapeutic modality, which has stood the test of time. Indeed today many pharmacological classes of drugs include a natural product prototype. Aspirin, atropine, ephedrine, digoxin, morphine, quinine, reserpine and tubocurarine are a few examples of drugs, which were originally discovered through the study of traditional cures and folk knowledge of indigenous people. There is a revival of interest in herbal products (botanicals) at a global level and the conventional medicine is now beginning to accept the use of botanicals once they are scientifically validated. Ispaghula, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginger, Ginkgo, St. John's Wort, and Saw palmetto are a few examples of botanicals which are gaining popularity amongst modern physicians and this trend is likely to continue partly due to high cost involved in the development of patentable chemical drugs. There is growing evidence to show that medicinal plants contain synergistic and/or side-effects neutralizing combinations. Ethnopharmacology has already played important role in the development of conventional medicine and is likely to play more significant role in the years to come. A team work amongst ethnobotanists, ethnopharmacologists, physicians and phytochemists is essential for the fruitful outcome on medicinal plants research. While the ethnopharmacologists have a greater role to play in the rationalization of combination of activities, the phytochemist's role will slightly shift towards standardization of botanicals.


Journal of Ethnopharmacology