The Greek physician Dioscorides, who worked in the Roman army, documented over 1000 recipes for medicines using over 600 medicinal plants in De materia medica, c. 60 AD; this formed the basis of pharmacopoeias for some 1500 years. General threats include climate change and habitat loss to development and agriculture. Different species each require their own distinct conditions of cultivation. Berberine is the main active component of an ancient Chinese herb, Tobacco has "probably been responsible for more deaths than any other herb", but it was used as a medicine in the societies encountered by Columbus and was considered a, European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products, "The worldwide trend of using botanical drugs and strategies for developing global drugs", "Medicinal and aromatic plants trade programme", "Health benefits of herbs and spices: the past, the present, the future", "Antimicrobial functions of spices: why some like it hot", "The role of New World biodiversity in the transformation of Mediterranean landscapes and culture", "Discovery and resupply of pharmacologically active plant-derived natural products: A review", "People, plants and health: a conceptual framework for assessing changes in medicinal plant consumption", "Impact of Cultivation and Gathering of Medicinal Plants on Biodiversity: Global Trends and Issues 2. [39] The World Health Organization estimates, without reliable data, that some 80 percent of the world's population depends mainly on traditional medicine (including but not limited to plants); perhaps some two billion people are largely reliant on medicinal plants. [71], Terpenes and terpenoids of many kinds are found in a variety of medicinal plants,[72] and in resinous plants such as the conifers. A Review of the Recent Literature", "The importance of using scientific principles in the development of medicinal agents from plants", "Which botanicals or other unconventional anticancer agents should we take to clinical trial? There is no reason to presume that because a product comes from nature it must be safe: the existence of powerful natural poisons like atropine and nicotine shows this to be untrue. [91] Since many plants that yield pharmaceutical drugs belong to just these groups, and the groups were independently used in three different world regions, the results were taken to mean 1) that these plant groups do have potential for medicinal efficacy, 2) that undefined pharmacological activity is associated with use in traditional medicine, and 3) that the use of a phylogenetic groups for medicines in one region may predict their use in the other regions. [8][42][49][50][51], Alkaloids are bitter-tasting chemicals, very widespread in nature, and often toxic, found in many medicinal plants. Some botanists study the structure of plants. [48] The major classes of pharmacologically active phytochemicals are described below, with examples of medicinal plants that contain them. As chemistry progressed, additional classes of pharmacologically active substances were discovered in medicinal plants. They include digoxin and digitoxin which support the beating of the heart, and act as diuretics. Among many works on medicinal plants, Abulcasis (936–1013) of Cordoba wrote The Book of Simples, and Ibn al-Baitar (1197–1248) recorded hundreds of medicinal herbs such as Aconitum, nux vomica, and tamarind in his Corpus of Simples. The compounds found in plants are of many kinds, but most are in four major biochemical classes: alkaloids, glycosides, polyphenols, and terpenes. However, the more formal scientific study of insects began in the 16th century. These so-called non-digestible fiber tends to come from cellulose, lignin, and pectin — all plant constituents that resist breakdown by the body’s digestive enzymes. [91], The World Health Organization (WHO) has been coordinating a network called the International Regulatory Cooperation for Herbal Medicines to try to improve the quality of medical products made from medicinal plants and the claims made for them. 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