Research: DE SMET, Pharmaceutica

Listed in Issue 37


DE SMET, Pharmaceutical Care Unit, Scientific Institute Dutch Pharmacists, The Hague, The Netherlands. writes that many of our present medicines are derived directly or indirectly from higher plants . The author has extensively reviewed the literature (525 references!) regarding the role of plant medicines in healthcare .




While certain classic plant drugs have lost ground to synthetic competitors, others have recently assumed a more prominent investigational status. Also, several novel plant-derived substances have entered into Western drug markets. Rewarding progress from clinical plant-based research has occurred, particularly with cancer (taxoids and camptothecins) and malarial (artemisinin) compounds .



De Smet PA. The role of plant-derived drugs and herbal medicines in healthcare. Drugs 54(6): 801-40. Dec 1997.


Given the clinical importance of many plant and herbal medicines, it is indeed highly questionable that the Medicines Control Agency may soon be granted the power to remove many of these products from the shelves of our health food stores (please see pages 6-7 of this issue).

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