Research: GURIB-FAKIM,

Listed in Issue 137


GURIB-FAKIM, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Reduit, Mauritius, has reviewed (89 references) medicinal plants in the 21st century.

Abstract: Plants have provided man with all his needs in terms of shelter, clothing, food, flavours and fragrances and, last not least, medicines. Plants have formed the basis of sophisticated traditional medicine systems among which are Ayurvedic, Unani, and Chinese. These systems of medicine have given rise to some important drugs still in use today. Among the lesser-known systems of medicines are the African and Australian, Central and South American. The search for new molecules, nowadays, has taken a slightly different route in that the science of ethnobotany and ethnopharmacognosy are being used as guides to lead chemists towards new classes of compounds. It is in this context that the flora of the tropics, by virtue of its diversity, has a significant role to play. It needs to be said clearly that the issue of sovereignty and property rights should be addressed in line with the Convention for Biological Diversity.





This paper highlights the above, provides an overview of the classes of molecules present in plants and gives some examples of the types of molecules and secondary metabolites that have led to the development of pharmacologically active extracts. The paper also presents some data on the use of plant products in the development of functional foods, addresses the need for validation of plant extracts and stresses the safety, efficacy and quality of phyto-medications.


Gurib-Fakim A. Medicinal plants: traditions of yesterday and drugs of tomorrow. Molecular Aspects of Medicine 27 (1): 1-93, Feb 2006.

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