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THE PHARMA REVIEW (DECEMBER 2008)

Confluence of Strategies for the Development of Botanicals

Pulok K. Mukherjee, S. Ponnusankar, Santanu Bhadra, S. Pandit and M Venkatesh

Abstract: The demand for botanicals has increased worldwide and an unparalleled growth in the sector is observed globally. The demand is estimated to grow in the years to come fueled by the growth of sales of herbal supplements and remedies according to several surveys. To compete with the growing market, there is urgency to expeditiously utilize and scientifically validate more number of medicinal herbs. But with increasing globalization, knowledge holders are concerned about the erosion of traditional lifestyles and cultures through external pressures, including loss of their knowledge and reluctance of younger members of the community to maintain traditional practices. Although traditional medicine has long been used, there is little systematic evidence regarding its safety and efficacy. In this respect exploration of the botanicals through international coordination with the development of operational methodologies consisting of wide array of standard operating procedures on screening, evaluation, quality control and standardization of botanicals based on their safety and efficacy is the need of the day for development of medicine as well as food supplements from natural resources.
 
Introduction
Over the centuries most of the countries and cultures relies on the herbal products as the therapeutics which can be traced back for at least 5000 years. Even today, herbal source is the most reliable foundation to discover the new chemical entities for the health care products. The evidences of the utilization of herbals in therapeutics are well documented in Indian system of medicine. In the last few years, a progressive impoverishment of this patrimony of secular knowledge has occurred as a result of the changes in society, which have been wrought by technological civilization. Today WHO estimates about 60% of total global population relies on the herbal products. Despite the golden history and distinct benefits, there are certain challenges in the development of herbal products and bring it back to the mainstream medicine system. The first and foremost issue is the assessment of quality, safety and efficacy in line with different regulations worldwide. In case of synthetic drugs there are well established regulatory guidelines for global usage of the chemical drugs. While for the botanicals the regulatory status differs between countries. On the other hand the less documentation and improper scientific proofs are available for the botanicals used in the traditional medicine. Various efforts have been made globally to highlight various developments taking place in the field of botanicals with respect to the assessment of quality, safety and efficacy. The significant developments that will be described through the article includes all aspects of their evaluation to neutralize the above mentioned challenges by coordination and sharing of technology among the countries for the global positioning of the herbals to serve better.

 

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