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THE PHARMA REVIEW (JULY - AUGUST 2011)

Need of Interdisciplinary Approach for the Development of Herbal Medicines

Vimal Kumar

Abstract
India has a very long, safe and continuous usage of many herbal drugs in the officially recognized alternative systems of health viz. Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and Naturopathy. India has about 45,000 plant species; medicinal properties have been assigned to several thousands. Currently, with over 400,0000 registered Ayurvedic practitioners, the Government of India has formal structures to regulate quality, safety, efficacy and practice of herbal medicine. Millions of Indians use herbal drugs regularly, as spices, home-remedies, health foods as well as over-the-counter (OTC) as self-medication or also as drugs prescribed in the non-allopathic systems. According to W.H.O. 4 billion people use herbal medicine world wide. Assurance of safety, quality and efficacy of medicinal plants and herbal products is a key issue which needs to be addressed. It is clear that the herbal industry can make great strides in India, with the co-operation between drug regulatory authorities, scientists and industries. The current review give the approaches for integration of ancient system to novel standardisation methods and quality control data on safety and efficacy are required according to need of regulatory guidelines for interdisciplinary research of herbal medicine. Luckily, there is a realization to preserve the enormous trove of wisdom and traditional knowledge as also the cultures associated with them. Herbal medicines are a treasure house of the information, from which we may derive leads to fill many blank spots in the modern medicine by using Interdisciplinary Approaches. The recent global resurgence of interest in herbal medicines has led to an increase in the demand for them. The need of the hour is to evolve a systematic approach to develop well-designed methodologies for the standardization of herbal raw materials and herbal formulations.
Introduction
Herbal medicines remain the major source of health care for the world’s population. The world health organization (WHO) has recognized herbal medicine as an essential building block of primary health care of vast countries like India and China. We have yet to explore fully the vast storehouse of indigenous, tribal or folklore and traditional system of medicine of our country. In spite of advances in modern system of medicine, there are various areas like tropical diseases, herpes; AIDS, cancer, bronchial asthma etc. might be successfully cured by herbal medicines. Modern science has already accepted the potential of the herbs as a source of new bio-active constituents. There are numerous plants derived drugs of unknown chemical structure that have been found clinically useful in different alternative system of medicine including Ayurveda, Homeopathy and Unani system of medicine. The plants are a rich reservoir of potential leads for drug discovery against various disorders. Today the world’s looking towards India for more effective and safer new drugs to control various challenging diseases. Today, there is a novel interest in traditional medicine in all over the world as an alternative to pure synthetic medicines because of various problems associated with them. These problems include:

 

 

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