Scope of Drug Discovery and the Role of Stress in the Formation of Lead Molecules in Medicinal Plants of India.
Subhash C. Mandal
Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy Research Laboratory, Division of Pharmacognosy, Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Jadavpur University, Kolkata-700032, India.
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Natural products have been regarded as mainstay of drug discovery programmes. India, rich valuable source of traditional system “Ayurveda” offers an array of drug discovery leads to be useful for controlling several ailments. Diabetes spreads toxic tentacles all through and every section of the society. Recent failures in the discovery of new allopathic medicines have made natural product researchers to look into the searching of herbal-leads. Reverse pharmacology forms the major weapon of search of anti-diabetic leads. Documented/undocumented use of different unexplored medicinal plants by the ethnic groups forms primary step for the search of anti-diabetic lead. Expectation of low toxicity, plants used traditionally can be easily accepted. Increasing hectic lifestyle made the pathogenesis of diabetes so complex. Modern medicine attempts to use a single compound to hit single target of a particular pathway for combating the related disease. Whereas, traditional medicines exert synergistic effects due to its galaxy of phytoconstituents hitting multiple targets and thus acting through multi-mechanistic pathway. Henceforth, drug discovery from traditional medicine has two basic objectives a) Discovery of new chemical entities from plants b) Development of standardized polyherbal formulations based on traditional medicines formulae. Global acceptance and better therapeutic management for metabolic disorders, such drug discovery approaches be integrated with modern biology evolve a holistic system biology approach for the management of diabetes. Drug discovery from Ayurveda can make a strong impact on the western world. Traditional medicine has a long history of serving mankind all over the world. Phytochemicals obtained from traditional medicinal plants are presenting an exhilarating panorama for the expansion of modern therapies to combat against knotty diverse ailments. Amongst most precious herbal-medicines are analgesics like morphine and codeine from Papaver sominiferum, antimalarials like quinine and antiarrythmics like quinidine from the bark of Cinchona species, antitumor agents namely vincristine, vinblastine from Catharanthus roseus, taxol from taxus species, hepatoprotectives silymarin from Silybum marianum and antidiabetics like gymnemic acid from Gymnema sylvestre still play important role in orthodox medicine. As health aid the research on secondary metabolite biogenesis, isolation, preclinical and clinical studies have been accelerated in recent years. The local environment sets agenda of plant growth, yields in a given habitat and regulates the phyto-performance. Production of active ingredients in medicinal plants also gets influenced by the environmental factors. Samples from various agroclimatic conditions collected at different stages and covering the various plant parts needs to be investigated for obtaining the best out of a medicinal plant.