Natural Drugs to Play Key Role in Healthcare
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5 January 2009
The preference for green food and medicine has resulted in the rapid growth of plant–based drugs, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, functional foods
Natural drugs, especially of plant origin, are expected to play a major role in the healthcare programme in the 21st Century, a leading scientist has said.
“The revival of interest in plant–based drugs and other herbal products is mainly because of the widespread belief that ‘Green medicine’ is healthier than the synthetic products,” said scientist P Pushpangadan in a paper titled ‘Health Food and Nutraceuticals – Traditional Wisdom’.
“This is mainly due to the increasing evidences of the health hazards associated with the harmful side effects of many synthetic drugs and the indiscriminate use of modern medicines such as antibiotics, steroids,” said the paper.
Pushpangadan is the Director General of Amity Institute for Herbal and Biotech Products Development, and has previously served as Director of the National Botanical Research Institute till 2006.
The preference for green food and medicine has resulted in the rapid growth of plant–based drugs, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, functional foods and even cosmaceuticals.
The scientist said that in the 1980s, this led to the rapid spurt of demand for health products such as herbal tea, ginseng and products of traditional medicine.
Health improvement and disease preventive strategies in treatment, prevalent in oriental systems, especially Indian (Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Amchi) and the Chinese systems of medicine are finding increasing acceptance all over the world.
“Because of this sweeping ‘Green wave’ a large number of herbal drugs and plant–derived herbal products are sold in the health food shops all over the developed countries.
According to some healthcare experts, there will be more dieticians rather than physicians in coming years,” Pushpangadan said.