Traditional Herbal Medicines: An Overview


By Debjit Bhowmik, K.P.Sampath Kumar, Pankaj Tripathi, Chiranjib.B


Herbal medicine, sometimes referred to as Herbalism, Botanical medicine or Herbology, is the use of plants, in a wide variety of forms, for their therapeutic value. Herb plants produce and contain a variety of chemical compounds that act upon the body and are used to prevent or treat disease or promote health and well-being.Herbal drugs have increasingly been used worldwide during the last few decades as evidenced by rapidly growing global and national markets of herbal drugs. According to WHO estimates, the present demand for medicinal plants is about US $14 billion a year and by the year 2050 it would be about US $ 5 trillion.  Now people rely more on herbal drugs because of high prices and harmful side effects of synthetic drugs, and this trend is growing, not only in developing countries but in developed countries too. Unfortunately, the number of reports of people experiencing negative effects, caused by the use of herbal drugs, has also been increasing. There may be various reasons for such problems, like one of the major causes of adverse effects is directly linked to the poor quality of herbal medicines. In addition, thousands of vaidyas have their own miniature manufacturing facilities. About 1200 licensed small manufactures in India are on record. The demand for herbal medicines is increasing and it is estimated that the production of herbal drug may be around Rs.4000 crores in the year 2010 AD. There are 1650 herbal formulation in Indian market and number of major plants involved in their formulation is 540.Medicinal plants have been a major source of cure of human diseases since time immemorial.


Key Words : Herbal Medicine, Drug Interaction, Standardization, Herbal Drug Evaluation


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