Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2004): Supplement 2:
2nd International Congress on Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica
Evidence-based bioactive phytoconstituents for human health and disease prevention
Elsayed Ali Aboutabl
Pharmacognosy Department, Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University, Egypt
The term “medicinal” as applied to a plant indicates that it contains a substance or substances which modulate beneficially the physiology of sick mammals. Thousands of species of higher plants have been used by man for that purpose. Modern techniques have revealed the enormous variety and complexity of so-called secondary plant chemicals, i.e., those which do not occur in all species, but which are restricted in distribution to certain plant groups. Thousands of new structures have been isolated, most beyond the imagination of the most inventive chemist. Advances in evaluating biological activities enabled to explain the rationale of using many plants in traditional systems of medicine. Nowadays, many evidence-based bioactive phytochemicals are ingredients of many pharmaceutical preparations intended for curing a wide range of diseases. Examples of plant-derived drugs with evidenced biological activities will be presented. In addition, the lecture sheds light upon the significance of phytochemicals in disease prevention and their value as “Nutraceuticals” or “Functional Foods”.