Under-exploited plants offer untold economic promise

A recent article in Nature by Ameenah Gurib Fakim, President of Mauritius and former Professor of Organic Chemistry, about the abundance of commercially available drugs that have their origins in plants.

“Artemisinin, ginkgolides, quinine, reserpine, scopolamine, paclitaxel. What do these molecules have in common? They are all extracted from plants and transformed into useful drugs, treating conditions including malaria, nausea, cancer and high blood pressure.

Almost 60% of commercially available drugs are based on molecules derived from natural sources.

China and India have dedicated efforts to exploit knowledge of traditional botanical resources. India has a fully-fledged ministry since 2014 to leverage its 3,000 year old practice of Ayurvedic medicine and other indigenous medicine systems. As far back as the 1980s the state administration for traditional Chinese medicine worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to document, in English, species commonly used in medicine.”

Full article can be found here here