The Constituents of Medicinal Plants

The field of medicine has long been divided between so-called ‘rationalist’ and ‘vitalistic’ principles. While the rationalist/scientific model has held sway (at least in the Westernised nations) for the last couple of centuries, vitalistic concepts of health and healing have made a comeback in the recent decades. A vast array of natural healing modalities—both ancient and new—have emerged, and some are even challenging orthodox medicine for part of the middle ground. Alternative medicine has become Complementary and Alternative Medicine (capitals intentional), or CAM for short; however, the question is often asked: ‘Is there any scientific evidence that proves any of these therapies work?’.

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Tropical Plants Database

Raintree is dedicated to providing accurate and factual information on the important plants of the Amazon Rainforest, therefore this section of the Raintree web site is the most extensive. This Tropical Plant Database is continuously under construction as we continue to add more rainforest plants which are under research and update the information on the plants in the database.

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Natural Products Isolation

The term “natural products” spans an extremely large and diverse range of chemical compounds derived and isolated from biological sources. Our interest in natural products can be traced back thousands of years for their usefulness to humankind, and this continues to the present day. Compounds and extracts derived from the biosphere have found uses in medicine, agriculture, cosmetics, and food in ancient and modern societies around the world. Therefore, the ability to access natural products, understand their usefulness, and derive applications has been a major driving force in the field of natural product research.

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Pharmacognosy—A Brief History

‘Pharmacognosy’—has been coined by the merger of two Greek words Pharmakon (drug) and Gnosis (knowledge) i.e., the knowledge of drugs. The nomenclature—‘Pharmacognosy’ was used first and foremost by C.A. Seydler, a medical student in Halle/Saale, Germany, who emphatically employed Analetica Pharmacognostica as the main title of his thesis in the year 1815. Besides, further investigations have revealed that. Schmidt has made use of the terminology ‘Pharmacognosis’ in the monograph entitled Lehrbuch der Materia Medica (i.e., Lecture Notes on Medical Matter) which dates back to 1811, in Vienna. This compilation exclusively deals with the medicinal plants and their corresponding characteristics.

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