Medicinal Plants: Properties, Uses and Production


Deepak Kumar Semwal, PhD – Assistant Professor, Department of Phytochemistry, Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Uttarakhand Ayurved University, Dehradun, India

Series: Herbs and Herbalism
BISAC: MED004000

The present reference book entitled “Medicinal plants: properties, uses and production” is based on the recent developments in the medicinal and aromatic plants sector. The contents provided in the present title are written by field experts from different regions. All the chapters were reviewed by the external reviewers and based on their opinions, necessary modifications have been made. The present book contains eight well-descriptive manuscripts with comprehensive information about the topics.

The first chapter describes the medicinal uses, bioactive constituents and biological activities of the genus Limoniastrum. The chapter also deals with the ethnopharmacological properties and traditional uses of these plants. Phytochemical analysis of these plants revealed the presence of gallic acid, catechin, and epigallocatechin as major compounds whereas the pharmacological studies showed antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumoral activities in different experimental models.

The second chapter covers the therapeutical potential, phytochemicals and natural status of endangered medicinal plants of the Ashtavarga group. These plants are used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine and popularly known as Kakoli, Kshirakakoli, Jeevak, Rishbhak, Meda, Mahameda, Riddhi and Vriddhi. These plants are grown in high-altitude regions and currently facing a problem of extinction in their natural habitat and hence considered as rare. Presently, efforts are being continued to cultivate them for their survival as well as to use them in medicine. The present chapter comprises the medicinal and chemical profile of ashtavarga plants together with their proper identification and traditional uses.

The third chapter describes the nutritional products derived from coneflower for athletes. This chapter covers the application of coneflower nutritional products for sportspersons published in the period 2000-2020. It has been noticed that the use of Echinacea supplements is most popular in United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The use of these supplements is common among professional sportsmen, varsity athletes, as well as children practising different sport disciplines.

The fourth chapter is based on the phytochemical, pharmacological, toxicological and commercial aspects of the henna plant which is the most popular religious plant in Asian countries. The dye of this plant is extensively used for the decoration of skin in the form of temporary tattooing, and also used as hair dye. A chemical compound called lawsone is the major constituent of this plant which is responsible for the dyeing properties. However, the chemicals added with henna to impart its colour and improve other dyeing properties are dangerous to use and causing contact dermatitis. Although it is a reputed medicine and cosmetic, there is a problem of adulteration in its products available in the market. Many products selling in the market in the name of henna are free from the plant extract and only contain synthetic paraphenylenediamine which causing the allergy.

The fifth chapter deals with selected anticancer molecules found in traditional medicinal plants. Since the current treatments available for cancer are either chemotherapy or radiotherapy that causes serious side effects, thus plant-derived products can be used as an effective and safe treatment for cancers. Various constituents like Vinca alkaloids, podophyllotoxin derivatives, taxanes, camptothecin derivatives and homoharringtonine were found effective against cancers.

The sixth chapter describes molecular aspects of herbal medicine toxicity. Several studies have shown that certain medicinal herbs can be poisonous and may produce a variety of undesirable or adverse reactions that are life-threatening and even deadly. In industrialized countries, the craze for products of natural origin is a relatively recent phenomenon, developed, in particular, in favour of aggressive marketing campaigns inducing in the public mind notions as false as they are dangerous such as the assertion “what is natural is harmless”. Several intoxications, often deadly, after herbal treatments have been reported which draws attention to the dangers of excessive use and the no control on this therapeutic model.

The seventh chapter covers the role of novel drug delivery systems in improving the bioavailability of herbal medicines. The herbal world is the soul of the health care system since ancient times because every disease has been curing or managing by herbal medication from that time to today. However, the herbal system of medication suffered from a lack of the required developments, which were necessary demands of time. Today, people are very much conscious about their health and again starting to shift towards herbal medication due to the serious adverse effects of synthetic drugs. Researchers are trying to develop herbal medicines in the form of a novel drug delivery system to improve drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics along with stability as well as formulation related issues.

The eighth chapter is based on the mathematical modelling and optimization in solid-liquid extractions of bioactive constituents of medicinal plants. In herbal medicine, the most important step in the extraction process that ensures the maximum bioactive potential of a medicinal plant. The efficiency of the extraction process mainly relies upon the extraction conditions and therefore it is crucial to describe the optimal conditions for the selected extraction method. Mathematical modelling and optimisation techniques are extensively used for planning and optimisation of solid-liquid extraction processes of bioactives from medicinal plants. Mathematical models provide valuable insight into mechanisms of solid-liquid extraction of bioactives being the main objective optimisation of the extraction process parameters.

Overall, the book is a collection of different research areas of medicinal plants. It covers general applications of a particular medicinal plant like henna, a compilation of pharmaceutical properties of a genus like Limoniastrum, a traditional combination like Ashtavarga, nutritional importance of a plant like coneflower, description of bioactive compounds like Vinca alkaloids, the toxicity associated with the herbal treatment, the use of novel drug delivery in improving the pharmacokinetics of a herbal drug and mathematical modelling of bioactives isolated via different extraction techniques. This book will be useful for academicians and researchers working in the areas of herbal medicine, traditional medicine and natural products. The book is also useful for Master and PhD students of various universities.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Genus Limoniastrum (Plumbaginaceae): A General Review of Medicinal Uses, Bioactive Compounds, and Biological Activities
(Imad Abdelhamid El Haci and Wissame Mazari-Centre de Recherche Scientifique et Technique en Analyses Physico-Chimiques (CRAPC), Bou-Ismail, Tipaza, Algeria, et al.)

Chapter 2. Therapeutic Potential, Bioactive Constituents and Natural Status of Endangered Ayurvedic Plants of Ashtavarga
(Mayaram Uniyal, Ankit Kumar, Ashutosh Chauhan and Deepak Kumar Semwal-Department of Phytochemistry, Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Uttarakhand Ayurved University, Harrawala, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India, et al.)

Chapter 3. An Overview of Coneflower (Echinacea)-Derived Nutritional Products for Athletes
(Kinga Kostrakiewicz-Gierałt-Faculty of Tourism and Recreation, University of Physical Education inKraków, Kraków, Poland)

Chapter 4. Phytochemical, Pharmacological, Toxicological and Commercial Aspects of Henna: A Religious Medicinal Plant
(Ruchi Badoni Semwal-Department of Chemistry, Pt. Lalit Mohan Sharma Government Postgraduate College, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India)

Chapter 5. A Review on Natural Compounds from Traditionally Used Medicinal Plants and Their Potential Use for Cancer Prevention
(Varsha L. Bhutadiya and Kinnari N. Mistry-Ashok and Rita Patel Institute of Integrated Study and Research in Biotechnology and Allied Science (ARIBAS), New Vidyanagar, Gujarat, India)

Chapter 6. Herbal Medicine Toxicity: Molecular Aspects and Recent Trends
(Leïla Aït Abderrahim, Khaled Taïbi and Mohamed Boussaid-Faculty of Life and Natural Sciences. Ibn Khaldoun University of Tiaret, Algeria)

Chapter 7. Advancements in Herbal Medications through Novel Drug Delivery Systems
(Ravindra Semwal and Sunil Kumar Joshi-Research and Development Centre, Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Uttarakhand Ayurved University, Harrawala, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India, et al.)

Chapter 8. Mathematical Modelling and Optimisation in Solid-Liquid Extractions of Bioactives from Medicinal Plants
(Davor Valinger, Tamara Jurina, Maja Benković, Jasenka Gajdoš Kljusurić and Ana Jurinjak Tušek-Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Pierottijeva, Zagreb, Croatia)


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