PHARMACOGNOSY & PHYTOCHEMISTRY
Tradtional pharmacognosy was focused on botanical - morphological aspects, but pharmacognosy today is mainly phytochemistry, specially devoted to the study of pharmacologically active natural products. Modern phytochemistry constitutes an important area for pursuit as physiologically or biologically active factors. It is a highly interdisciplinary science, encompassing a broad range of studies involving biologically active principles obtained from plants. Fundamental to all of the phytochemical work is collaboration. The days of working as an individual scientist in this field have ended, since no single person has all of the necessary skills to be successful. Therefore, the forming of interdisciplinary and international research groups is becoming a very fundamental aspect. Three primary roles for phytochemistry in the future can be presented: i) drug discovery, ii) establishing the rationale for the successful employment of crude plant extracts in disease treatment, iii) development of plants as chemopreventive agents which might prevent disease or toxicity of other agents (nutritional and preventive medicine, functional medicine). An area, where substantial new effort will be made, is the examination of compounds which may have prophylactic activity.
Teaching and research in modern pharmacognosy and phytochemistry, emphasizing the biodiversity of plants, encompasses biosynthesis, extraction, isolation, identification, analysis, bioactivity determination and synthesis of plant components of interest.
State-of-the-art techniques involve:
Frequently, hyphenated separation - identification technques are used, such as HPLC-UV, CGC-MS, HPLC-MS, CEC-MS and even HPLC-NMR. Mastering modern pharmacognosy and phytochemistry requires thorough knowledge of all the abovementioned techniques in their most sophisticated forms, e. g. special MS ionization methods, or MS/MS studies, or multidimensional NMR techniques. Successfull research endeavors in up-to-date pharmacognosy and phytochemistry definitely mandate a multidisciplinary approach.
Pharmacognosy and phytochemistry, the study domain of biologically active natural products, are presently undergoing a renaissance at the forefront of the pharmaceutical sciences. Opportunities abound to contribute in a meaningful way for the benefit of mankind. Thus, pharmacognosy and phytochemistry are key sciences poised to contribute substantially to the discovery of new medicinal and biological agents.
PHOTOS OF MEDICINAL GARDEN