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Pharmacology - Essay Example

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The paper operates based on research question which can be stated as follows: How did people start using some natural products as drugs? The paper recommends for countries to invest in research that will enhance the identification of the right combination of natural products to treat a particular ailment…
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Download file to see previous pages... The study tells that use of natural products with therapeutic value is as old as human civilization. Harvey explains that prior to industrial revolution; minerals, animal and plant products were the main source of drugs. Many communities in different parts of the world have historically relied on natural products as the source of products. Tulp and Bohlin asserts that natural products have recorded the highest efficacy as a source of drugs. They further observe that plants were historically the most important natural source of drugs. However, Jensen et al. observes that Industrial Revolution and subsequent development of organic chemistry lead to the liking of synthetic products for manufacture of drugs. Tulp and Bohlin note that given the importance of plants as a source of drug, there have been research on ethno-pharmacology and toxicology which has helped to produce drugs from plants. Reliance on natural products as a source of drugs was overtaken by synthetic products because pure products could be obtained from synthetic compounds as argued by Newman. Moreover, it is easier to do structural modification to synthetic compounds which leads to the production of potentially safer and more active drugs. Furthermore, throughout human culture development, use of natural products is associated with magical and religious attachment. This stereotype thinking has worked against continued use of natural products as drugs in western countries where use of drugs sourced from natural products was considered as an alternative for the people with low income or those who are poorly educated. In these countries, reliance of natural products for drugs was also seen as a religious superstition that had no pharmacological importance. Despite these arguments, it is critical to carry out thorough evaluation on the place of natural products as a source of drugs in the current society. Umezu, et al (2002, p. 93) notes that throughout ages, nature has been the major source of most human medicines. Newman (2003, p.1026) notes that plants were the most used source of drugs with the first documented records on their use being on clay cuneiform in Mesopotamia while the best documented Egyptian medicine is that of Ebers Papyrus which was used from as early as 1500 BCE. Newman (2003, p.1026) explains that natural products are still available and being used as a direct or indirect source of leads to drugs against all classes of diseases. According to Harvey (2000, p. 295), it is not right to despise drugs from natural sources given that they were used traditionally, since at that time there was no systematic research on drugs and everything was based on trial and error. However, this has changed with the Fleming’s discovery of penicillin leading the more acceptance of the importance of natural products as source of drugs. Fungi as explained by Proksch et al. (2002, p.129) have led in breakthrough on antibiotics, anticancer drugs and immunosuppressants. In addition, there has been research on marine environment and this has bore fruits with several drug products in the market and others undergoing clinical trials. Weldon (2000, p.12948) explains that micro-organisms are also a source of drugs and asserts that ethnopharmacological, marine sources and microbiological sources must not be considered as exhaustive natural product for the manufacture of drugs. Plants as a source of drugs Rates (2000, p. 603) reports that about a quarter of all drugs prescribed international are from plants, pointing that 121 such active compounds are in current use. He further points out that out of the 252 drugs considered to by the World Health organisation as basic, 11 percent comes exclusively from plants while although a considerable number are synthetic, they are obtained from natural precursors. Some of the drugs obtained from plants include quinine and quinidine from the Cinchona species, digonin from Digitalis species ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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