Most communities depend on plants for medicine
Most communities depend on plants for medicine. Over 80% of the population in Africa depend largely on traditional medicine to meet their basic health care needs. (WHO,2008) Globally, nearly three quarters of drugs are derived from plants.(Mustafa et al,2010)
According to the World Health Organization, Phytomedicine is defined as herbal preparations produced by subjecting plant materials to extraction, fractionation, purification, concentration or other physical or biological processes. There preparations may be produced for immediate consumption or on the basis for other herbal products. Such plant products may contain recipient or inert ingredients, in addition to the active secondary metabolites (WHO, 2001).
In the past few years there has been tremendous growth in study in the field of herbal medicine and its products and is gaining popularity in developing and developed countries. The herbal medicine are extracted from different parts of the plant, such as leaves, barks, seeds and flowers and prepared from a single plant or a combination of different plant species(Savithramma et al,2011).This bioactive compounds has the ability to heal. These include saponins, tannins, essential oils, flavonoids, alkaloids and other chemical compounds found as secondary metabolites in plants(Pavirini et al,2012).Secondary metabolites are potential source of novel antibiotics, insecticides and herbicides. This is because they possess antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-atherosclerotic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities (Mulaudzi et al,2012) The mixture could be simple, that treats minor illnesses such as colds, stomach, headaches and menstrual pains or complex preparations that are used for chronic diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis, epilepsy and Cancer (Ndhalal et al,2011)
It is reported that about 74% of plant-derived drugs that are currently in the market were actually derived from the knowledge of traditional herbalist on ethno medicines (Farnsworth et al.,1985).For example, the anti malarial artemisinin originally isolated from the Chinese plant Artermisia annua L. enabled the synthesis of more potent and water soluble artemeter,arteether and sodium Artesunate (Rashmi et al., 2014)
Quinine was first isolated in 1820 from cinchona officinalis L bark by polletier and convention and large numbers of derivatives was synthesized to more potent drugs such as chloroquine, Mefloquine,quinidine,cincholine and cinchonidine (Cechinel-Filho,2012).