The history of therapeutic use of plant parts is as old as that of human civilization. The traditional system of Medicine, using natural products, was in vogue for many millennia, until about hundred years or so ago, when synthetic drugs, with their apparently miraculous, efficient and quick remedial effects, came into use to alter Pharmacotherapy drastically. Traditional knowledge and indigenous practices were forced to take back-seat and much of those were lost due to absence of methodical documentation exercise. However, during the last several decades, the unwelcome and sometimes severely harmful side-effects, as well as drug resistance and other complications arising out of the administration of many synthetic drugs have been realised. Consequently, the need to look back towards the age-old traditional practices and efficacy of plant based products has been urgently felt. In the recent past, the prevalent health care system has witnessed a marked paradigm shift, greater emphasis being put on products of natural origin.
Meanwhile, the enormous growth of human population and resultant anthropogenic activities have continued to destroy biodiversity and natural vegetation at an ever increasing rate, critically endangering numerous species of plants and making many totally extinct. Besides, some plants, well known to have medicinal properties are facing threat also because of their indiscriminate and unscientific over exploitation from natural sources to meet the ever-growing market demand.
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