Personal tools
You are here: Home Research Trends & Opportunities New Agriculture and ICT Convergence Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

(Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A. - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)


- Overview

With the advancement of mankind in the field of pharmaceuticals, the importance of medicinal plants and their derivatives is growing rapidly. These plants are potential sources of biomolecules that play an important role in modern medicine in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension. 

Demand for herbal remedies is increasing, due in part to a reputation for fewer side effects. They are also considered a cost-effective way to develop new and breakthrough medicines. 


- Medicine Plants

Plants can actually have drug-like properties, and people have used them throughout history to cure disease or alleviate its symptoms - these plants fall under the umbrella of medicinal plants. Medicinal plants have the ability to synthesize a variety of compounds used to perform important biological functions and defend against predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals.

Some common medicinal plants are aloe vera, ginseng, sage, chamomile, tea tree, and pot marigold. All civilizations and cultures have been familiar with the benefits of these plants since ancient times and have used them for healing, religious, cosmetic, nutritional and beautifying purposes since ancient times.

In fact, some medicinal plants and their benefits are pretty simple—they boil down to kitchen remedies that make them both accessible and cost-effective. For example, ginger and garlic are used to boost immune function, reduce inflammation and even fight cancer. Lavender is another plant that may improve digestion and treat skin conditions. Many are used as home remedies for seasonal coughs, colds, stomach pains, and other symptoms.

Nature’s 9 Most Powerful Medicinal Plants: Gingko, Turmeric, Evening primrose oil, Flax seed, Tea tree oil, Echinacea, Grapeseed extract, Lavender, Chamomile. 


- Aromatic Plants

Aromatic plants are another group of plants that produce and emit aromatic substances that are used in the manufacture of perfumes, in cooking, and in the food, pharmaceutical, and liqueur industries. The particular aroma is due to a variety of complex compounds. The term essential oil is similar to essence or perfume because these essences are oily in nature and they represent the essence of plant active ingredients.

Essential oils and aroma chemicals constitute a large group of industrial products. The demand for and trade in these plant materials sparked a globalization that spread new ideas and new settlements.

Many species of aromatic plants are cultivated for such industrial uses, but most are still collected wild. The need for renewable resources for industrial products and the need to preserve plant biodiversity creates ripe opportunities for farmers to produce such crops. There is no doubt that the cultivation of medicinal plants and aromatic herbs has become a profitable business.


Beautiful Flowers_010723A
[Beautiful Flower]

- Herbal Medicine

Since antiquity, cultures on nearly every continent have discovered that certain plant leaves, when chewed or brewed or rubbed on the body, could relieve diverse ailments, inspire hallucinations or, in higher dosages, even cause death. 

Today, we live in a time when manufactured medicines and prescriptions prevail, but do they have to be the only approach to healing? Even with all of these engineered options at our fingertips, many people find themselves turning back to the medicinal plants that started it all: Herbal remedies that have the ability to heal and boost physical and mental well-being. In fact, at the beginning of the 21st century, 11% of the 252 drugs considered “basic and essential” by the World Health Organization were “exclusively of flowering plant origin.” Drugs like codeine, quinine, and morphine all contain plant-derived ingredients. 

Herbal plants have been used for centuries to cure all sorts of ailments. And, even though modern medicine has improved our lives considerably, both modern medicine and alternative medicine still rely on the age-old healing properties found in medicinal herbs. 


- Stanford Scientists Turn Yeast Cells Into Drug Factories

Today, pharmaceutical companies import these once-rare plants from specialized farms and extract their active chemical compounds to make drugs like scopolamine for relieving motion sickness and postoperative nausea, and atropine, to curb the drooling associated with Parkinson’s disease or help maintain cardiac function when intubating COVID-19 patients and placing them on ventilators

Now, Stanford engineers are recreating these ancient remedies in a thoroughly modern way by genetically reprogramming the cellular machinery of a special strain of yeast, effectively transforming them into microscopic factories that convert sugars and amino acids into these folkloric drugs, in much the same way that brewers’ yeast can naturally convert sugars into alcohol.


- Plant Manufactured Pharmaceuticals

Plant manufactured Pharmaceuticals are pharmaceuticals derived from genetically modified plants used as therapeutic compounds. This can be used as the replacement for the traditional method of inoculating animals for Cell Culture production. We can use plants to cure and prevent diseases that may have once been deemed incurable. Through biotechnological advancements, we are able to produce complex therapeutic proteins from plant cells. Such Therapeutic Proteins are seen in brands like Enevrel and Remicade for rheumatoid arthritis, Herceptin, a breast cancer treatment. Plants like tobacco are hosts for protein production for applications such as; anemia, hepatitis C & B, hypertension, antimicrobial, and liver disease.



[More to come ...]

Document Actions