Humans have turned to natural products, obtained from plants, animals and aquatic life for treating diseases since time immemorial. Modern medicine is based on ancient wisdom transferred over generations. Drug development relies mainly on natural sources. Herbal medicines are making a comeback due to lower side effects, and positive results in the long term when compared to synthetic drugs. The current drug discovery process relies on identifying traditional medicines followed by Bioactivity-guided fractionation to isolate significant lead molecules. Plants have a history of long-term use by humans and hence it can be presumed that the bioactive compounds obtained from plants will have low human toxicity. There exists a huge potential for discovering new antitumor drug leads by screening natural products either in the form of crude extracts purified phytochemicals which have already been described in the literature. The fact that phytochemicals like paclitaxel, vinblastine, vincristine and camptothecin are being successfully used in clinical practice and several others like combretastatin and noscapine are in different stages of clinical trials implies the importance of plants in cancer chemotherapy.
Part of the book: Alternative Medicine
The antioxidants available in fresh organic materials could vary significantly from all those we consume through diet, as it has historically been recognized. Plants contain several phytochemicals, which possess strong antioxidant activities. A large variety of phytochemicals have been isolated and characterized from familiar sources, including vegetables, such as onion and broccoli; fruits, such as apples and grapes; spices, such as nutmeg, pepper, and turmeric; and brews, such as green tea, oolong tea, and red wine; which possess strong antioxidant properties. This is typically affected by the usage of thermal and nonthermal food processing methods. This chapter deals with various traditional and unconventional techniques that can be utilized to recover bioactive constituents. Any traditional method’s extraction effectiveness is primarily influenced by the solvents utilized. Among the most effective approaches, notably pressurized solvent extraction, supercritical fluid extraction, pressurized low-polarity water extraction, enzyme-assisted extraction, pulsed electric field extraction, ultrasound-assisted extraction, and microwave-assisted extraction were reviewed. The contrasting antioxidant activities of various extraction techniques were emphasized, as well as the processing techniques and industrial applications for unconventional ways of antioxidant extraction. How well this varies throughout absorption, how this impacts gastrointestinal function, and subsequent accumulation into the plasma, but which in vivo biological consequences it has on the internal organs all are aspects to consider.
Part of the book: Recent Developments in Antioxidants from Natural Sources