Capsicum pods (or chili pepper) constitute the world’s second most consumed vegetable crop and spice after tomato in our daily culinary practice. Five indigenous species that are widely domesticated in various parts of India include Capsicum annuum L., Capsicum chinense Jacq., Capsicum frutescens L., Capsicum baccatum L., and Capsicum pubescens L. The chili pods of C. chinense Jacq (locally known as Bhut Jolokia in the Assam state of India) was officially recognized as the world’s hottest Capsicum variety according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Capsaicinoids, a group of chemical principles present in matured capsicum pods, are responsible for the pungency as well as pharmacological/medicinal properties of capsicum. Some important capsaicinoids include capsaicin, followed by dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin, and homocapsaicin. Traditional practices of capsicum pods of Bhut Jolokia have been well documented for the management of various human disorders/ailments, particularly in the north-eastern region of India. In modern medicine, Bhut Jolokia pods have been used in the treatment of arthritis, gastritis, toothache, and musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain including other pharmacological disorders and microbial infections. Capsaicinoids have been reported to exhibit a diverse range of biological effectiveness such as antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic effects.
Part of the book: Capsicum
Drug repurposing (DR) (also known as drug repositioning) is a process of identifying new therapeutic use(s) for old/existing/available drugs. It is an effective strategy in discovering or developing drug molecules with new pharmacological/therapeutic indications. In recent years, many pharmaceutical companies are developing new drugs with the discovery of novel biological targets by applying the drug repositioning strategy in drug discovery and development program. This strategy is highly efficient, time saving, low-cost and minimum risk of failure. It maximizes the therapeutic value of a drug and consequently increases the success rate. Thus, drug repositioning is an effective alternative approach to traditional drug discovery process. Finding new molecular entities (NME) by traditional or de novo approach of drug discovery is a lengthy, time consuming and expensive venture. Drug repositioning utilizes the combined efforts of activity-based or experimental and in silico-based or computational approaches to develop/identify the new uses of drug molecules on a rational basis. It is, therefore, believed to be an emerging strategy where existing medicines, having already been tested safe in humans, are redirected based on a valid target molecule to combat particularly, rare, difficult-to-treat diseases and neglected diseases.
Part of the book: Drug Repurposing