Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, 2e
Book PrefaceFundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, 2e
In the last few decades pharmacognosy as an academic discipline, and its application in health care, has changed almost beyond recognition. With the revival of interest in natural drugs, phytotherapy and herbal remedies, new courses are springing up to educate students of pharmacy, medicine, medical herbalism, nursing and related professions. Knowledge about plant-derived products is essential in all areas of health care, not only because these forms of treatment are a popular and widely used healthcare choice (often as over-the-counter products), but also because of the importance of them in many medical traditions. Here, we aim to provide a modern, therapy-oriented perspective, as well as an overview which any reader or educated layperson will find interesting and useful. This book is not a guide to treatment, but a textbook presenting the scientific principles and the evidence, where applicable, underpinning the use of herbal- and other plant-derived medicines.
The content arose in part from the new lecture courses developed by the authors, and is intended to cover all fundamental aspects of pharmacognosy (the study of drugs of natural origin) as well as adding topics on the therapeutic use of such drugs, which is phytotherapy. There is no other book which covers the subject of medicinal plants as an important element of contemporary health care in quite this way and which reflects the current public interest in natural health care. We have combined sections on the scientific study of plant drugs – phytochemistry, ethnopharmacy and botany – with accounts of alternative medicine systems such as medical herbalism, traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, aromatherapy and others, and a comprehensive section on plant drugs arranged into therapeutic categories. Our purpose is to equip the student with the knowledge to evaluate these therapies, use them when looking to develop drugs and herbal products, and when advising the patient who wishes to try them.
Natural product-derived drugs also include those produced by biotechnology and from animal and microbial sources, but we considered that, as vast and important subjects in their own right, no comprehensive coverage was possible in this text.
Chemical structures are included whenever necessary and appropriate, and we hope to encourage students to appreciate the relevance of the information they impart. In this new edition, we have increased the references and further reading material in each section, so the reader can delve further into the subject, and consult the original work from which our information was taken.
We thank all those who have contributed advice, suggestions and support, including our colleagues, and not forgetting our families of course.
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