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Chemical Biology: Approaches to Drug Discovery and Development to Targeting Disease by Natanya Civjan

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Chapter 10: Pharmaceuticals: Natural Products and Natural Product Models

Sheo B. Singh

Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, New Jersey

Natural products have played a vital role in the treatment of human ailments for thousands of years and continue to play a big role in the modern discovery of new agents for the treatment of diseases today. In certain therapeutic areas, natural products account for almost all key modern medicine used today. Many drugs are formulated and used directly as they are found in nature, some are derived directly from natural products by semisynthesis, and others are modeled after natural products. In this overview, examples of the pharmaceutically important natural products have been summarized.

10.1 Introduction

Natural product preparations have played a vital role in empiric treatment of ailments for thousands of years in many advanced civilizations and continue to play a significant role even today in various parts of the world. The use of plants and preparations derived from plants has been the basis for the sophisticated medical treatments in Chinese, Indian, and Egyptian civilizations for many thousands of years. These medical applications have been documented in the Chinese Materia Medica (1100 BC), in the Indian Ayurveda (1000 BC), and in Egyptian medicine as early as 2900 BC. Plant preparations continued to be the basis of medical treatments in the ancient Western world as well. This knowledge migrated through Greece to Western Europe, including ...

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