Nature provides in every country, suitable remedies on the spot of the ill to which humanity is locally most prone.
By Ashwani Kumar
| September 25th 2010 09:12 PM | Print
Family Fabaceae dominates the plant world and consists of a large number of plants which are having Ayurvedic medicinal importance. This family Fabaceae consists of 600 genera with 12000 species and are arranged in three well defined sub families and they are Papilionaceae, Caesalpiniaceae and Mimosaceae. The sub family Papilionaceae consists of 400 genera with 7000 species. The sub family Caesalpiniaceae consists of 56 genera with 650 species. The sub family Mimosaceae consists of 23 genera with 550 species.
A large number of crude drugs are reported in Ayurveda system of medicines based on plant source (Anonymous: 1952, Anonymous: 1986). According to current estimate nearly ¾ of the drugs is used for curing human ailments in India are of plant origin (Mitra and Jain, 1991). As many as 3226 out of 4752 communities in India representing 70% of the population are dependent on the traditional plant based medicines (Gadgil and Rao, 1993). The tribal communities use over 500 species of plants for medicinal purposes (Pushpagadan, 1994). Total herbal medicines have became an important and crucial area of research due to its non side effects and health care.
A large number of crude drugs are reported in Ayurvedic system based on plant sources (Anonymous 1952, 1986). The history of medicinal plant is intimately connected with the history of botany. Primitive man lived at the mercy of nature, in constant terror of diseases. A large number of plants provide a source of important crude drugs in traditional medicinal system in different parts of globe. Records of every civilization throughout the world reveal that a considerable number of drugs used in modern medicine were in use even in ancient time (Chopra and Handa, 1961).
No authentic records of any kind except a few archaeological sculpture of Mohan-jo-Daro are available from the pre Vedic period in this century. But Rig and Atharvaveda, which date back to 2000 to 1000 B.C. and which are our oldest Vedic literature resources, contain valuable information regarding medicinal plants of that period (Anonymous, 1962,1963).
Ayurvedic drugs with their two different actions may nicely be compared with the pharmaco-dynamic and chemo-therapeutic remedies respectively of the modern medicines .
Modern pharmacology being compartmental in nature i.e. organ and tissue-wise evaluation of drugs, mostly done through animal experiments and on the basis of physiological responses to them, with an idea of finding out a comparision or corelation of it with Ayurvedic pharmacotherapeutics. Contemporary drugs of modern medicine, pharmacologically developed and accepted in the therapeutics, act in a limited manner. Of late, some of the modern medicinal scientists have realized the importance of Ayurvedic concepts. Thus, Rienacker in his article “The future of medicines” says a new type of medicinal scientist are appearing on the scene who no longer regard diseases mechanically as local phenomena but as symptoms resulting from a general state of disorganizations and disharmony (Weiss, and Fintelmann, 2000). Sickness has been man’s heritage from the beginning of his existence and the search for remedies to combat it is perhaps equally old. Therefore, man has utilized the plant around him as prophylactic or therapeutic aids to health. The world’s oldest pharmacological or therapeutics writing comes from India and China but fairly large Indian population depends even at the present time on indigenous system of medicines such as Ayurveda , Unani and Siddha .
Untill 19th century, Botany and Medicine were practiced as interrelated art when they emerged as two distinct sciences (Leyel, 1974) . But in the recent times both these have been once again drawn together with the revival of herbal remedies and the growing curiosity about folk and native medicine and their possible scientific basis. The significance of herbal medicines is shown by the fact that according to surveys in 1960, nearly half of all prescriptions filed in U.S.A. contained one or more active ingredients of natural origin (Gosslein, 1962; Farnsworth, 1969). In addition, contrary to general opinion of natural origin has also increased in the recent years.
Schultes (1963) rightly stated that our challenge is to salvage some of the modern medico-botanicallore before it becomes for ever entombed with the cultures that give it birth. Kirtikar and Basu (1935) stated that the only way to illumine the whole field of native therapeutics is to survey it in small tracts and sift the value of those drugs peculiar to each provides in every country . There is a wide feeling that there is beneficience in the scheme of nature which provides in every country, suitable remedies on the spot of the ill to which humanity is locally most prone. Very little has been done so far to incorporate in the practise of physicians in the country the medicines which in India nature scatters broadcast from her lap.