Medicines from Plants
To what extent are medicines extracted from plants vs
This website gives a list of over 100 drugs that were originally
discovered as plant extracts:
I have found other sources that claim there are about 120 drugs on the
market that were originally discovered in plants. Here is an example
I'm not sure what fraction of all medicines this represents. It
certainly is not a majority of drugs, but it is a very significant
number, especially since many of these plant-derived drugs are very
common and important to medicine.
Even though these medicines were originally discovered in plants, I
expect that nearly all of them are produced synthetically in
laboratories. Perhaps one of my colleagues will have a more definitive
answer about that.
C. Perkins Ph.D.
Couldn't recall the location of a reference, but I think that
about 40% of medicines have their origins from plants. Also,
about 80% of the world's peoples use herbs for medicinal uses.
You might try a google search for "plants, medicinal, ethobotany,
Anthony Brach Ph.D.
The answer to your question depends on where in the world you ask the
question. In the United States, most medicines come from laboratory
development and chemical synthesis. In Europe, there is a stronger
tradition of laboratory development and extracting medicines from
specific plants and plant parts.
Jim Tokuhisa, Ph.D.
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Update: June 2012