A natural history of botanical therapeutics

Barbara Schmidt, David M. Ribnicky, Alexander Poulev, Sithes Logendra, William T. Cefalu, Ilya Raskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Plants have been used as a source of medicine throughout history and continue to serve as the basis for many pharmaceuticals used today. Although the modern pharmaceutical industry was born from botanical medicine, synthetic approaches to drug discovery have become standard. However, this modern approach has led to a decline in new drug development in recent years and a growing market for botanical therapeutics that are currently available as dietary supplements, drugs, or botanical drugs. Most botanical therapeutics are derived from medicinal plants that have been cultivated for increased yields of bioactive components. The phytochemical composition of many plants has changed over time, with domestication of agricultural crops resulting in the enhanced content of some bioactive compounds and diminished content of others. Plants continue to serve as a valuable source of therapeutic compounds because of their vast biosynthetic capacity. A primary advantage of botanicals is their complex composition consisting of collections of related compounds having multiple activities that interact for a greater total activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S3
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jul 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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