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Natural product research: the challenges facing the modern researcher

Ferro, V.A. and Gray, A. (2007) Natural product research: the challenges facing the modern researcher. Methods, 42 (4). pp. 313-314. ISSN 1046-2023

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Abstract

Natural medicine has and continues to play an important role in human history, for disease prevention, alleviating symptoms and cure. In some Western and westernised cultures the use of traditional medicine (TM) has been lost; however, it is still a widespread phenomenon in the developing world, with countries notably in Africa having 80% of the population relying on TM for primary healthcare (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs134/en/). Other continents such as Asia have begun to exploit the internet revolution by supplying richer industrilised countries with complementary and alternative medicines. This in turn has raised issues, in terms of quality control of materials, lack of evidence of therapeutic efficacy, conflicts with conventional medicine and problems of intellectual property rights (IPR). To address this, several reference centres, herbal information resources and new legislation have been set up, with varying success [1].