Natural products have played an important role throughout the world in treating and preventing human diseases. Natural product medicines have come from various materials including terrestrial plants, terrestrial microorganisms, organisms etc. Historical experiences with plants as therapeutic tools have helped to introduce single chemical entries in modern medicine. About 40% of the drugs used are derived from natural sources. Most are pure substances which are isolated from various organisms & used directly or after chemical modification. Natural products will continue to be important in three areas of drug discovery: as targets for production by biotechnology as a source of new lead compounds of novel chemical structure and as the active ingredients of useful treatments derived from traditional systems. Biotechnology will contribute more new natural products for medicinal use. Plants provide a fertile source of natural products many of which are clinically important medicinal agents. Natural products have traditionally provided most of the drugs in use. Despite the achievements of synthetic chemistry and the advances towards rational drug design, natural products continue to be essential in providing medicinal compounds and as starting points for the development of synthetic analogues. With the increasing power of screening programs and the increasing interest in the reservoir of untested natural products, many future drug developments will be based, at least in part, on natural products.
The Indian herbal industry is likely to double from present Rs. 7,500 crore to Rs. 15,000 crore by 2015.
The domestic herbal industry will grow rapidly in the coming years and by 2015, it is expected that the size of the domestic market will rise to Rs. 15,000 crore, reflecting a compound growth rate of over 20 percent.
Total global herbal market is of size 62.0 billion dollars.
The global herbal medicine market is expected to grow on account of increasing consumer preferences for natural medicines and aromatherapy over the forecast period.
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