Medicinal Plants: Ethno-Uses to Biotechnology Era

Chapter

Abstract

To date, medicinal plants form the backbone of primary healthcare for 70–95% of the population of the developing world. Therefore, medicinal plants help in alleviating human suffering and are widely used for traditional remedies, pharmaceutical materials, and trade. Cancer patients numbers are increasing worldwide, ranking this disease as the second disease cause of mortality for both sexes. Traditionally, medicinal plants have been used in the fight against cancer, then it is considered as the basis for medicines discovery, and nowadays more than 70% of anticancer drugs have a natural source. The biotechnological tools are necessary to select, multiply, improve, and analyze medicinal plants. This chapter highlights the history of using the medicinal plants indigenously worldwide, i.e., anticancer reservoirs and also answers to many questions, such as: Why the importance of using medicinal plants is increasing recently? What are the benefits of applying the biotechnology in medicinal plants? It then describes the new biotech technique of the traceability by using PCR-DGGE to determine the geographical origin of medicinal plants (a case study of Physalis fruits from four different countries) by analyzing the DNA fragments of microorganisms (yeasts) on plants. This method is based on the assumption that the microbial communities of environmental samples are unique to a geographic area.

Keywords

Ethnomedicine history Medicinal plants Anticancer reservoirs Benefits of biotechnology Traceability PCR-DGGE Origin 

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of AgricultureMinufiya UniversityShibin El KomEgypt

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