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Sources and Nature of Drugs

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Drugs are substances or products that are used or intended to be used to modify or explore physiological systems or pathological states for the benefit of the recipient. It is only logical that these drugs might arise from several sources. The sources of drugs have travelled through a complete arc, being derived mainly from natural sources in the early centuries to being synthetically manufactured today. There is also a grey area in between, which constitutes the semi-synthetic sources. While natural alkaloids and glycosides are still used today, the synthetically manufactured drugs generally have higher yields that are significantly associated with quality, purity and low cost. This chapter deals with almost all the sources of drugs known to man. The nature of drugs relates to the physical or chemical properties of drugs, in general. These properties including drug matter, drug size, drug shape and drug bonds, and others are also explained in brief at the end of this chapter.


  • Chemical name
  • Generic name
  • Proprietary name
  • Alkaloids
  • Glycosides

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Arivazhahan, A. (2019). Sources and Nature of Drugs. In: Raj, G., Raveendran, R. (eds) Introduction to Basics of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Springer, Singapore.

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