Unlocking Nature's Pharmacy The Significance of Medicinal Plants in Healthcare



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The rationale of the proposed topic

The best source of medicine from the dawn of time has been medicinal plants. Plants are used to heal a variety of human illnesses, according to Ayurveda and other Indian literature. India is home to over 45000 plant species, and thousands of them have been claimed to have healing qualities (Mukherjee et al., 2006). 

Throughout history, medicinal uses of plants to prevent illness and treat it, particularly chronic disorders. Yet, for issues of safety and effectiveness, adulteration and the use of fake materials as alternatives have emerged as serious worries for users and the industry. As a result, medicinal plants must be authenticated (Petrovska, 2012). 

The issue is resolved by distinguishing the real substance from adulterants, replacements, and fake medications using morphological, anatomical, chemical, and genetic markers. Nucleotide sequences are used by DNA markers to identify species; they are preferred to the other two markers since they are not tissue- or age-specific and have a greater level of discrimination (Mukherjee et al., 2006). 

Diabetes mellitus is brought on by a lack of insulin produced by the pancreas. It is a widespread issue, and more people are becoming impacted every day. As a result of the widespread usage of plants and substances produced from them for the treatment of diabetes, plants represent a possible source of hypoglycemic medications. In the Indian medical system, including Ayurveda, several medicinal herbs have shown promise as hypoglycemics (Akhani et al., 2004). 

According to the World Health Organization's most recent estimates, there were 171 million diabetics globally in 2000. By 2013, there were 347 million diabetics worldwide. By 2030, it is anticipated that there would be 552 million, with more than 80% of deaths taking place in emerging nations. By 2030, the FDA expects the number of deaths from diabetes to double. By 2030, at least one in ten persons could have diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Nevertheless, the number is changing, with 366 million people estimated to have diabetes by 2030, according to a WHO report from 2006 (World Health Organization: WHO, 2019).

Anti-diabetic pharmaceuticals, sometimes known as diabetes medications, are employed to treat diabetes mellitus by reducing blood glucose levels. There are various anti-diabetic drug classes, and the choice of medication is influenced by the patient's age, pathological conditions, and type of diabetes. Together with dietary changes, conventional medications are used to control diabetes (Patel et al., 2012). They are not wholly successful, though, and no one with diabetes has ever been said to have fully recovered. The usage of hypoglycemic medications can have several adverse effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, and stomach distress. There may be additional signs as well, such as chills, cold sweats, trembling, a rapid heartbeat, weakness, and fainting (Sheikh et al., 2015).

To manage the effects of climate change on the world's biodiversity, comprehensive taxonomy and species diversity inventories are urgently needed. Sadly, these resources were insufficient and unevenly dispersed throughout the world. Furthermore, it is probable that taxonomic resources will diminish in the future. This is especially true given that academic achievement metrics like the citation index do not value fundamental taxonomic work. The degree of taxonomic identification accuracy may overestimate or underestimate the number of species that warrant conservation attention in a given community. Taxonomic identification could be challenging, particularly for tropical trees since individuals belonging to the same species might differ morphologically depending on their age or growing circumstances and because species that are closely related can be morphologically very similar.

Scope of the study

Long-term, it would be desired to boost the level of species discrimination over what could be achieved by combining equal five of markers examined here. We are coming closer to routine sequencing of plastid whole genome sequences and nrDNA ITS from phylogenetically diverse sample sets. The existing methods might be replaced by these when they are as cost-effective as Sanger sequencing a few loci when dealing with a lot of samples and/or are broadly accessible to the several smaller facilities working on DNA barcoding.

It will be useful to note that many plants in the genus lack DNA sequences and that there is currently no global database filled with DNA sequence information to provide a reliable genus-level identification system for seedlings by connections to high-quality digitalized reference test samples of the specimens that were sequenced. However, despite the plant barcodes' current limitations in resolution, they are nonetheless helpful for a variety of tasks, from the discovery of novel species to "ecological forensic" analyses of community structure. Moreover, to useful results like the discovery that 30% of evaluated commercial tea drinks contained additives that weren't listed on the label.

Review of literature

53 million people, or 8% of the country's total population, are considered tribal in India. Several geographic ecosystems contain more than 550 different ethnic groups. Gujarat is indeed a state with a variety of cultures. Gujarat has roughly 70.97 million tribal people, ranking fifth in India and constituting 12.5% of the state's overall population. 

Traditional medical practises are still used by a large number of individuals. Due to a number of factors, such as population growth, a lack of medication, prohibitive treatment costs, the side effects of several synthetic drugs, and the beginnings of drug resistance to currently recommended medications for infectious diseases, there has been an increased focus on using plant materials as a source of medicine for a variety of human maladies. India was a renowned rich source of medicinal plants among ancient civilizations (Patel et al., 2012).

The great majority of the medicinal and aromatic plants that are gathered from India's forests are used as raw materials to make pharmaceuticals and perfumery products. 8,000 herbal therapies have been standardised within the AYUSH systems of India.

As there are no or few adverse effects, medication using medicinal plants is safe. The primary benefit of these medicines is that they work in harmony with nature. The most important aspect is that anyone of any age or gender can take herbal remedies. According to ancient scholars, many health-related issues and disorders were solely treated using herbs. To obtain trustworthy findings on the efficacy of numerous herbs with medicinal qualities, they tested and carried out extensive research. The majority of these drugs have few side effects or reactions (Castiglioni, 2019).

60% of the world's population takes conventional drugs made from healing plants. The focus of this essay is on using plants and natural remedies in India to avoid diabetes. Worldwide, diabetes is a disease that affects a lot of people from all walks of life. In India, especially in the cities, it is becoming as a serious health concern. despite the fact that there are numerous approaches to minimise the bad impacts of Type 2 diabetes and its ensuing complications, herbal formulations are preferred since they are less expensive and have fewer side effects. A collection of herbal diabetes treatments and medicinal plants with recognised antidiabetic and associated therapeutic benefits is compiled (Modak et al., 2007).

The western region of India is the state of Gujarat. Less than 10% of its geographical area is covered with forest, hence it has poor forest cover, but it has a reasonably high level of biodiversity (Kumar et al., 2013). Around 15% of the state's population is comprised of tribal people. Eight districts, namely Dangs, Valsad, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Panchmahals, Sabarkantha, and Banaskantha, make up the majority of the tribal people living in the forest areas along the state's eastern border. Several studies on Gujarati tribal tribes have found that, of the 2000 plant species there, 760 are therapeutic and 450 are economic and ethnobotanical relevance (Kumar et al., 2015).

Even now, most therapeutic plants are still harvested from the wild. Several species are now considered to have populations in their native habitats as a result of the ongoing commercialisation of these plants. Vacuum is predicted to develop in the supply of raw plant components that are heavily utilised by both the pharmaceutical sector and conventional practitioners. Therefore, the district of Gujarat is rich in medicinal plants. 

Rose, Catharanthus roseus, is one of the few therapeutic plants that was mentioned in the literature on folk medicine as early as the second century B.C. The leaves, seeds, flowers, and roots are all utilized in Ayurveda to cure diabetes and leukaemia. The cancer preventative medication Periwinkle is used to make the drugs vincristine and vinblastine. Ayurvedic medicine has historically used gurmar (Gymnema sylvestre) to treat diabetes, upper respiratory infections, and fevers (Sheikh et al., 2015).

For the individual, the medical community, and society at large, diabetes mellitus has grown to be a serious issue. The worrying discovery is that, when type 2 Diabetes is diagnosed, a significant portion of individuals already have chronic problems and/or morbid associations. The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised that traditional medicinal plants be evaluated since they are efficacious, nontoxic, and have few to no side effects and are regarded to be great candidates for oral diabetic medication. Yet, in both human and animal models of type 2 diabetes, several herbal extracts have been shown to have hypoglycemic effects. For instance, the drug Metformin, which is used to treat diabetes, was created from Galenga officinalis which is a powerful biguanide with decreased toxicity (Makwana et al., 2016).

The focus of the study is on the utilisation of herbal remedies derived from traditional medicinal plants as traditional therapeutics and natural diabetic treatments such as diabetes mellitus. There is a lot of potential for the development of new anti-diabetic medications in traditional medicines made from easily accessible medicinal plants. Recently, certain medicinal uses of plants empirically in anti-diabetic and anti-hyperlipidemic treatments have been reported to help treat diabetes globally. The plants' ability to limit intestinal glucose absorption, boost insulin output, or facilitate metabolites in insulin-dependent activities is what primarily accounts for their antihyperglycemic effect (Ponnusamy et al., 2010).

Several districts of Gujarat are known for its rich diversity of medicinal plants that have hypoglycemic properties. The hypoglycemic properties are known to belong to Leguminosae-family member Acacia arabica is also referred to as Senegal in English, Babbula in Sanskrit, Bavad in Gujarat, and Bavad. According to the ethnomedical survey, there are many different medicinal applications for the herb A. arabica. The blossoms are used to heal mouth ulcers, while the gum is used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, and madhumeha (diabetes). The ash from the seeds is also used as a tooth powder by the local Gujarati population to alleviate toothaches. Many allopathic compositions frequently use it as a binding agent (Patil et al., 2011).

After these sample sets are put together, resequencing them for new loci in light of technological advancements will be rather simple. Because individuals are more likely to use herbal goods, DNA barcoding is a fundamental instrument for the pharmaceutical industry. Processing units for these products heavily rely on raw materials given by cultivars, which are often supplied as a component or whole. Thus, the possibility of adulteration and incorrect identification cannot be discounted. For this reason, modern pharmaceuticals employ this method and its outcomes as a reliable source when creating new herbal drugs derived from therapeutic plants.

Allium cepa, sometimes called an onion in English, Yavanesta in Sanskrit, or Dungri in Gujarati, is a member of the Liliaceae plant family. All over Gujarat, it is extensively farmed. Instead of its culinary purposes, our ethnomedical survey emphasises the use of onions in medicine.

According to scientific data, among the extracts examined, the ethyl ether extract of A. cepa demonstrated the strongest hypoglycemic action. An substantial antihyperglycemic effect was seen in alloxan diabetic rabbits following the administration of a hydrocarbon ether resistant fraction of the ethanol extract of dried onion powder. Similar research on healthy participants demonstrated that increasing glucose tolerance by oral administration of different doses of aqueous onion extract had an effect similar to tolbutamide. The antihyperglycemic effects of raw and cooked onion extracts in this same experiment were the same in these human subjects (Sheela et al., 1995).

DNA barcoding is ready to make a contribution to population genetics, phylogenetics, and taxonomy study. In taxonomic, DNA barcoding may be employed to identify specimens on a regular basis and to identify anomalous specimens for in-depth taxonomic research. DNA barcoding can be used as a starting point in phylogenetic investigations to choose the best taxa, and barcode sequences could be added to the sequencing dataset for phylogenetic analysis. DNA barcodes can be used to compare studies of population diversity across various species and can be used as a preliminary indicator of the size and kind of population divergences in population genetics investigations.

Research Gap

There is an urgent need for accurate taxonomic inventorization in relation to species-level genetic characterisation of medicinal plants worldwide, despite the wealth of ancient traditions of herbal remedies used by the majority of tribal people in India. Conventional morphological methods make it difficult to identify a species from any unstructured plant portion. As a result, it is necessary to investigate and identify India's fragmentary ethno-medical resources. For accurate species-level identification and inventorization, it necessitates the use of contemporary technologies to identify the molecular markers of significant and fragile medicinal plants. As a result, it is necessary to investigate and identify India's fragmentary ethno-medical resources. For accurate species-level identification and inventorization, it necessitates the use of contemporary technologies to identify the molecular markers of significant and fragile medicinal plants. The majority of ethno-hypoglycemic plant identification research to date have relied on traditional taxonomic and natural phenomenon techniques, which have failed to yield any meaningful knowledge regarding commercially accessible medicinal drugs in powder form. Due to the fact that they cannot be identified by the traditional methods as to which plants they were isolated from, DNA barcoding is going to be a reliable tool of research for this kind of identification and verification.


Hyperglycaemia, are caused by deficiencies either in insulin secretion or its effect in the body and are a symptom of the metabolic condition diabetes mellitus, which has both inherited and environmental origins. A diabetes epidemic is currently underway, and the only treatment approaches for non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus are nutritional changes, oral hypoglycemic drugs, or insulin administration. Although these options have a great deal of potential to treat diabetes, they may also have unintended side effects. Recent information suggests that natural products and herbal medications are more strongly advised for the treatment of diabetes, nonetheless. The current proposal makes an effort to include all plants from Gujarat State in India that have been used experimentally or clinically to treat diabetes as well as any medicines made from those plants, together with information about their ethnomedical histories and antidiabetic potential. It also contains other treatments that can be utilised to treat diabetes in a safe way as prospective plant sources for the next generation's diet.


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