"Medicinal plants have been used in virtually all cultures as a source of medicine. The local people have a long history of traditional plant usage for medicinal purposes. The medicinal use of plants is very old. The writings indicate that therapeutic use of plants is as old as 4000 - 5000 B.C. and Chinese used first the natural herbal preparations as medicines. Indigenous cultures such as Rome, Egypt, Iran, Africa and America used herbs in their healing rituals, while other developed traditional medical systems such as Unani, Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine in which herbal therapies were used systematically. Traditional systems of medicine continue to be widely practised on many accounts. Population rise, inadequate supply of drugs, prohibitive cost of treatments, side effects of several synthetic drugs and development of resistance to currently used drugs for infectious diseases have led to increased emphasis on the use of plant materials as a source of medicines for a wide variety of human ailments. These days the term “Alternative Medicine” became very common in western culture, it focus on the idea of using the plants for medicinal purpose. But the current belief that medicines which come in capsules or pills are the only medicines that we can trust and use. Even so most of these pills and capsules we take and use during our daily life came from plants. Medicinal plants frequently used as raw materials for extraction of active ingredients which used in the synthesis of different drugs. Medicinal plants have played an essential role in the development of human culture. Medicinal plants are resources of traditional medicines and many of the modern medicines are produced indirectly from plants.
Two-Volume ‘Brig’s Handbook of Methods & Research in Identification and Uses of Medicinal Plants’ illustrates the importance of traditional and modern medicines in the treatment and management of human diseases and ailments. It has been confirmed by WHO that herbal medicines serve the health needs of about 80 percent of the world’s population; especially for millions of people in the vast rural areas of developing countries. Meanwhile, consumers in developed countries are becoming disillusioned with modern health care and are seeking alternatives. In this work the objective is to consider the past and present value of medicinal plants is used in traditional and modern medical practices as bioactive natural compounds.
Plants and their metabolites constituents have a long history of use in modern “western” medicine and in certain systems of traditional medicine, and are the sources of important drugs such as atropine, codeine, dioxin, morphine, quinine. Use of herbal medicines in developed countries has expanded sharply in the latter half of the twentieth century. In recent years, the use of traditional medicine information on plant research has again received considerable interest. While the western use of such information has also come under increasing scrutiny and the national and indigenous rights on these resources has become acknowledged by most academic and industrial researchers."