The use of Indian medicinal plants for drug discovery and therapeutics just received a boost. A database of such plants has been built by a Chennai-based team led by Areejit Samal of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
By documenting 1,742 Indian medicinal plants and 9,596 chemicals that plants use to thrive and ward off threats (phytochemicals), this database has the distinction of being the largest so far. This is a first step towards validating and developing traditional systems of medicine that use plant extracts.
For the repository, the scientists sourced information from several texts including those that documented tribal medicine. With supporting studies in the form of well-planned lab tests, this work has the potential to improve health care and enhance drug discovery.
The new database, named IMPPAT (Indian Medicinal Plants, Phytochemistry And Therapeutics) brings together not just the Indian medicinal plants and their associated phytochemicals, but also the latter’s 2D and 3D chemical structures, the therapeutic use of the plants and the medicinal formulations.