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Muthi to medicine

Gericke, N.
South African journal of botany 2011 v.77 no.4 pp. 850-856
absorption, biodiversity, commercialization, compliance, drugs, functional foods, industry, markets, medicinal plants, medicine, novel foods, personal care products, raw materials, research and development, researchers, risk
The limited commercial opportunity for bioprospecting for isolated pure natural compounds or their derivatives from plants for novel pharmaceuticals is discussed. A broad overview of the key research inputs involved in the commercialisation of indigenous medicinal plants as botanical medicines is given to assist young researchers in contextualising research from an industry perspective, and to encourage university–industry collaboration. Compliance with the Biodiversity Act of 2004, and the regulations under this Act is stressed. The chain of research and development (R&D) activities is briefly described including ethnobotanical research, raw material supply, identification of active compounds, extract development, absorption studies, formulation development, in vitro, in vivo, and clinical safety and efficacy studies, and protection of intellectual property. Ultimately obtaining international marketing authorization for a novel botanical medicine is a lengthy and costly undertaking, with high risk of failure. Elements of botanical medicine R&D can be applied to functional foods, novel foods and personal care products, which can reach the market faster and with less risk than botanical medicines.