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Pure Appl. Chem., 2005, Vol. 77, No. 1, pp. 1-6

Natural products chemistry and phytomedicine in the 21st century: New developments and challenges

H. Wagner

Centre of Pharma-Research, Pharmaceutical Biology, Butenandtstr. 5, University of Munich, D-81377 Munich, Germany

Abstract: The gradual transition from the long-standing use of monodrug therapy in classical medicine to the new concept of a multidrug and multitarget therapy has great implications for the research strategies of natural products chemistry and phytomedicine. The rationalization of the new strategies, however, requires great efforts in: standardization of mono- and multiphytopreparations using all available high-tech methods; screening of extracts and their constituents by integration of modern molecular biological bioassays; and controlled, clinical studies, inclusive of pharmacokinetic and bioavailability investigations, aimed at evidence-based phytotherapy. The first results obtained in recent years are explained using several examples of phytopharmacological and clinical studies. These show the therapeutic superiority of many plant extracts over single isolated constituents, as well as the bioequivalence of many phytopharmaceuticals with synthetic chemotherapeutics.