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Genotype X Environment Interactions and Its Impact on Use of Medicinal Plants.

Acharya, S.N., Basu, S.K., Datta Banik, S., and Prasad, R. (2010). "Genotype X Environment Interactions and Its Impact on Use of Medicinal Plants.", Open Nutraceuticals Journal, 3, pp. 47-54. doi : 10.2174/1876396001003020047  Access to full text

Abstract

There is a paradigm shift from cure to prevention when it comes to human health. We want to live a healthy life and prevent sickness using substances other than pharmaceuticals. The plant-based nutraceutical products or Natural Health Products (NHPs) as they are some times referred to are the most important groups that have the potential to fit the bill. However, these products are sold without proper science based information in spite of the fact that most researchers acknowledge the need for such information. Evidence-based scientific studies to support health and nutraceutical claims related to the use of medicinal plants and their extracts have to be undertaken. It is only through critical research efforts that we can provide strong endorsements for medicinal plant use and ensure consumer confidence in the industry. Much of the research published on the medicinal value of plants does not take into account variability generated from genetic differences among plants and their interaction with the environment. Research should be directed towards properly identifying plants with known medicinal properties which have been grown in environments that are conducive to consistent production of the active agents attributed to the plants. Production of dependable medicinal plant products can only be attained if we pay close attention to these research-based principles. This article was written with main goals: 1) To discuss the above points in greater detail with examples; and 2) to highlight life time accomplishments and significant contributions of a well respected nutritionist Dr. T. K. Basu and his collaboration in development of fenugreek as a NHP. We believe that collaboration among clinical and agricultural researchers is essential to make the NHPs utilized to its potential and the plants (parts such as seed, foliage or roots) should be developed to the extent that they can be used directly to take advantage of the synergistic effect of the chemical constituents.

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