The plant-derived substances in Mesopotamia. Egyptian medicine dates from

word “miracle” aptly describes a seed


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            Plants are the invaluable,
incredible and traditional sources for the curability of various diseases in
the form of medicines (Guerra et al.,

             Throughout the ages humans have relied on
Nature to cater for their basic needs, not the least of which are medicines for
the treatment of a wide spectrum of diseases. Plants, in particular, have
formed the basis of sophisticated traditional medicine systems, with the
earliest records, dating from around 2600 BCE, documenting the uses of
approximately 1000 plant-derived substances in Mesopotamia. Egyptian medicine
dates from about 2900 BCE, but the best known record is the “Ebers
Papyrus” dating from 1500 BCE, documenting over 700 drugs, mostly of plant
origin (J.K. Borchardt,2002) .Likewise, documentation of the Indian Ayurvedic
system dates from before 1000 BCE (Charaka; Sushruta and Samhitas with 341 and
516 drugs respectively) (Gordon et al.,2013).

            The World Health Organization (WHO)
estimated in 1985 that approximately 65% of the population of the world
predominately relied on plant-derived traditional medicines for their primary
health care, while plant products also play an important, though more indirect
role in the health care systems of the remaining population who mainly reside
in developed countries . A survey of plant-derived pure compounds used as drugs
in countries hosting WHO-Traditional Medicine Centers indicated that, of 122
compounds identified, 80% were used for the same or related ethnomedical
purposes and were derived from only 94 plant species (D.S.Fabricant and
N.R.Farnsworth ,1985).Plants have been used as a source of medicine throughout
history and continue to serve as the basis for many pharmaceuticals used today (Barbara
Schmidt et al.,2008).

concept of growing crops for health rather than for food or fiber is slowly
changing plant biotechnology and medicine. Rediscovery of the connection
between plants and health is responsible for launching a new generation of
botanical therapeutics that include plant-derived pharmaceuticals,
multicomponent botanical drugs, dietary supplements, functional foods and
plant-produced recombinant proteins. Many
of these products will soon complement conventional pharmaceuticals in the
treatment, prevention and diagnosis of diseases, while at the same time adding
value to agriculture. Such complementation can be accelerated by developing
better tools for the efficient exploration of diverse and mutually interacting
arrays of phytochemicals and for the
manipulation of the plant’s ability to synthesize natural products and complex
proteins (Ilya Raskin et al.,2002). Plants continue to
serve as a valuable source of therapeutic compounds because of their vast
biosynthetic capacity. A primary advantage of botanicals is their complex
composition consisting of collections of related compounds having multiple
activities that interact for a greater total activity (Barbara Schmidt et al.,2008).

therapeutic areas of infectious diseases and oncology have benefited from abundant
scaffold diversity in natural products, able to interact with many specific
targets within the cell and indeed for many years have been source or
inspiration for the majority of FDA approved drugs (Bhuwan B.Mishra,2011).In
the period 1970–2006, a total of 24 unique natural products were discovered
that led to an approved drug. Natural products are more likely than purely
synthetic compounds to resemble biosynthetic intermediates or endogenous
metabolites, and hence take advantage of active transport mechanisms (Ganesan.A,2008).

            As reviewed by( Belen et al.,2015)  adipose tissue dysfunction constitutes a
primary defect in obesity and might link this disease to severe chronic health
problems. Due to the limited number of pharmacological agents, the current
therapeutic strategy for treating obesity is mainly focused on diet control and
physical exercise. The use of edible natural plants has raised considerable
interest due to  their
relatively safe profile, low cost and availability. These products exert the
potential anti-obesity effects through different mechanisms, including lipid
absorption, intake and expenditure of energy, increase of lipolysis, decrease
of lipogenesis and differentiation and proliferation of pre adipocytes .


            Results from epidemiological studies
that largely began in the 1970s indicate that adiposity contributes to the
increased incidence and/or death from cancers of the colon, breast (in
postmenopausal women), endometrium, kidney (renal cell), oesophagus
(adenocarcinoma), gastric cardiac, pancreas, gallbladder and liver, and
possibly other cancers. At present, the strongest empirical support for
mechanisms to link obesity and cancer risk involves the metabolic and endocrine
effects of obesity, and the alterations that they induce in the production of
peptide and steroid hormones. As the worldwide obesity epidemic has shown no
signs of abating, insight into the mechanisms by which obesity contributes to
tumour formation and

is urgently needed, as are new approaches to intervene in this process(Eugenia et al.,2004).


            Increased oxidative stress in
accumulated fat has been linked to metabolic syndrome        (Furukawa et al.,2004) , which points out the modulation of the redox state
of the adipose tissue as a therapeutic target to prevent dyslipidemia and
obesity. At the cellular level, obesity is characterized by hypertrophy (cell
volume/size increase) and hyperplasia (cell number increase) of adipocytes from
undifferentiated fibroblast-like preadipocytes. Both processes are largely
dependent on the regulation of adipocyte differentiation. Therefore, treatments
that regulate volume/size and number of adipocytes might provide a better
therapeutic approach to manage obesity. Increasing evidence suggests that the
phytochemical constituents of natural plant extracts exert anti-obesity effects
by inhibiting preadipocyte differentiation and by attenuating the adipose
tissue growth as well as by inducing apoptosis and promoting lipolysis of
mature adipocytes (Gonzalez et al.,2011).

Cellular Carcinoma HCC is increasingly diagnosed among individuals with obesity
and related disorders. As these metabolic conditions have become globally
prevalent, they coexist with well-established risk factors of HCC and create a
unique challenge for the liver as a chronically diseased organ.
Obesity-associated HCC has recently been attributed to molecular mechanisms
such as chronic inflammation due to adipose tissue remodeling and
pro-inflammatory adipokine secretion, ectopic lipid accumulation and
lipotoxicity, altered gut microbiota, and disrupted senescence in stellate
cells, as well as insulin resistance leading to increased levels of insulin and
insulin-like growth factors. These mechanisms synergize with those occurring in
chronic liver disease resulting from other etiologies and accelerate the
development of HCC before or after the onset of cirrhosis ( Karagozian
et al.,2014).


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