Value of Plants for Pharmaceuticals
Plants have a number of uses in the preparation of both herbal and allopathic drugs. They are asource of direct therapeutic agents, e.g. digoxin or taxol. They provide a source of raw material forthe manufacture of more complex semisynthetic compounds, e.g. taxol, estrogens. A plant estrogen isused as the starting material in the preparation of ethinyl estradiol, the estrogen in the oralcontraceptives. The structure of plant substances can be used as a model for new compounds. Chemists will modify the active ingredient in a plant product and obtain a drug which is moreeffective than the original compound.