Understanding Medicinal Plants : Their Chemistry and Therapeutic Action book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Medicinal Plants
Their Chemistry and Therapeutic Action

ISBN 9780789015525
Published June 30, 2005 by Routledge
330 Pages

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Book Description

Learn how medicinal plants work from the chemical level upward

Understanding Medicinal Plants: Their Chemistry and Therapeutic Action is designed to teach the chemical concepts necessary to understand the actions of medicinal plants to people who are intimidated by chemistry. This beautifully illustrated, accessibly written guide explores the molecules of medicinal plants and the pharmacology behind their actions on the human body. The book will be valuable to non-science majors, biology majors, interested scientists of different disciplines, and practitioners and students of herbalism and complementary medicine.

Understanding Medicinal Plants covers the essentials, including:

  • understanding the symbolism of chemical structure
  • bonding—and predicting useful properties
  • important plant compounds
  • isolation and purification of plant molecules
  • drug delivery and action in the human body
  • the chemistry of antioxidants
  • identification of plant molecules
Interest in alternative medicine and herbal products has never been higher than it is now. Understanding Medicinal Plants aims for the middle ground between technical manuals for highly trained individuals and books for the general public that may oversimplify the material. This introductory work provides you with a wealth of suggested reading materials, tables, figures, and illustrations. Three case studies illustrate specific plant drugs and their molecular constituents. This resource also provides an extensive glossary for easy reference.

In Understanding Medicinal Plants, you will find a lexicon of medicinally important chemical families found in plants to help you identify and understand the role of constituents such as:
  • alkaloids
  • flavonoids
  • coumarins
  • glycosides
  • amino acids
  • lignans
  • tannins
  • and many more
Understanding Medicinal Plants enriches your knowledge of the science behind herbalism and increases your savvy as a consumer of herbal products. This sourcebook will help you better understand the debates about the regulation of medicinal plants and related health care policy debates. With this book, you will be able to interpret media hype about medicinal plants with greater confidence.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Chapter 2. Interpreting the Symbolism of Chemical Structures, or, Finding Your Way Around a Molecule
  • The Basic Rules of Bonding
  • What Do the Lines Mean?
  • Recognizing the Functional Groups
  • Naming Molecules
  • Sameness: Molecular Formulas and Isomers
  • Chapter 3. The Origins of Bonding and Molecular Properties
  • Elements, Atoms, and the Periodic Table
  • Electron Configurations: The Real Organizing Principle
  • Bonding to Create Molecules
  • Predicting Properties from Molecular Structure
  • Chapter 4. A Structural Lexicon of Medicinally Important Chemical Families Found in Plants
  • Compounds of Primary Metabolism
  • Secondary Metabolites
  • Chapter 5. Chemical Behavior and Its Application to Medicinal Molecules
  • Isolation of Medicinally Active Substances
  • Analysis and Identification of Medicinal Molecules
  • Antioxidants and Reactive Oxygen Species: Chemical Reactions Affecting Health
  • Chapter 6. Drug Delivery and Action
  • Delivering Drug Molecules
  • Where Drugs Act: Targets
  • The Molecular Level of Action
  • Chapter 7. Case Studies of Selected Plant Drugs
  • Ayahuasca and the Central Nervous System
  • Ginkgo and Brain Health
  • Cancer Treatments from Plants: Interrupting the Cell Cycle
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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