Medicinal Resources Of The Tropical Forest

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According to World Health Organization estimates, some 80 percent of people living in developing countries rely on harvested wild plants for some part of their primary health care. Medicinal Resources of the Tropical Forest stands at the forefront of the dialogue on the subject, opening readers' eyes to the enormous resources of the earth's rain forests and the potential impact of their destruction in terms of human healthto inhabitants of both the developing and the developed world. Covering a wide spectrum of subjects in biodiversity, ethnomedicine, ethnobotany, and pharmacognosy, and including regional work ranging from Africa to Asia, from the Caribbean to Central and South America, the distinguished researchers assembled here offer the most comprehensive survey available of the current literature. Unlike much of the work on the topic, Medicinal Resources of the Tropical Forest provides readers with more than a mere listing of plants and their reputed benefits. The authors call attention to the ways in which the natural habitats of these plants can be protected from damage or destruction. They provide detailed information on establishing drug discovery efforts, laying the groundwork for a basic pool of knowledge for pharmaceutical companies and smaller-scale entrepreneurs. The book also explores the ethical issue of intellectual property rights pertaining to tropical resources and their diverse medicinal uses, with an eye toward promoting economic opportunity in developing countries.
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Editorial Reviews

A survey of the current literature on medicinal uses of tropical plants, detailing the drug discovery work of major pharmaceutical companies as well as smaller-scale regional efforts. Discusses habitat protection, ethical issues and intellectual property rights, and the practical aspects of natural products chemistry, in sections on biodiversity prospecting, drug development, and conservation; and country and regional programs in medicinal plant research and health care. Includes guidelines for plant collections. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231101714
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1996
  • Series: Biology and Resource Management Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 460
  • Product dimensions: 0.93 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 10.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Balick is director and philecology curator at the New York Botanical Garden Institute of Economic Botany, and adjunct professor in forestry at Yale University and the City University of New York.

Elaine Elisabetsky is professor at the Laboratório de Ethnofarmacologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

Saraah A. Laird is research fellow at the Rainforest Alliance, and former director of the Rainforest Alliance's Periwinkle Project.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Biodiversity Prospecting, Drug Development, and Conservation 1
1 Natural Products and Medicine: An Overview 3
2 Biological Diversity, Chemical Diversity, and the Search for New Pharmaceuticals 11
3 Development of Pharmaceutical Companies Based on Plant Products: Suggested Approaches 19
4 Chemical Approaches to the Study of Ethnomedicines 41
5 The Contribution of the Physician to Medicinal Plant Research 48
6 Conservation and Tropical Medicinal Plant Research 63
7 Higher Plants Versus Microorganisms: Their Future in Pharmaceutical Research 75
8 Topotecan Development: An Example of the Evolution of Natural Product Drug Discovery Research 78
9 Shaman Pharmaceuticals' Approach to Drug Development 94
10 Drug Discovery and Development at the National Cancer Institute: The Role of Natural Products of Plant Origin 101
11 The Merck/INBio Agreement: A Pharmaceutical Company Perspective 137
12 Biodiversity Prospecting 142
13 Property Rights and Genetic Resources: A Framework for Analysis 174
14 Monetizing the Pharmacological Benefits of Plants 191
15 Capturing the Pharmaceutical Value of Species Information: Opportunities for Developing Countries 219
Pt. 2 Country and Regional Programs in Medicinal Plant Research and Health Care 231
16 Resource Utilization and Conservation of Biodiversity in Africa 233
17 The Economic Value and Potential for Plant-Derived Pharmaceuticals from Ghana 251
18 The Rwanda Experience in enhancing and Commercializing the Use of Traditional Medicinal Plants 261
19 The Role of Medicinal Plants in Health Care in India 266
20 A Standardized Commiphora wightii Preparation for Management of Hyperlipidemic Disorders 278
21 Plant Explorations in Asia Under the Sponsorship of the National Cancer Institute, 1986-1991: An Overview 284
22 Medicinal Plants of Mexico: A Program for Their Scientific Validation 311
23 TRAMIL: A Research Project on the Medicinal Plant Resources of the Caribbean 317
24 Ethnopharmacological Studies and Biological Conservation in Belize 326
25 Tropical Medicinal Plant Conservation and Development Projects: The Case of the Costa Rican National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio) 334
26 FENAMAD's Program in Traditional Medicine: An Integrated Approach to Health Care in the Peruvian Amazon 341
27 Environment, Society, and Disease: The Response of Phytotherapy to Disease Among the Warao Indians of the Orinoco Delta 366
28 Medicinal Plant Research in Brazil: Data from Regional and National Meetings 386
29 Community Ethnobotany: Setting Foundations for an Informed Decision on Trading Rain Forest Resources 402
Appendix: Manual for Plant Collections 409
Epilogue 421
List of Contributors 423
Index 427
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