For centuries, traditional medicine has been practiced in Islamic countries, but it is yet to find its footing and acceptance with public in large. In the 4th Science and Technology Exchange Program (STEP) held by Mustafa Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF) in Muscat, Oman, MSTF Media has asked participants on the herbal medicine and its position in the market.
MSTF Media reports:
Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, Director and Professor of Bioorganic and Natural Product Chemistry at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological sciences says there are many reasons why traditional medicine has not gained a foothold in the market.
“There is tremendous knowledge gap, inconsistency - making the entire field questionable in addition to having a lack of understanding of biomarkers - making standardization impossible,” said the scientist.
According to Choudhary, under whose research 73 students have been awarded PhD degrees in various areas of Natural Product and Bio-organic Chemistry, there is also chemical versus bioactivity standardization issues and lack of credible clinical evidences. In addition to that, “poly-herbal formulations are too complexed to be handled by current analytical methods,” said Choudhari.
When asked about the challenges facing the herbal medicine R&D, Choudhary said, "Complex Intellectual Property Right (IPR) issues, lack of interest by large pharmaceutical industries, lack of regulatory and policy frameworks and financial support, as well as lack of understanding on what is to be done."
He added that scientifically redefining herbal medicines for the 21st century would need analytical, measurement and modelling tools of science that can be used to create standardized and consistent herbal medicines as well as to identify new molecular entities from natural resources.
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