In Focus: Botanical Products

| 01 August 2009

Throughout recorded history, botanicals (plants) have been used to treat various disorders. Through trial and error, ancient civilizations found a variety of plants and primitive extracts that treated pain, indigestion and other conditions. Use of Ephemeron or colchicine to treat gout is first mentioned by Theophrastus of Eresus (370-285 B.C.). Theophrastus, who is regarded as the first known botanist, described Ephemeron in his "History of Plants," as a poison with an effect that "may be delayed for a considerable interval, thus probably explaining the derivation of the name." Use of this plant gave rise to the colchicine we know today, which is still used to treat gout. In fact, a number of today's well-known drugs are derived from plants, including digoxin and Taxol.


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