Amrit Pal Singh


Folk medicine is significant source of Ayurvedic, Unani, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Medical herbalism. Folk medicine incorporates crude medicinal herbs, decoctions and infusions and syrups. Folk medicine is still practiced by some vendors, hakims and vaids in remote areas and some folk preparations are of surprisingly high curative value. A large proportion of the population in a number of developing countries still relies on traditional practitioners, including traditional birth attendants, herbalists and bonesetters and on local medicinal plants to satisfy their primary health care needs. Vincristine and vinblastine, the potent anti cancer drugs were derived from folk plant, Vinca rosea (periwinkle) used traditionally for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Today herbal medicine is making dramatic comeback and scientists are turning to natural products for answer to ailments like cancer, Aids, hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis. The article reviews the history and possible role of folklore drugs in modern drug industry.