The therapeutic use of natural products was perhaps the oldest medical practices. Interestingly, 64% of total population of the world utilizes plants as drugs mainly in the developing countries. There are more than 85,000 plant species that have been documented for medical use globally. So, plant derived natural products hold great promise for discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals in diverse human ailments. The WHO estimates that almost 75% of the world’s population had therapeutic experience with herbal remedies.There are many anticancer drugs under development that target signalling as well as epigenetic pathways that can cause cancer. Boswellia serrata has been the most investigated of all the species, with some photochemical studies, as well as bioactivity-related investigations. The presence of boswellic acids in almost all the species of Boswellia is a characteristic of this genus. The triterpenoids present in Boswellia are synthesized through isopentenyl pyrophosphate route (IPP) from a squalene intermediate and their role is yet to be fully understood, though they are certainly involved in defense mechanisms, as many of them have been reported to possess diverse biological activities, that include immunostimulation, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antiviral properties. This interest is substantiated by recent clinical trials demonstrating beneficial effects of Boswellia sp.preparations in several disease forms such as inflammatory bowel diseases and some cancer forms.
Key words: Natural products, boswellic acid, signaling, drugs.
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