BMB Reports 2017; 50(3): 111-116  
The worldwide trend of using botanical drugs and strategies for developing global drugs
Kyungseop Ahn*
Natural Medicine Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Cheongju 28116, Korea
Correspondence to: Tel: +82-43-240-6113; Fax: +82-43-240-6129; E-mail:
Received: December 20, 2016; Published online: March 31, 2017.
© Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. All rights reserved.


Natural product drugs, or botanical drugs, are drugs composed of natural substances which have constituents with healthenhancing or medicinal activities. In Korea, government-led projects brought attention to botanical drugs invigorating domestic botanical drug industry. Foreign markets, as well, are growing bigger as the significance of botanical drugs stood out. To follow along with the tendency, Korea puts a lot of effort on developing botanical drugs suitable for global market. However, standards for approving drug sales vary by countries. And also, thorough standardization, certification, clinical studies and data of these will be required as well as data confirming safety and effectiveness. Meanwhile, as an international exchange in botanical drug market continues, the importance of plant resources was emphasized. Thus countries' ownership of domestic natural resources became vital. Not only establishing a systematic method to secure domestic plant resources, but also cooperation with other countries on sharing natural resources is essential to procure natural resources effectively. Korea started to show visible results with botanical drugs, and asthma/COPD treatment made out of speedwell is one example. Sufficient investment and government's active support for basic infrastructure for global botanical drugs will bring Korea to much higher level of botanical drug development.

Keywords: Botanical drug, IND, Natural product, Plant extract bank, Reverse pharmacology
Fig. 2. Reverse pharmacology.

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