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A Review of Medicinal Plant Research at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, 1948–2001

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This review summarizes research carried out on Jamaican medicinal plants at the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science, The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Jamaica, between 1948 and 2001. The plants identified as being medicinal are listed along with their folk use and a summary of the scientific research done at UWI leading to the identification of natural products (NPs) and determination of their bioactivity. Natural product research on Jamaican medicinal plants began with the inception of UWI in 1948, leading to many postgraduate degrees being awarded (22 MPhil and 31 PhD). At least 334 plant species growing in Jamaica have been identified as having medicinal qualities, 193 of these have been tested for their bioactivity. Crude extracts from 80 of these plants have reasonable bioactivity and natural products (NP) have been identified from 44 plants. At least 29 of these NPs were found to be bioactive. Only 31 of the plants tested at UWI are endemic to Jamaica. Of these 23% were bioactive, as compared to 11% of the non-endemics. Based on these results, patents have been obtained and drugs have been developed. This review represents the first attempt to gather this information together in one place.

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e-Published: 12 Jun, 2013
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