Drug discovery, is a time honored process based on finding new lead compounds.
New lead compounds are invariably unique plant creations.
Part of Nature's botanical treasure.
Science invented combinatorial libraries to represent an artificial Nature.
Its a system built on predictability because it is contains the complete inventory of possibilities for the desired structure.
In Nature, plants produce many similarly structured compounds, no where as extensive as science but the plant has purpose and only creates what it needs.
These compounds differ one from another and are but a few of what could be created by science as it researches any one of the library of possibilities.
Nature has a purpose and science is mathematical.
Drugs utilize the most limited version or any given volume of the plant it was derived from.
According to pharmaceutical science, it's the only one actually needed.
The plant on the other hand, synthesizes Nature’s many limited libraries.
Each library contains many unique chemicals, some of which we know about and some we do not.
The compounds contained in a plant are its phytochemicals (phyton from the Greek word for plant).
Phytochemicals are used as analgesics (willow bark), antibacterial (garlic) or anti-inflammatory agents (turmeric).
Plant compounds are also used as urinary antiseptics (cranberries), anti-ulcer (licorice) remedies and anti-cancer (mushrooms and soy) drugs.
Other phytochemicals improve health by stimulating the immune system (elderberries and mushrooms) or lower cholesterol (gugulipid bucktorn berries, red yeast rice) while still others are used to prevent and treat sunburn (aloe).
Nature doesn’t follow the independently probable rule.
Nature is preferential.
Patterns, when identified, lead to new discoveries .
The effects of botanicals are best explained by the theories of combinatorial chemistry and applying them to the concept of opposing cell receptors.
Receptors are capable of binding with a drugs, hormones or plant ligands.
Receptors are the molecular switches that turn on and off specific biological activities.
According to combinatorial theory, each unique conformation of chemically identical molecules can interact in opposing ways or on opposing receptors to effect change. It is precisely for this reason that whole plants are recommended. Whole plants produce more balanced results than those produced by the extracted solitary compound.
Whole plants are better than pharmaceutical drugs because of the inclusion of all the plant’s compounds, not just the one identified by researchers as active
Furthermore, modifying one of nature’s compounds in order to obtain a patent and thereby profit from it, as is the case with pharmaceutical drugs, removes some of the built in balances of the plant.
Could this be an explanation for the toxic side effects or addictive properties that pharmaceutical drugs are known to have?
Could this be the reason that the poppy flower and the coca leaf are less addictive than their refined and processed offspring (cocaine and heroin)?
While it is highly recommended to supplement the diet with extracts and colorful antioxidants, nothing can replace the balance of the original whole plant.
Botanical drugs are safe than pharmaceutical ones because they contain a series of compounds instead of just one.
As a series of molecules, they switch on different receptors based on the conditions at the time.
At another time or in another person, a different set of switches might be triggered.
This is the exact opposite to the mechanism of drugs, which achieve their result by overwhelming activity at one type of receptor.
A plant’s value to humans is due to the multitude of compounds synthesized, stored and extracted from it.
This is a natural library.
The library is a series of compounds that chemically differ slightly fom one another.
Since they either bind to, or do not bind, their opposing effects are in stark contrast to each other.
The result of proper bindings is normal growth and repair..
Faulty binding leads to malfunction and disease.
The uniqueness of each plant includes the color it displays and its medicinal properties. These characteristics can all be traced to the phytochemical compounds found in the plant’s cells.
The library of any specific plant contains multiple forms of similarly structured compounds. They are chemical cousins. Nature created this library of compounds via the DNA of the plant and locked them in the stems, roots, and leaves of plants.
The library of compounds are released when the plant is heated or its fibers eaten and exposed to the body’s digestive juices. Its molecules when free to be transported via the blood direct themselves to the sites of injury, inflammation and free radical generation. These compounds help humans survive.
Plants are provided with a universe of similarly structured chemical compounds so the plant can adapt to a changing environment. The effect any one of these compounds produce in humans is unrelated to its role in the plant’s health.
Plant activity is dependent on receptor binding, the same mechanism of hormones, neurotransmitters and drugs.
The cumulative effects of plants are almost always beneficial because nature’s creations are have a built in balance that drugs lack. Plants rarely produce harmful side effects because they contain multiple isoforms. Plants act in opposing manners precisely because their botanical compounds are found in multiple versions with differing spatial orientations.
The importance of multiple isoforms is that each form can bind with a different receptor. Sometimes an effect occurs only because a second or possibly third receptor is activated. This moderates their effects and makes them less harmful than manufactured drugs.
Nature created libraries of compounds, not solitary ones. Nature’s library provides the plant with a large volume of compounds. Some are active and others are supportive. Many have no known purpose but all are probably necessary.
The interaction that occurs within any cell is a result of a specific phytochemical binding with a specific receptor on a cell membrane. This has the effect of creating on/off switches or rather a series of switches.
Depending on the phytocompounds and the receptor involved, activity is directed by the receptor-ligand complex. It is through this interaction that changes within the cell occurs. The fact that variations in phytocompounds and receptors exist indicates that this variation in nature has a purpose.
Molecular reactions between receptors and ligands drive life’s processes. Whether it is between a hormone and a cell’s receptor, an enzyme and a substrate, or a nerve and a neurotransmitter, the key feature involves chemical bonds formed between a ligand and a receptor.
Other examples of binding between a receptor and a ligand include synapses, the movement of sodium and potassium ions across a neuronal membrane or vision and light, hearing and sound and touch and feel.
Nature’s Combinatorial Libraries describes the existence of a few, almost identical compounds in a plant. The purpose of slight variations or similar combinations of atoms may be related to the on and off switches of biological systems. Different sets of biological receptors counter each other and produce opposing effects.