The techniques for drug discovery are developing at an astonishing rate. However, there are certain challenges facing the current systems of drug development. The use of ethnobotanical information provides additional information regarding the potential pharmacological functions of plants. Yet there is a generational loss of traditional medicine knowledge, and ethnobo-tanical investigation is labor intensive. The use of bioinformatics to extract information from historic herbal texts provides an efficient method of identifying potential novel plant-based lead compounds.

Figure 4.6 Nonsustainable logging in Laos is an example of the current loss of biodiversity.

Employing herbal texts as a resource for drug discovery holds significant promise. Yet this technology is in its infancy, and there are a number of challenges to overcome. Fortunately, many of these challenges are being addressed in different disciplines. In the future, incorporation of these multidisciplinary advancements will allow high-throughput mining of historic herbal texts to supplement high-throughput screening as a method for drug discovery.

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