Historical and Current Perspective

  • Angelika BöttgerEmail author
  • Ute Vothknecht
  • Cordelia Bolle
  • Alexander Wolf
Part of the Learning Materials in Biosciences book series (LMB)


While many of the secondary metabolites produced by plants make them unpalatable or toxic, the specific capacities of natural plant products have also been exploited by humans for a long time. In its simplest form, they have been used as spices and aroma compounds to give flavour to food. While it is rather easy to imagine this development, it is also obvious that so-called medicinal plants have a long history of use as pharmaceuticals, hallucinogens or painkillers, even though this often requires careful adjustment of the dose to avoid toxic effects. Last but not the least, since the onset of modern science and technical development, plant secondary metabolites and their derivatives have been exploited for technical applications.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelika Böttger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ute Vothknecht
    • 2
  • Cordelia Bolle
    • 3
  • Alexander Wolf
    • 4
  1. 1.Department Biology IILMU MunichPlanegg-MartinsriedGermany
  2. 2.IZMB-Plant Cell BiologyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  3. 3.Department Biology ILMU MunichPlanegg-MartinsriedGermany
  4. 4.Inst. Molecular Toxicology/PharmacologyHelmholtz Zentrum MünichNeuherbergGermany

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