Herbal medication has become one of the attractive fields of medical research with a long history of successful application through out  the world. The history of traditional medicines in Iran, like that of the Chinese and Greek  goes back to more than 2000 years ago. Today, extraction and purification of active ingredients from natural sources and their semisynthesis are of considerable importance. Accordingly, the idea for the establishment of a Medicinal Plants and Drugs Research Institute in Shahid Beheshti University was first suggested in 1993. The project “UC/IRA/95/161/11-51 production of pharmaceutical materials from medicinal and aromatic plants” was funded in accordance with an agreement between the government of Islamic Republic of Iran and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 1996 and the Institute's license was issued by the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology in 1999.
MPDRI's scientific effort through evaluation and documentation of Iranian flora has targeted contribution to the exploitation of the national medicinal plants resources. Promotion of the Persian Medicines has been based on the advances in phyto- and analytical chemistry as well as the medicinal chemistry in another aim of the MPDRI. This is also followed by national and international collaborative projects. The Institute with four related departments including Phytochemistry, Biology, Agriculture and Chemical Engineering undertake research and development work including pilot plant studies relating to the industrial processing and quality control of plant materials used by various industries in the preparation of pharmaceuticals, foods, perfumes, cosmetics, dyes, etc. In addition, MPDRI has recently started training master students in Phytochemistry, which will be expanded to the other related disciplines in near future.
Some recent projects of the institute are:

    • Formulating herbaceous medicines
    • Essential oil analysis for over 50 Iranian local plants
    • The effect of age and extraction method on the quality of essential oils
    • Synthesis and analysis of raw material
    • The antimicrobial effect of Iranian medicinal and aromatic plants
    • Extraction of terpenoids from Iranian medicinal plants
    • Ethnobotanical studies of Iranian medicinal plants
    •  Preliminary bibliography on Iranian medicinal plants
    • Contributing to Iranian compendium of medicinal plants
    •  Preliminary pharmacological studies on Iranian medicinal plants
    •  Chemotaxonomic studies on Iranian plants
    •  Cultivation and domestication of Iranian aromatic and medicinal plants
    •  The effect of agronomical factors on secondary metabolites content of medicinal plants
    •  Micropropagation studies of Iranian aromatic and medicinal plants
    •  Aromatic and medicinal plants breeding
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