From ancient times mankind by virtue of their experience and experiments used to prepare medicine from plants as natural source for the treatment of various diseases.
Ethnobotany and ethnomedical studies are today recognized as the most viable method of identifying new medicinal plants or refocusing on those earlier reported for bioactive constituents. Ethnobotanical survey has been found to be one of the reliable approaches to drug discovery. Plants not only cure the diseases but also can increase the prevention power (immunity) of human body. Therapeutically active components in plant are present most of the time in very low quantity. In recent times, focused on plant research has increased all over the universe and a large number of evidences have been collected to show immense potential of plants used in various pharmaceutical application. Therefore plant sources have become a key target to explore new pharmacologically active compounds and pharmaceutical excipients. The plant, Abelmoschus esculentus is an economically important vegetable crop cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world. It plays an important role in the human diet and is a good source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, calcium, potassium, amino acids and total minerals which are often lacking in the diet of developing country.
Apart from nutritional benefit, the different parts of the plant are used extensively in traditional medicine such as anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-adhesive, antioxidant etc. Immature fruits (pods) and seeds of the plant have been used for the formulation of microencapsulated drug delivery system and polysaccharide isolated from it. Therefore it is worthwhile to review its therapeutic properties to give an overview of its status to scientists both modern and ancient. This review also encompasses on the potential applications of the Abelmoschus esculentus (dharosh) plant in the pharmaceutical field due to its wide pharmaceutical activities. Botanical and taxonomical studies are critically evaluated.
Furthermore, effort is made to correlate the traditional claims in the context of experimental evidences.