Plants have historically been the most extraordinary source of sustenance and healing for animals and humans throughout evolution. For human civilization, controlling pain, inflammation, digestive disorders, and cancer are some of the benefits that we have received from plants. Medieval healers used “poppy juice” as the only effective means of treatment for intense pain. Salicylic acid led to the discovery of aspirin and the most effective and widely used treatments for cancer derive directly from plants or plant cell cultures.
Human knowledge and scientific discoveries have been growing exponentially since the past century. Today, scientific knowledge and technological advances are occurring faster than ever before. Plants are capable of producing millions of distinct and complex molecules that possess biological activities, the synthesis of which is either impossible to achieve synthetically or at the very least, impractical and very costly to produce. In many instances, desired molecules derive from plants where they are produced in low quantities or take decades to grow.
Plants manufacture some of these molecules in small amounts, which often act as mediators of an important defense mechanism against environmental insults or predators, or they may play a role in the communication between individuals of the same species or as territorial warnings.
The culture of plant cells and derived tissues offer unique opportunities to further explore and produce plant-derived substances for applications in medicine, personal care, and agriculture.