I was born in Bijnor, India on 21st Jan. 1974. I received my Ph.D. Degree in the field of Natural Product Chemistry from Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India in 2001. Upon completion of my education, I started my career as an Executive-R&D in a Flavour & Fragrances (Natural) Company and after words I had served as General Manager & Head-R&D in different National & Multinational Natural Products Industries. I have more than 18 years of R&D experiences in the field of Natural Products Chemistry. I am a faculty member of BioNatural Healing College, California, USA and Ph.D. supervisor in JJT, University, Rajasthan, India. I am Advisory Board Members in several BioPharma & Natural Food Colors Industries. I am also a Member of Editorial Boards and Referee for more than twenty five National & International Journals. Since March 2015, I am looking the Production Unit for Commercialization & Technology Transfer of Medicinal & Aromatic Plants at University of Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman.
When did you start working with natural products? What made you enter this field?
My desire to work with natural, clean ingredients began when I was in my B.Sc. As I learned more about that natural ingredients (organic, plant-based, non-GMO) are healthier and safer than synthetic one. Synthetic products are having carcinogenic and hyperactivity in the human beings and the Natural products are nutritious and possessing antioxidants activities. I started my work on Natural Products in 1996 when I joined my Ph.D. work in School of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India.
Can you describe the current situation in Oman: how important NPs are in academic research? how important NPs/traditional medicine during healthcare?
Oman is endowed with rich biodiversity both marine and terrestrial that has acclimated to the arid climate. Its agro systems both traditional and conventional encompass a wide range of crops including herbs, vegetables, fruits, grains and forges. Its mountains, villages, valleys and coastline are rich with indigenous plants, animals and species. Oman has a wide variety of medicinal plants and fascinating unexplored marine natural products. The country is home to about 1,200 native plant species, which includes trees, shrubs, and herbs. Oman also bestows brilliant underwater gardens which favour greater species diversity for rare varieties of marine natural products. With the firm belief that intensive research in pharmaceutical sciences can bring about great benefits to the public in terms of improving quality of life and national development. In addition, the Sultanate of Oman is in possession of enormous medicinal plants and marine organisms resources, and it is highly desirable that these resources be processed within the country so that value adding occurs in the country. Overall, the Sultanate of Oman’s rich wealth of natural products makes it an ideal location for establishing new pharmaceutical industries based on natural products, and so it would be a unique opportunity for the country to be at the forefront of the envisaged development. This is valuable from a technology transfer point of view, as it allows the broadening of the technical expertise base in Oman, the training of staff to work in the emerging industries and, long-term, the creation of new employment. The practice of traditional medicine in Northern and central Oman is based on the humoral system of Graeco-Arab medicine or “Unani tibb.” However, in Dhofar, the Southern region of Oman, this system is not commonly used. In Northern and central Oman, knowledge of herbal medicine is generally not written but is passed from one generation to the next by learning from elders. Few studies on traditional and herbal medicines have been conducted in Oman. Based on information obtained from various studies, the status of knowledge concerning safety and efficacy of medicinal plants used in the gulf region suggests that the occupation of a traditional healer is a family matter and passed on by inheritance. When the present generation of healers die, their knowledge may die with them. Moreover most practitioners have very limited knowledge in the identification of species and procedures for preparing medicinal remedies. This indicates a loss of rich knowledge of practical plant medicine. To the far-sighted, enlightened administrators in countries in the third world, this faith of the population in TMs and herbal remedies is an asset. Hence, this old traditional knowledge should be preserved before it is forgotten and lost. Tribal healers in most of the countries, where ethno medical treatment is frequently used to treat cut wounds, skin infection, swelling, aging, mental illness, cancer, asthma, diabetes, jaundice, scabies, eczema, venereal diseases, snakebite and gastric ulcer, provide instructions to local people on how to prepare medicine from herbs. They keep no records and the information is mainly passed on verbally from generation to generation. World Health Organization (WHO) has shown great interest in documenting the use of medicinal plants used by tribal from different parts of the world. Many developing countries have intensified their efforts in documenting the ethno medical data on medicinal plants. Research to find out scientific evidence for claims by tribal healers be intensified. Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and University of Nizwa (UoN) are having good research facilities and doing a lot of research work on Natural products. University of Nizwa has a Chair of Oman’s Medicinal Plants & Marine Natural Products and working on isolation of pure Natural compounds and their applications. Oman’s economy is dominated by large firms that operate mostly in the petrochemical and natural resources, construction and trade sectors. Their innovative activity is not negligible, but it is insufficient to spur innovation throughout the economy and buttress the functioning of a meaningful national innovation system. Whatever innovation takes place benefits mainly several large firms and the companies operating under their umbrellas. For example, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) dominates the oil and gas sector and has a solid R&D infrastructure. It has been developing advanced technology for enhanced oil and gas recovery. However, there are few, if any, spin-off businesses emerging from this innovative endeavor, and interactions with academia and other R&D institutions seem to be limited. Oman has relatively well-developed universities and colleges. The first public university in Oman, the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), founded in 1986, has nine colleges: Arts and Social Sciences, Economics and Political Science, Education, Law, Nursing, Agriculture and Marine Sciences, Medicine and Health and second largest university in the Sultanate is University of Nizwa (UoN). Both the universities are having good research facilities and doing a lot of research work on Natural products. University of Nizwa has a Chair of Oman’s Medicinal Plants & Marine Natural Products and developed a number of technology for Natural Products and their derivatives. We are successful in R&D of Natural Products as we have good research labs and modern techniques of analysis but unsuccessful in commercialize of these Natural products because of there is no large firm to support. Oman is endowed with rich biodiversity both marine and terrestrial that has acclimated to the arid climate. Its agro systems both traditional and conventional encompass a wide range of crops including herbs, vegetables, fruits, grains and forges. Its mountains, villages, valleys and coastline are rich with indigenous plants, animals and species. The country is home to about 1,200 native plant species, which includes trees, shrubs, and herbs. The major problems of R&D in GCC countries are lack of research funding and international collaboration.
You mentioned that you have a NP library that you would like to commercialize? Can you please say a few sentences about this library and why you would like to share, why you think it would be beneficial for the research society to share this library and related knowledge?
University of Nizwa (UoN) has a Natural Product Library. Scientists work on different plant species (Marine as well as terrestrial) and isolate pure compounds and perform their biological activities. Finally scientists develop new technologies for Natural Products. UoN work for different Natural Products industries all over the world and transfer the technology to them. Scientists are working on Boswellia sacra (Omani Frankincense), world best variety of Boswellia and isolating anticancer compound and making some water soluble analogues by using synthetic pathways. UoN is open for all Natural products industries for transferring the technology. It has a number of technologies for Standardized Herbal Extract, Pure Phytochemicals and Natural food Colors. (more than 100 indigenous species and more than 100 new compounds)