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Phytochemistry deals with the study of secondary metabolites produced by plants that synthesize these compounds for many reasons, including their own protection against attack of herbivores and plant diseases. Secondary metabolites are believed to represent plant adaptation to various environmental factors and that they enabled the survival of the species. Secondary metabolites of plants can have curative or toxic effects in humans and animals. Herbal medicine has a long tradition in folk medicine and until the early 20th century, when synthetic organic chemistry began to develop, plants were the main source of medicines. The two basic goals of our phytochemical research are: isolation and identification of new (biologically active) compounds – potential drugs, and chemotaxonomy (chemosystematics). In the following text through one selected example, the genus Amphoricarpos Vis., our phytochemical research is shown on both aspects.
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