A natural product is a chemical compound or substance produced by a living organism—that is, found in nature. In the broadest sense, natural products include any substance produced by life. Natural products can also be prepared by chemical synthesis (both semisynthesis and total synthesis) and have played a central role in the development of the field of organic chemistry by providing challenging synthetic targets. Naturally occurring compounds have been used medicinally for centuries and continue to be a rich source of novel therapeutics, including antibiotics and cancer drugs. It has long been recognized that natural-product structures have the characteristics of high chemical diversity, biochemical specificity and other molecular properties that make them favourable as lead structures for drug discovery, and which serve to differentiate them from libraries of synthetic and combinatorial compounds.
Natural products are an unsurpassed source of chemical diversity and an ideal starting point for any screening program for pharmacologically active small molecules. Historically, natural products have been the most successful source of new drugs. Natural Product Libraries is a powerful tool for cell induction research and the drug screening focused on unique natural structures along with new bioactivity.