While, as mentioned, the patentability of natural products may be limited by patent rules, it may be possible to claim protection on extracts or formulations (i.e. a mixture of an active ingredient with certain excipients) of natural products.
Examples of patents of this type include US 4178372 on hypoallergenic stabilized aloe vera gel: US 4725438 on an aloe vera ointment; US 4696819 on material extracted from coca leaves; and EP 0513671 on “commiphora mukul” extracts.
Of course, the granting of these kind of patents depends on the extent to which the patentability requirements are met, a debatable issue when relatively common processes of extraction or simple formulations are claimed. Claims of this type may be used, in some instances, to bypass the prohibition on the patentability of substances found in nature, or to overcome objections based on lack of novelty. A patent granted on a formulation, however, would not prevent communities or other parties from using and commercializing the same product, in its natural form or with a different (not infringing) formulation.