Phytochemistry: the study of phytochemicals, which are chemicals derived from plants. Plants synthesize phytochemicals for many reasons, including to protect themselves against insect attacks and plant diseases. Phytochemicals in food plants are often active in human biology, and in many cases have health benefits. The compounds found in plants are of many kinds, but most are in four major biochemical classes, the alkaloids, glycosides, polyphenols, and terpenes. Phytochemistry is widely used in the field of Chinese medicine especially in the field of herbal medicine.