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Traditional herbal medicines: potential degradation of sterols and sterolins by microbial contaminants
D. du Plessis-Stoman,T. G. Downing,M. van de Venter,S. Govender
South African Journal of Science , 2010, DOI: 10.4102/sajs.v105i3/4.67
Abstract: Medicinal plants with a high content of sterols and sterolins, such as Bulbine natalensis (rooiwortel) and Hypoxis hemerocallidea (African potato), are commonly and inappropriately used in South Africa for the treatment of HIV/AIDS due to the inaccessibility of antiretroviral drugs. This study investigated the presence of active compounds, such as sterols and sterolins, in the herbal medicines. The research was carried out in the Nelson Mandela Metropole area. The effect of microbial contaminants isolated from the medicines on sterols and sterolins of rooiwortel extracts was assessed. Sterols and sterolins were detected in rooiwortel, raw African potatoes and one ready-made mixture. Co-incubation of rooiwortel with bacteria (Bacillus spp. and Pseudomonas putida) and fungi (Aspergillus spp., Penicillium spp. and Mucor spp.) that were isolated from these samples increased the rate of degradation of sterols and sterolins over time, with slower degradation at 4°C than at 28°C.
Herbal Medicines: Can We Do without Pharmacologist?  [PDF]
Gioacchino Calapai,Achille P. Caputi
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine , 2007, DOI: 10.1093/ecam/nem095
Abstract: The increase of herbal medicine use led many scientists to contribute to the research in this field. Also a few pharmacologists, after an initial phase of correct criticisms, today recognize the possibility of investigating the scientific value of medicinal products composed essentially of vegetable extracts. However, it is logical to pose the questions: (i) is there a role for the pharmacologist in herbal medicine (or phytotherapy)? (ii) can we do without pharmacologists’? First, two worlds—drug researchers (pharmacologists) and herbal medicines—yesterday appearing in opposition, are today closer and it is not unusual to read scientific works describing herbal extracts in journals traditionally dedicated to the study of synthetic drugs. Second, clinical application of herbal medicines is evaluable through the methods of modern clinical pharmacology. Efficacy and safety of medicinal plants represent naturally the object of interest for the pharmacologist and it is surely this aspect which gives the most important information on herbal medicine use. Many plants have been studied and results published showing, one time good or another poor, efficacy. Safety aspects of some of the most frequently used plants are now well known. For example, today we learn to use hypericum and we do not give it to patients taking other drugs because the interactions of hypericum with them. Contraindications of other plants, often represented by interactions with drugs, are finally known (Ginkgo biloba and drugs acting on blood coagulation). In conclusion, antagonistic behavior of pharmacologists versus herbal medicines is not useful. On the contrary, modern phytotherapy needs the contribution of researchers usually trained to evaluate efficacy and safety of medicinals.
Herbal Medicines for Immunosuppression
Zahra Amirghofran
Iranian Journal Of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology , 2012,
Abstract: Herbal medicines have been used for centuries to treat different illnesses.Among more than 20,000 herbal medicines available for humans,a limited number have sufficiently been studied and numerous remained to be investigated for their efficacy in treating human diseases.A number of herbal products are in use for their immunosuppressive effects.This capacity of herbs may have useful applications in immune-mediated disorders including autoimmune diseases and organ transplant rejection. Plants such as Salvia miltiorrhiza and Tripterygium wilfordii has been shown to reduce inflammatory cytokines and mediators, indicating their value in the treatment of acute graft rejections and autoimmunity. Tanacetum parthenium inhibits the release of pro-inflammatory mediators from macrophages and lymphocytes and Curcuma longa down regulates the expression of cytokines and chemokines as well as the transcription factor NF-kappaB.There has been growing interest to investigate novel anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive activities from various sources particularly herbal medicines.This review focuses on the plants that have recently received more attention regarding their influence on the immune system, being reported as immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory agents and promising protective effects for immune-mediated diseases.
Evaluation of knowledge base of hospital pharmacists and physicians on herbal medicines in Southwestern Nigeria
Fakeye,Titilayo O.; Onyemadu,Oluchi;
Pharmacy Practice (Internet) , 2008, DOI: 10.4321/S1886-36552008000200005
Abstract: the use of herbal medicines among nigerian patients and the tendency to combine this class of medicines with allopathic drugs while on hospital admission have been on the increase. earlier studies show that community pharmacists from nigeria believe that they need more training to counsel patients on their use of herbal medications. objective: to evaluate knowledge base, use, acceptability, attitudes and beliefs of hospital pharmacists and physicians in south-western nigeria on herbal products / phytopharmaceuticals /dietary supplements (hp/pp/ds). methods: a 20-odd questionnaire including an 8-item herbal medicine question was used to assess the knowledge of the physicians and pharmacists in the area of pharmacology of hp/pp/ds. effects of demographic information such as age, sex, year post graduation, years of experience and area of specialization on the scores obtained were evaluated using fisher?s exact tests. level of significance was set at p<0.05. results: pharmacists (51.4%) believed that the training they had was not adequate while physicians (44.6%) believed hp/pp/ds are not safe and 18.5% believed they are not effective. pharmacovigilance centres were not significantly used for adverse reactions reported by patients. pharmacists (67.6%) and physicians (29.3%) believed phytopharmaceuticals interact with other drugs. year of graduation had a significant effect on the perception of the possibilities of interaction for pharmacists. 5.6% of the physicians and 62.4% of the pharmacists scored ≥50% with the questions on use and interaction potentials of hp/pp/ds, with cadre and years of practice having significant effects. conclusions: there is a deficiency in the knowledge base of physicians, especially on the pharmacology and potential interaction of herbal medicines. there is an urgent need for the inclusion of pharmacology of common herbal medicines in the curriculum of nigerian medical degree and an improvement in the pharmacy curriculum in this area.
Evaluation of knowledge base of hospital pharmacists and physicians on herbal medicines in Southwestern Nigeria
Fakeye TO,Onyemadu O
Pharmacy Practice (Granada) , 2008,
Abstract: The use of herbal medicines among Nigerian patients and the tendency to combine this class of medicines with allopathic drugs while on hospital admission have been on the increase. Earlier studies show that community pharmacists from Nigeria believe that they need more training to counsel patients on their use of herbal medications. Objective: To evaluate knowledge base, use, acceptability, attitudes and beliefs of hospital pharmacists and physicians in South-western Nigeria on herbal products / phytopharmaceuticals /dietary supplements (HP/PP/DS). Methods: A 20-odd questionnaire including an 8-item herbal medicine question was used to assess the knowledge of the physicians and pharmacists in the area of pharmacology of HP/PP/DS. Effects of demographic information such as age, sex, year post graduation, years of experience and area of specialization on the scores obtained were evaluated using Fisher’s exact tests. Level of significance was set at p<0.05.Results: Pharmacists (51.4%) believed that the training they had was not adequate while physicians (44.6%) believed HP/PP/DS are not safe and 18.5% believed they are not effective. Pharmacovigilance centres were not significantly used for adverse reactions reported by patients. Pharmacists (67.6%) and physicians (29.3%) believed phytopharmaceuticals interact with other drugs. Year of graduation had a significant effect on the perception of the possibilities of interaction for pharmacists. 5.6% of the physicians and 62.4% of the pharmacists scored ≥50% with the questions on use and interaction potentials of HP/PP/DS, with cadre and years of practice having significant effects. Conclusions: There is a deficiency in the knowledge base of physicians, especially on the pharmacology and potential interaction of herbal medicines. There is an urgent need for the inclusion of pharmacology of common herbal medicines in the curriculum of Nigerian medical degree and an improvement in the pharmacy curriculum in this area.
Toxic Theories of Chinese Herbal Medicines and Their Study Progress
中药毒性理论及研究进展

Liu Shumin,Luo Mingmei,Li Yujie,
刘树民
,罗明媚,李玉洁

世界科学技术-中医药现代化 , 2003,
Abstract: As for the deep study and correct understanding of the toxicity of Chinese herbal medicines, should be well handled the contradiction that not only the curative effectiveness of poisonous medicines should be brought into full play, but also their toxic reaction and side-effects should be reduced to the minimum so as to establish a set of complete world criteria for the assessment of the safety of Chinese medicines, and this is an important task for the acceleration of the modernization and internationalization of Chinese medicines. This article generally reviews the history and methods of the study on poisonous Chinese medicines and proposes that people should get out of the misunderstanding of poisonous Chinese medicines on the basis of summing up the valuable experience of our predecessors, and cany out the study on the toxicology of Chinese herbal medicines by making use of the knowledge of modern pharmacology and toxicology and advanced experimental means.
Herbal medicines: old and new concepts, truths and misunderstandings  [cached]
Fabio Carmona,Ana Maria Soares Pereira
Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia , 2013,
Abstract: Men have been using herbal medicines for thousands of years. The advantages of this type of therapeutics include good availability, local cultural aspects, individual preferences, the increasing demand for natural and organic products, and the already validated synergistic effects of herbal medicines. However, ethically, the scope and limits of these drugs need to be established not only by ethnopharmacological evidences but also by scientific investigations, which confirm the therapeutic effects. With this study, we propose to discuss the possible advantages of using herbal medicines instead of purified compounds, the truth and myths about herbal medicines, drug discovery, and the implications for medical education and health care.
Regulation of herbal medicines in Brazil: advances and perspectives
Carvalho, Ana Cecília Bezerra;Perfeito, Jo?o Paulo Silvério;Costa e Silva, Leandro Viana;Ramalho, Lívia Santos;Marques, Robelma France de Oliveira;Silveira, Damaris;
Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences , 2011, DOI: 10.1590/S1984-82502011000300004
Abstract: the national policy of integrative and complementary practices (pnpic) in the brazilian unified health system (sus), and the national policy of medicinal plants and herbal medicines (pnpmf) were launched in 2006. based on these, the brazilian health surveillance agency (anvisa) re-edited rules related to herbal medicines such as the guideline to herbal medicine registration (rdc 14/10), the good manufacture practices guideline (rdc 17/10) and the list of references to assess the safety and efficacy of herbal medicines (in 05/10). the requisites to prove herbal medicine's safety and efficacy were updated. therefore, this review aims at presenting and commenting these new rules.
Editorial- Promoting the Safe use of Herbal Medicines
Dr. Annie Shirwaikar
Hygeia : Journal for Drugs and Medicines , 2012,
Abstract: The global use of herbal medicines has been steadily increasing and today a large number of the world's population use herbal medicines as their primary form of health care. This popularity, mainly influenced by patients' dissatisfaction with conventional allopathic medicines may also be attributed to several other reasons. Often associated with traditional and personal beliefs, herbal medicines because of its natural origin are perceived to be highly effective therapeutically, safe and free of side-effects, and in some cases complementary to western or orthodox medicine. They are freely available from health stores & pharmacies and they actually allow the user the means to self-treat a range of conditions for which orthodox and even over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are limited or unavailable. This has led to extensive herbal self-medication, as users are often unaware of the adverse drug reactions (ADR’s) that these medicines may pose.
Pharmacovigilance of herbal medicines: Current state and future directions  [cached]
Shetti Sandeep,Kumar C,Sriwastava Neeraj,Sharma Indra
Pharmacognosy Magazine , 2011,
Abstract: Currently, a majority of the adverse events related to the use of herbal products and herbal medicines that are reported are attributable either to poor product quality or to improper use. Inadequate regulatory measures, weak quality control systems, and largely uncontrolled distribution channels (including mail order and Internet sales) may have been contributing to the occurrence of such events. In order to expand the knowledge about genuine adverse reactions to herbal medicines, and to avoid wasting scarce resources for identifying and analyzing adverse events, events resulting from such situations will need to be reduced or eliminated. Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) are therefore encouraged to strengthen national regulation, registration and quality assurance and control of herbal medicines. In addition, the national health authorities should give greater attention to consumer education and to qualified practice in the provision of herbal medicines.
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