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Concept: Herbal


Herbal products available to consumers in the marketplace may be contaminated or substituted with alternative plant species and fillers that are not listed on the labels. According to the World Health Organization, the adulteration of herbal products is a threat to consumer safety. Our research aimed to investigate herbal product integrity and authenticity with the goal of protecting consumers from health risks associated with product substitution and contamination.

Concepts: Organism, Species, Herbalism, DNA barcoding, World Health Organization, Herbal, Consumer protection, Consumer


The use of herbal medicinal products and supplements has increased during last decades. At present, some herbs are used to enhance muscle strength and body mass. Emergent evidence suggests that the health benefits from plants are attributed to their bioactive compounds such as Polyphenols, Terpenoids, and Alkaloids which have several physiological effects on the human body. At times, manufacturers launch numerous products with banned ingredient inside with inappropriate amounts or fake supplement inducing harmful side effect. Unfortunately up to date, there is no guarantee that herbal supplements are safe for anyone to use and it has not helped to clear the confusion surrounding the herbal use in sport field especially. Hence, the purpose of this review is to provide guidance on the efficacy and side effect of most used plants in sport. We have identified plants according to the following categories: Ginseng, alkaloids, and other purported herbal ergogenics such asTribulus Terrestris, Cordyceps Sinensis. We found that most herbal supplement effects are likely due to activation of the central nervous system via stimulation of catecholamines. Ginseng was used as an endurance performance enhancer, while alkaloids supplementation resulted in improvements in sprint and cycling intense exercises. Despite it is prohibited, small amount of ephedrine was usually used in combination with caffeine to enhance muscle strength in trained individuals. Some other alkaloids such as green tea extracts have been used to improve body mass and composition in athletes. Other herb (i.e. Rhodiola, Astragalus) help relieve muscle and joint pain, but results about their effects on exercise performance are missing.

Concepts: Nervous system, Physical exercise, Caffeine, Alternative medicine, Herbalism, Herb, Herbal, Alkaloid


The use of herbal products has increased significantly in recent years. Because these products are not subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration and are often used without supervision by a healthcare provider, the indication for and consumption of these supplements is quite variable. Moreover, their use is generally regarded as safe and natural by the lay-public. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in the number of reported adverse events occurring with the use of herbal products. We present a case of acute impending liver failure in an adolescent male using a weight-loss product containing green tea extract. Our case adds to the growing concern surrounding the ingestion of green tea extract and serves to heighten healthcare provider awareness of a potential green tea extract hepatotoxicity. Despite the generally touted benefits of green tea as a whole, clinical concern regarding its use is emerging and has been linked to its concentration in multiple herbal supplements. Interestingly, the suspected harmful compounds are those previously proposed to be advantageous for weight-loss, cancer remedy, and anti-inflammatory purposes. Yet, we emphasize the need to be aware of not just green tea extract, but the importance of monitoring patient use of all dietary supplements and herbal products.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Cancer, Paracetamol, Camellia sinensis, Herbalism, Herb, Green tea, Herbal


A 47-year-old woman presented with seizures secondary to euvolaemic hyponatraemia. A collateral history revealed recent increased oral fluid intake and increased use of herbal remedies including valerian root over the New Year period. There was no history of psychiatric disease to support psychogenic polydipsia. She responded to careful sodium replacement in the intensive care unit and was discharged with no neurological sequelae.

Concepts: Medicine, Greek loanwords, Epilepsy, Psychiatry, Herbalism, Herb, Herbal, Herbalist


The “horchata” is a herbal mixture infusion consumed in Southern Ecuador. It remains unknown how vendors group the plant species to sell them at traditional markets. This research documented the following: 1) a list of medicinal plant species sold for the drink; 2) the culturally important medicinal plant species; 3) the agreement among vendors regarding the medicinal plants species and their therapeutic use; and 4) the groups of medicinal plants sold for the preparation of “horchata.”

Concepts: Eukaryote, Plant, Botany, Fern, Herbalism, Herb, Herbal, Decoction


Approximately 20% of adults use some kind of herbal; however, little data exists from population-based study or clinical trials to support effectiveness of most herbal products. Chamomile is a commonly used herb among older adults of Mexican origin. We examined the effects of herbal chamomile consumption on mortality among older adults of Mexican origin.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Death, The Canon of Medicine, Effectiveness, Avicenna, Herbalism, Herb, Herbal


The use of herbal medicinal products and supplements has increased tremendously over the past three decades with not less than 80% of people worldwide relying on them for some part of primary healthcare. Although therapies involving these agents have shown promising potential with the efficacy of a good number of herbal products clearly established, many of them remain untested and their use are either poorly monitored or not even monitored at all. The consequence of this is an inadequate knowledge of their mode of action, potential adverse reactions, contraindications, and interactions with existing orthodox pharmaceuticals and functional foods to promote both safe and rational use of these agents. Since safety continues to be a major issue with the use of herbal remedies, it becomes imperative, therefore, that relevant regulatory authorities put in place appropriate measures to protect public health by ensuring that all herbal medicines are safe and of suitable quality. This review discusses toxicity-related issues and major safety concerns arising from the use of herbal medicinal products and also highlights some important challenges associated with effective monitoring of their safety.

Concepts: Health care, Pharmacology, Medicine, Health, Pharmaceutical drug, Herbalism, Herb, Herbal


Botanical gardens represent artificial, but stable environments. With this premise, we analyzed the Munich Botanical Garden’s bee fauna in 1997/1999 and again in 2015/2017. The garden covers 20 ha, uses no bee-relevant insecticides, has a protected layout, and on three sides abuts protected areas. Outdoors, it cultivates some 10,871 species/subspecies, many suitable as pollen and nectar sources for bees. The first survey found 79 species, the second 106, or 55% of the 192 species recorded for Munich since 1990. A Jackknife estimate for the second survey suggests 115 expected species. Classifying bees according to their thermal preferences (warm habitats, cool habitats, broad preferences, or unknown) revealed that 15 warm-loving species were gained (newly found), two lost (no longer found), and 12 retained, but only one cool-loving species was gained, three lost, and none retained, which multinomial models show to be significant differences. Of the 62 retained species, 27 changed in abundance, with 18 less frequent and nine more frequent by 2017 than they had been in 1997/1999. Retention, gain, or loss were unconnected to pollen specialization and Red List status of bee species. Between 1997 and 2017, average temperatures in Munich have increased by 0.5 °C, and climate warming over the past century is the most plausible explanation for the directional increase in warm-loving and the decrease in cool-adapted species. These results highlight the potential of botanic gardens with their artificially diverse and near-pesticide-free floras as systems in which to investigate climate change per se as a possible factor in shifting insect diversity.

Concepts: Insect, Climate change, Botany, Flower, Bee, Herbal, Palynology, Botanical garden


The use of botanical medicine by practitioners and the general public has dramatically increased in recent years. Most of these botanical therapeutics are obtained through commercial manufacturers or nutraceutical companies. The current standard of practice that manufacturers typically use to standardize botanicals is done based on the level of a well-known, abundant marker compound present in the botanical. This study evaluated the putative correlation between the level of a marker compound and the biological activity of eight common botanicals. Overall, the standardization of a botanical based on a marker compound was found not to be a reliable method when compared to in vitro bioactivity. A marker compound is often not the biologically active component of a plant and therefore the level of such a marker compound does not necessarily correlate with biological activity or therapeutic efficacy.

Concepts: Medicine, Biology, Species, Botany, Standardization, Herb, Biological activity, Herbal


Green tea (GT), obtained from the leaves of Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze (Fam. Theaceae), is largely used for its potential health benefits such as reduction in risk of cardiovascular diseases and weight loss. Nevertheless, it is suspected to induce liver damage. Present work reviews the hepatic adverse reactions associated with GT-based herbal supplements, published by the end of 2008 to March 2015. A systematic research was carried out on PubMed, MedlinePlus, Scopus and Google Scholar databases, without any language restriction. Moreover, some accessible databases on pharmacovigilance or phytovigilance were consulted. The causality assessment was performed using the CIOMS/RUCAM score. Nineteen cases of hepatotoxicity related to the consumption of herbal products containing GT were identified. The hepatic reactions involved mostly women (16/19); the kind of liver damage was generally classified as hepatocellular (16/19). The causality assessment between consumption of herbal preparation and hepatic reaction resulted as probable in eight cases and as possible in eleven cases. In seven cases, patients used preparations containing only GT, while twelve reactions involved patients who took multicomponent preparations (MC). The reactions induced by GT had a generally long latency (179.1 ± 58.95 days), and the outcome was always resolution, with recovery time of 64.6 ± 17.78 days. On the contrary, liver injury associated with MC had a shorter latency (44.7 ± 13.85 days) and was more serious in four cases that required liver transplantation and, when resolution occurred, the recovery time was longer (118.9 ± 38.79). MC preparations contained numerous other components, many of which are suspected to induce liver damage, so it is difficult to ascribe the toxicity to one specific component, e.g., GT. Present data confirm a certain safety concern with GT, even if the number of hepatic reactions reported is low considering the great extent of use of this supplement. The mechanism of GT hepatotoxicity remains unclear, but factors related to the patient are becoming predominant. A major safety concern exists when GT is associated with other ingredients that can interact between them and with GT, enhancing the risk of liver damage. Patients should be discouraged from using herbal or dietary supplements containing complex mixtures and should be encouraged to use herbal and dietary supplement possibly under supervision of healthcare professionals.

Concepts: Liver, Dietary supplement, Paracetamol, Herbalism, Herb, Herbal, Dietary supplements, Herbalist