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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 “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


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


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 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


The medicinal plants used by herbalists in Kenya have not been well documented, despite their widespread use. The threat of complete disappearance of the knowledge on herbal medicine from factors such as deforestation, lack of proper regulation, overexploitation and sociocultural issues warrants an urgent need to document the information. The purpose of the study was to document information on medicinal plants used by herbalists in Marakwet District towards the utilization of indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge for the advancement of biomedical research and development.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Ayurveda, Alternative medicine, Herbalism, Herb, Herbal, Chinese herbology, Ethnobotany


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


This paper examines the crucial early history of the American Journal of Botany from the years following the founding of the Botanical Society of America in 1906 to the termination of the agreement for publication with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 1935. It examines the efforts of individuals like F. C. Newcombe, who did the most to raise support for the journal and became the first Editor-in-Chief, in the context of the growing numbers of professional botanists and plant scientists who were actively engaged in research requiring appropriate publication venues and in the process of forming an independent identity as “American botanists.” It also examines the launching of the journal in the context of the Great War in Europe and the transition from German botany to American botany in the second decade of the 20th century.

Concepts: Plant, Botany, 20th century, Herbal, World War II, Botanical garden


Herbal products are commonly used to treat clinical conditions and are often purchased online without the supervision of a healthcare provider. The use of herbals remains controversial because of widespread exaggerated claims of clinical efficacy and safety. We conducted an online search of 13 common herbals (including black cohosh, echinacea, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, green tea, kava, saw palmetto, and St John’s wort) and reviewed the top 50 Web sites for each using a Google search. We analyzed clinical claims, warnings, and other safety information. A total of 1179 Web sites were examined. Less than 8% of retail sites provided information regarding potential adverse effects, drug interactions, and other safety information; only 10.5% recommended consultation with a healthcare professional. Less than 3% cited scientific literature to accompany their claims. Key safety information is still lacking from many online sources of herbal information. Certain nonretail site types may be more reliable, but physicians and other healthcare professionals should be aware of the variable quality of these sites to help patients make more informed decisions.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Patient, Herbalism, Medicinal plants, Herbal


The herbal treatment with myrrh, dry extract of chamomile flowers and coffee charcoal has anti-inflammatory and antidiarrhoeal potential and might benefit patients with UC. Aminosalicylates are used as standard treatment for maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis (UC).

Concepts: Pharmacology, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Herbalism, Herb, Herbal, Herbalist, Doctrine of signatures