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Concept: Herbalism


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


Global HIV-1 treatment would benefit greatly from safe herbal medicines with scientifically validated novel anti-HIV-1 activities. The root extract from the medicinal plant Pelargonium sidoides (PS) is licensed in Germany as the herbal medicine EPs®7630, with numerous clinical trials supporting its safety in humans. Here we provide evidence from multiple cell culture experiments that PS extract displays potent anti-HIV-1 activity. We show that PS extract protects peripheral blood mononuclear cells and macrophages from infection with various X4 and R5 tropic HIV-1 strains, including clinical isolates. Functional studies revealed that the extract from PS has a novel mode-of-action. It interferes directly with viral infectivity and blocks the attachment of HIV-1 particles to target cells, protecting them from virus entry. Analysis of the chemical footprint of anti-HIV activity indicates that HIV-1 inhibition is mediated by multiple polyphenolic compounds with low cytotoxicity and can be separated from other extract components with higher cytotoxicity. Based on our data and its excellent safety profile, we propose that PS extract represents a lead candidate for the development of a scientifically validated herbal medicine for anti-HIV-1 therapy with a mode-of-action different from and complementary to current single-molecule drugs.

Concepts: Immune system, Pharmacology, Medicine, Ayurveda, Alternative medicine, Herbalism, PBMC, Pelargonium sidoides


Magnolia grandiflora L. flower is wildly used in Asian as a traditional herbal medication. The purpose of the study was to investigate the antimelanogenic and antioxidant properties of Magnolia grandiflora L. flower extract. In the study, the inhibitory effects of M. grandiflora L. flower extract on mushroom tyrosinase, B16F10 intracellular tyrosinase activity and melanin content were determined spectrophotometrically. Meanwhile, the antioxidative capacity of the flower extract was also investigated.

Concepts: Antioxidant, Melanin, Herbalism, Melanocyte, Tyrosinase, Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora


Samsoeum (SSE), a traditional herbal formula, has been widely used to treat cough, fever, congestion, and emesis for centuries. Recent studies have demonstrated that SSE retains potent pharmacological efficiency in anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory reactions. However, the anti-cancer activity of SSE and its underlying mechanisms have not been studied. Thus, the present study was designed to determine the effect of SSE on cell death and elucidate its detailed mechanism.

Concepts: Cancer, Cell division, Apoptosis, The Canon of Medicine, Chemotherapy, DNA replication, Cultural studies, Herbalism


The Italian herbal products market is the most prosperous in Europe. The proof is represented by the use of these products in several marketing categories, ranging from medicine to nutrition and cosmetics. Market and legislation in Italy are at the same time cause and consequence of this peculiar situation. In fact, the legislation on botanical food supplements in Italy is very permissive and at the same time the market shows an overall satisfaction of users and strong feedback in terms of consumption, which brings a widening use of medicinal plants, formerly the prerogative of pharmaceuticals, to other fields such as nutrition. This review summarizes the market and normative panorama of herbal products in Italy, highlighting the blurred boundaries of health indications, marketing authorizations and quality controls between herbal medicines and non pharmaceutical products, such as food supplements, cosmetics and other herbal-based “parapharmaceuticals”.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Botany, Pharmaceutical drug, Herbalism, Herb, Pharmacy, Food and Drug Administration


The quality and the efficacy of herbal medicine are of great concern especially with the increase in their global use. Medicinal plants of different species or collected from different geographical regions have shown variations in both their contents and pharmacological activities due to the differences in the environmental conditions of the collected sites. In this study, roots of Phytolacca acinosa found in different provinces in south China (Sichuan and Shandong) and a species of Phytolacca americana were investigated. To ensure a maximum yield of the major compounds, the extraction method and conditions were optimized. The preeminent method of extraction in this analysis was determined to be the ultrasound-assisted method with specific conditions as follows: ethanol-H₂O (1:1, v/v), with a solvent: sample ratio of 1:8, and extraction was performed 3 times, each for 30 min. Under these conditions, samples from the different regions varied both in quantity and quality via the LC-MS analysis. A total of 60 triterpenoid saponins were detected within the three samples, among which 22 were identified as common in the three samples. The amounts of these common triterpenoid saponin identified varied across the samples. Moreover, the analysis led to the detection of some novel compounds that have not yet been reported in this family, while other compounds differ in their fragmentation pathways compared to previous literature. To further divulge the correlations between the bioactivities in these three samples and the quantity and quality of their bioactive components, a cytotoxic analysis was thus carried out with two cancer cell lines, and SGC-7901 and Hep G2, which evidently showed remarkable differences in their anti-proliferative activities with respect to the IC50 value. Samples of P. acinosa from Sichuan showed higher values in both cell lines (27.20 ± 1.60 and 25.59 ± 1.63 µg/mL) compared to those of Shandong and P. americana. For the first time, analysis and comparison of both interspecies and of different species in this family were carried out. This study will significantly contribute to the quality insurance of herbal medicine, especially in the Phytolaccaceae family.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Cell, Species, Ayurveda, Cell culture, Herbalism, Triterpenoid saponins, Saponin


In the latest years, a lot of research studies regarding the usage of active agents from plants in the treatment of tumors have been published, but there is no data about successful usage of herbal remedies in the treatment of glioblastoma in humans.

Concepts: Brain tumor, Herbalism


Research of natural products from traditionally used medicinal plants to fight against the human ailments is fetching attention of researchers worldwide. Bidens pilosa Linn. var. Radiata (Asteraceae) is well known for its folkloric medicinal use against various diseases from many decades. Mizoram, North East India, has high plant diversity and the use of this plant as herbal medicine is deep rooted in the local tribes. The present study was executed to understand the pharmacological potential of B. pilosa leaves extract.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Plant, Ayurveda, Root, Herbalism, Bidens, Bidens pilosa


Medicinal plants are globally valuable sources of herbal products, and they are disappearing at a high speed. This article reviews global trends, developments and prospects for the strategies and methodologies concerning the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plant resources to provide a reliable reference for the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants. We emphasized that both conservation strategies (e.g. in situ and ex situ conservation and cultivation practices) and resource management (e.g. good agricultural practices and sustainable use solutions) should be adequately taken into account for the sustainable use of medicinal plant resources. We recommend that biotechnical approaches (e.g. tissue culture, micropropagation, synthetic seed technology, and molecular marker-based approaches) should be applied to improve yield and modify the potency of medicinal plants.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Biodiversity, Conservation biology, Agriculture, Herbalism, Herb, Sustainability, In-situ conservation


OBJECTIVE:Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is high among children and youth with chronic illnesses. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence and patterns of CAM use in 10 subspecialty clinics in Canada and to compare CAM use between 2 geographically diverse locations.METHODS:This survey was carried out at 1 Children’s Hospital in western Canada (Edmonton) and 1 Children’s Hospital in central Canada (Ottawa). Questionnaires were completed by parents in either French or English.RESULTS:Although demographic characteristics of the 2 populations were similar, CAM use at the western hospital was 71% (n = 704) compared with 42% (n = 222) at the central hospital (P < .0001). Most respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they feel comfortable discussing CAM in their clinic. The most common CAM products currently used were multivitamins/minerals, herbal products, and homeopathic remedies. The most common CAM practices currently used were massage, chiropractic, relaxation, and aromatherapy. Eighty adverse effects were reported, and 55 (68.8%) of these were self-assessed as minor.CONCLUSIONS:Results of this study indicate that CAM use is high among pediatric specialty clinic outpatients and is much greater in the western than in the central hospital. Most respondents felt that their CAM use was helpful with few or no harms associated. Many patients, using CAM alongside their conventional medicines, are still not discussing their CAM use with their physicians and are increasing the likelihood for potential interactions and preventable harms.

Concepts: Medicine, Hospital, Ayurveda, Physician, Pediatrics, Alternative medicine, Herbalism, Aromatherapy