Herbal Medicines and Natural Products

A special issue of Medicines (ISSN 2305-6320).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2015) | Viewed by 67018

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA
Interests: drug discovery; systems pharmacology; cancer pharmacology; drug metabolism and transport; pharmacometrics; pharmacogenomics
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Chinese Medicine is an important type of complementary approach utilizing herbal medicines and acupuncture to manage a variety of diseases and promote health. Herbal medicines and natural products represent an important group of multicomponent therapeutics that are widely and increasingly used worldwide with the hope of managing various chronic diseases and to promote well-being. However, there is a lack of clinical evidence for the efficacy, targets of action, disposition and safety of most herbal medicines and natural products, although there are limited clinical reports documenting the efficacy of gingko, St John’s Wort, and saw palmetto, with less evidence for ginseng, Echinacea and kava. In contrast to the development of synthetic drugs, there is no regulatory need to study the disposition, efficacy and safety of herbal remedies and natural products in most countries. The purpose of this special issue is to highlight our current knowledge on the disposition, efficacy and safety of commonly used herbal medicines and natural products in humans. The primary disposition routes, efficacy, mechanisms of action, and safety profiles of commonly used herbal medicines and natural products and the structure-activity relationships will be discussed. The special issue will cover the following subtopics.

Subtopics covered:

  1. Pharmacologically active constituents of herbal medicines and natural products
  2. Epidemiological studies of herbal toxicity
  3. Clinical efficacy evidence supporting the use of herbal medicines and natural products
  4. Clinical herb-drug interactions
  5. Herbal disposition and pharmacokinetics in humans
  6. Herbal bioactivation and toxicological implication
  7. Use of computational approaches to study herbal medicines and natural products
  8. Use of LC-MS in the study of herbal medicines and natural products
  9. Toxic compounds from herbal medicines and natural products and mechanistic considerations
  10. Drug discovery from herbal medicines and natural products.

Prof. Dr. Shufeng Zhou
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Chinese medicine
  • herbal medicine
  • natural product
  • disposition pathway
  • efficacy
  • safety
  • toxicity
  • herb-drug interaction
  • public health

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Editorial for Special Issue on Herbal Medicines and Natural Products
by Zhi-Wei Zhou and Shu-Feng Zhou
Medicines 2015, 2(4), 328-330; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines2040328 - 16 Nov 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3824
Abstract
Herbal medicines and natural products have been the most productive source of drug development and there is a large line of evidence on the applications of herbal medicines and natural products for the management of body function and the treatment of aliments. The [...] Read more.
Herbal medicines and natural products have been the most productive source of drug development and there is a large line of evidence on the applications of herbal medicines and natural products for the management of body function and the treatment of aliments. The multiple bioactive components in herbal medicines and natural products can explain the multiple targets effect in their medical applications. The increasing usage of state-of-art computational, molecular biological, and analytical chemistry techniques will promote the exploration of the pharmacological effect of previously inaccessible sources of herbal medicines and natural products. Notably, with the increasing reports on the safety issues regarding the medical use of herbal medicines and natural products, the awareness of pharmacovigilance in herbal medicines and natural products needs to be strengthened. To prevent the adverse drug reactions related to herbal medicines and natural products, physicians need to be aware of potential risks and alert patients in the use of herbal medicines and natural products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Herbal Medicines and Natural Products)

Review

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649 KiB  
Review
Modes of Action of Herbal Medicines and Plant Secondary Metabolites
by Michael Wink
Medicines 2015, 2(3), 251-286; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines2030251 - 8 Sep 2015
Cited by 403 | Viewed by 29535
Abstract
Plants produce a wide diversity of secondary metabolites (SM) which serve them as defense compounds against herbivores, and other plants and microbes, but also as signal compounds. In general, SM exhibit a wide array of biological and pharmacological properties. Because of this, some [...] Read more.
Plants produce a wide diversity of secondary metabolites (SM) which serve them as defense compounds against herbivores, and other plants and microbes, but also as signal compounds. In general, SM exhibit a wide array of biological and pharmacological properties. Because of this, some plants or products isolated from them have been and are still used to treat infections, health disorders or diseases. This review provides evidence that many SM have a broad spectrum of bioactivities. They often interact with the main targets in cells, such as proteins, biomembranes or nucleic acids. Whereas some SM appear to have been optimized on a few molecular targets, such as alkaloids on receptors of neurotransmitters, others (such as phenolics and terpenoids) are less specific and attack a multitude of proteins by building hydrogen, hydrophobic and ionic bonds, thus modulating their 3D structures and in consequence their bioactivities. The main modes of action are described for the major groups of common plant secondary metabolites. The multitarget activities of many SM can explain the medical application of complex extracts from medicinal plants for more health disorders which involve several targets. Herbal medicine is not a placebo medicine but a rational medicine, and for several of them clinical trials have shown efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Herbal Medicines and Natural Products)
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259 KiB  
Review
Commonly Used Dietary Supplements on Coagulation Function during Surgery
by Chong-Zhi Wang, Jonathan Moss and Chun-Su Yuan
Medicines 2015, 2(3), 157-185; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines2030157 - 27 Jul 2015
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 12318
Abstract
Background: Patients who undergo surgery appear to use dietary supplements significantly more frequently than the general population. Because they contain pharmacologically active compounds, dietary supplements may affect coagulation and platelet function during the perioperative period through direct effects, pharmacodynamic interactions, and pharmacokinetic interactions. [...] Read more.
Background: Patients who undergo surgery appear to use dietary supplements significantly more frequently than the general population. Because they contain pharmacologically active compounds, dietary supplements may affect coagulation and platelet function during the perioperative period through direct effects, pharmacodynamic interactions, and pharmacokinetic interactions. However, in this regard, limited studies have been conducted that address the pharmacological interactions of dietary supplements. To avoid possible bleeding risks during surgery, information about the potential complications of dietary supplements during perioperative management is important for physicians. Methods: Through a systematic database search of all available years, articles were identified in this review if they included dietary supplements and coagulation/platelet function, while special attention was paid to studies published after 1990. Results: Safety concerns are reported in commercially available dietary supplements. Effects of the most commonly used natural products on blood coagulation and platelet function are systematically reviewed, including 11 herbal medicines (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, ginseng, green tea, kava, saw palmetto, St John’s wort, and valerian) and four other dietary supplements (coenzyme Q10, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, fish oil, and vitamins). Bleeding risks of garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, green tea, saw palmetto, St John’s wort, and fish oil are reported. Cardiovascular instability was observed with ephedra, ginseng, and kava. Pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic interactions between dietary supplements and drugs used in the perioperative period are discussed. Conclusions: To prevent potential problems associated with the use of dietary supplements, physicians should be familiar with the perioperative effects of commonly used dietary supplements. Since the effects of dietary supplements on coagulation and platelet function are difficult to predict, it is prudent to advise their discontinuation before surgery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Herbal Medicines and Natural Products)
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Review
Sulforaphane (SFN): An Isothiocyanate in a Cancer Chemoprevention Paradigm
by Mohammad Fahad Ullah
Medicines 2015, 2(3), 141-156; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines2030141 - 17 Jul 2015
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 14633
Abstract
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in its latest World Cancer Report (2014) has projected the increase in the global cancer burden from 14 million (2012) to 22 million incidence annually within the next two decades. Such statistics warrant a collaborative [...] Read more.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in its latest World Cancer Report (2014) has projected the increase in the global cancer burden from 14 million (2012) to 22 million incidence annually within the next two decades. Such statistics warrant a collaborative engagement of conventional and complementary and alternative therapies to contain and manage cancer. In recent years, there has been a shift in the cancer chemoprevention paradigm with a significant focus turning towards bioactive components of human diets for their anticancer properties. Since diet is an integral part of lifestyle and given that an estimated one third of human cancers are believed to be preventable though appropriate lifestyle modification including dietary habits, the current shift in the conventional paradigm assumes significance. Several epidemiological studies have indicated that consumption of broccoli is associated with a lower risk of cancer incidence including breast, prostate, lung, stomach and colon cancer. The edible plant belonging to the family of cruciferae such as broccoli is a rich source of glucoraphanin, a precursor of isothiocyanate sulforaphane which is considered to be a potent anti-cancer agent. Plant-based dietary agents such as sulforaphane mimic chemotherapeutic drugs such as vorinostat, possessing histone deacetylase inhibition activity. Evidence from epidemiological and experimental studies have emerged, enhancing the clinical plausibility and translational value of sulforaphane in cancer chemoprevention. The present review provides the current understanding of the cancer chemopreventive pharmacology of sulforaphane towards its potential as an anticancer agent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Herbal Medicines and Natural Products)
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Review
Natural Product and Natural Product-Derived Gamma Secretase Modulators from Actaea Racemosa Extracts
by Mark A. Findeis, Frank C. Schroeder, Steffen P. Creaser, Timothy D. McKee and Weiming Xia
Medicines 2015, 2(3), 127-140; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicines2030127 - 30 Jun 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5625
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by pathogenic oligomerization, aggregation, and deposition of amyloid beta peptide (Aβ), resulting in severe neuronal toxicity and associated cognitive dysfunction. In particular, increases in the absolute or relative level of the major long form of Aβ, Aβ42, are associated [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by pathogenic oligomerization, aggregation, and deposition of amyloid beta peptide (Aβ), resulting in severe neuronal toxicity and associated cognitive dysfunction. In particular, increases in the absolute or relative level of the major long form of Aβ, Aβ42, are associated with increased cellular toxicity and rapidity of disease progression. As a result of this observation, screening to identify potential drugs to reduce the level of Aβ42 have been undertaken by way of modulating the proteolytic activity of the gamma secretase complex without compromising its action on other essential substrates such as Notch. In this review we summarize results from a program that sought to develop such gamma secretase modulators based on novel natural products identified in the extract of Actaea racemosa, the well-known botanical black cohosh. Following isolation of compound 1 (SPI-014), an extensive medicinal chemistry effort was undertaken to define the SAR of 1 and related semisynthetic compounds. Major metabolic and physicochemical liabilities in 1 were overcome including replacement of both the sugar and acetate moieties with more stable alternatives that improved drug-like properties and resulted in development candidate 25 (SPI-1865). Unanticipated off-target adrenal toxicity, however, precluded advancement of this series of compounds into clinical development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Herbal Medicines and Natural Products)
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