Claims of benefits of aromatherapy for cancer patients include reduced anxiety levels and relief of emotional stress, pain, muscular tension and fatigue. The objective of this paper is to provide an updated descriptive, systematic review of evidence from pre-clinical and clinical trials assessing the benefits and safety of aromatherapy for cancer patients. Literature databases such as Medline (via Ovid), the Cochrane database of systematic reviews, Cochrane Central were searched from their inception until October 2010. Only studies on cancer cells or cancer patients were included. There is no long lasting effect of aromatherapy massage, while short term improvements were reported for general well being, anxiety and depression up to 8 weeks after treatment. The reviewed studies indicate short-term effects of aromatherapy on depression, anxiety and overall wellbeing. Specifically, some clinical trials found an increase in patient-identified symptom relief, psychological wellbeing and improved sleep. Furthermore, some found a short-term improvement (up to 2 weeks after treatment) in anxiety and depression scores and better pain control. Although essential oils have generally shown minimal adverse effects, potential risks include ingesting large amounts (intentional misuse); local skin irritation, especially with prolonged skin contact; allergic contact dermatitis; and phototoxicity from reaction to sunlight (some oils). Repeated topical administration of lavender and tea tree oil was associated with reversible prepubertal gynecomastia.
aromatherapy; essential oil; massage; cancer; review
Hepatic fibrosis, as a major medical problem, is characterized with significant morbidity and mortality. Acupuncture has potential advantages in treating hepatic fibrosis as acupuncture functions well to reduce Qi and Blood stagnation, resolve stasis and enhance body immunity, which are important factors in treating hepatic fibrosis. The aim of this review was to appraise the current limited evidence of acupuncture in treating hepatic fibrosis from both animal experiments and clinical trials by using both Chinese and western databases and to provide recommendations for future studies.
Acupuncture; hepatic fibrosis; review
Obesity results from prolonged positive imbalance between energy in take and expenditure. When food intake chronically exceeds the body's energy need, an efficient metabolism results in the storage of the excess energy as fat. Mitochondria are the main centre for energy production in eukaryotic cells. Mitochondrial proton cycling is responsible for a significant proportion of basal or standard metabolic rate, therefore, further uncoupling of mitochondria may be a good way to increase energy expenditure and hence represent a good pharmacological target for the treatment of obesity. This implies that, any chemical agent or photochemical compound that further uncouples the mitochondria in vivo without having any effect on mitochondria activity could be a potential target in finding treatment for obesity. In the past, uncoupling by 2, 4-dinitrophenol has been used this way with notable success. This paper discusses the mitochondria as targets in the discovery of potential plant natural anti-obesity products from Africa's rich rainforests.
Uncoupling; Mitochondria; Pharmacology; Medicinal Plants; Obesity
Compound Kushen Injection (CKI) is Sophora Flavescens and Heterosmilacis Japonicae extract. Meta-analysis confirmed that CKI plus transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) is more superior to TACE alone for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (UHCC) patients.
Compound Kushen Injection; Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization; TACE; hepatocellular carcinoma
Free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been implicated in contributing to the processes of aging and disease. In an effort to combat free radical activity, scientists are studying the effects of increasing individuals' antioxidant levels through diet and dietary supplements. Honey appears to act as an antioxidant in more ways than one. In the body, honey can mop up free radicals and contribute to better health. Various antioxidant activity methods have been used to measure and compare the antioxidant activity of honey. In recent years, DPPH (Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl), FRAP (Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power), ORAC (The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), ABTS [2, 2-azinobis (3ehtylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diamonium salt], TEAC [6-hydroxy-2, 5, 7, 8-tetramethylchroman-2-carboxylic acid (Trolox)-equivalent antioxidant capacity] assays have been used to evaluate antioxidant activity of honey. The antioxidant activity of honey is also measured by ascorbic acid content and different enzyme assays like Catalase (CAT), Glutathione Peroxidase (GPO), Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). Among the different methods available, methods that have been validated, standardized and widely reported are recommended.
Honey; antioxidant properties; DPPH; FRAP; ORAC; TEAC; ABTS
The regulation and registration of traditional medicines (TM) continues to present challenges to many countries regardless of the fact that an increased number of the population utilises TM for their health care needs. There have been improvements in the legal and policy framework of South Africa based on the WHO guidelines. However, there are currently no guidelines or framework for the registration of TM in South Africa. This article reviews literature and existing guidelines of specific countries and regions and makes recommendations for South African guidelines.
Regulation; Registration; Traditional Medicines; South Africa
Snakebite has been a major cause of mortality across the tropical countries including Indian subcontinent. The present review deals with the enormous amount of ethnobotanical work performed in the last few years involving use of different plants against snakebite in Indian subcontinent (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal). From a variety of literature sources the data has been compiled mentioning the plants, parts used, dosage, mode of administration, name of the ethnic communities, geographical locations etc. depending on the availability of information.
Ethnobotany; snakebite; subcontinent; review
Traditional medicine refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being. In the last decade traditional medicine has become very popular in Cameroon, partly due to the long unsustainable economic situation in the country. The high cost of drugs and increase in drug resistance to common diseases like malaria, bacteria infections and other sexually transmitted diseases has caused the therapeutic approach to alternative traditional medicine as an option for concerted search for new chemical entities (NCE). The World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration with the Cameroon Government has put in place a strategic platform for the practice and development of TM in Cameroon. This platform aims at harmonizing the traditional medicine practice in the country, create a synergy between TM and modern medicine and to institutionalize a more harmonized integrated TM practices by the year 2012 in Cameroon. An overview of the practice of TM past, present and future perspectives that underpins the role in sustainable poverty alleviation has been discussed. This study gives an insight into the strategic plan and road map set up by the Government of Cameroon for the organisational framework and research platform for the practice and development of TM, and the global partnership involving the management of TM in the country.
Tradttional medicine; Cameroon
Chinese herbal drugs have been proved to be effective agents in myocardial protection by preventing ischemia-reperfusion injury. The underlying mechanisms as to how these agents work were however poorly elucidated. Studies on the monomers or on the single drugs have highlighted the possible rationales, leading to a better understanding of the pharmaceutical effects of the active parts of the herbs. These agents have been found to be structure-sensitive while they play the role of a protective ingredient. Polysaccharides of Chinese herbal medicine have pharmaceutical effects in immune modulation, anti-inflammation, anti-virus, anti-tumor, anti-aging mechanisms, with an anti-oxidative effect being a commonly recognized mechanism. Saponins are prone to alleviate calcium overload. As bioflavonoids commonly contain active phenolic hydroxy group, they have good anti-oxidant property. Those containing effective lignanoids and essential oils can result in a reduced nitric oxide secretion of the endothelial cells and an increased intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression. Alkaloids may resist free radical injuries. Most importantly, modern in-depth research revealed that myocardial infarction is typically associated with apoptosis, and herbal medicine containing carbohydrates and glycosides showed cardioprotective effects by way of inhibiting apoptosis of myocytes. As a supplement to cardioplegia, some Chinese herbal drugs have become especially valuable in myocardial protection in open heart surgery by preserving metabolic energy. In conclusion, the classification of Chinese herbal medicine made according to their main active ingredients has facilitated the expression of their functioning mechanisms. Chinese herbal drugs play an important role in cardioprotection via many different mechanisms, the most recent and important finding being the inhibition of apoptosis.
apoptosis; Chinese herbal drugs; myocardial ischemias
Natural products from medicinal plants, either as pure compounds or as standardized extracts, provide unlimited opportunities for new drug leads because of the unmatched availability of chemical diversity. Due to an increasing demand for chemical diversity in screening programs, seeking therapeutic drugs from natural products, interest particularly in edible plants has grown throughout the world. Botanicals and herbal preparations for medicinal usage contain various types of bioactive compounds. The focus of this paper is on the analytical methodologies, which include the extraction, isolation and characterization of active ingredients in botanicals and herbal preparations. The common problems and key challenges in the extraction, isolation and characterization of active ingredients in botanicals and herbal preparations are discussed. As extraction is the most important step in the analysis of constituents present in botanicals and herbal preparations, the strengths and weaknesses of different extraction techniques are discussed. The analysis of bioactive compounds present in the plant extracts involving the applications of common phytochemical screening assays, chromatographic techniques such as HPLC and, TLC as well as non-chromatographic techniques such as immunoassay and Fourier Transform Infra Red (FTIR) are discussed.
Bioactive compound; Plant Extraction; Isolation; Herbal preparations; Natural products
In Ayurvedic therapeutics, drug therapy is given prime importance. There is a very well developed sub-discipline entirely devoted to drug formulations known as “Bhaisajya Kalpanaa”. Considering its importance, different aspects of this discipline have been presented in this review to familiarize the readers, especially those who have just started studying Ayurveda, with concept of ayurvedic pharmaceutics. The Ayurvedic drug formulation is based on what is known as “Pancavidha Kasaaya” concept. According to this concept there are five basic forms of formulation known as 1-‘Swarasa’ the expressed juice, 2-‘Kalka’, a fine paste obtained by grinding fresh or wet grinding dried plant material 3- ‘Kwaatha’, the decoction, 4- ‘Sheeta’ or ‘Hima’, the cold water infusion and 5- ‘Faanta’, the hot water infusion. Different aspects of their preparation and use have been discussed. Further from the above basic forms, a number of other formulations are derived; a brief description of each of them has been given along with brief outlines of drug formulations meant for specific routes. The third part of the review is devoted to discussion of influence of different factors on the expression of pharmacological activity.
Ayurvedic pharmaceutics; Bhaisajya Kalpanaa; Pancavidha Kasaaya; Ayurvedic formulations Traditional systems of medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has significant advantages in treating gynaecological disorders. The paper has provided a brief introduction on the current progress of treating some gynaecological disorders including endometriosis, infertility, dysmenorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding, premenstrual syndrome, menopausal syndrome, uterine fibroids, chronic pelvic inflammation, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), cervicitis and vaginitis with Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) and acupuncture. The use of TCM in the field of assisted reproductive techniques (ART) has also been included in the review. In addition, thirty-two commonly used Chinese medicinal formulas in treating gynaecological disorders have been introduced.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM); acupuncture; gynaecological disorders; review
The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of published and unpublished research investigating the prevalence of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TMCAM) use in the general population. Results found that use of a traditional and/or faith healer seemed to have decreased over the past 13 years (from a range of 3.6–12.7% to 0.1%). The prevalence of traditional male circumcision was found to be 24.8% generally and 31.9% among the African Black racial group. The range of use of alternative and complementary medicine was from 0% to 2.2%. Local utilization surveys of TMCAM for the last illness episode or in the past year showed a variation in use of 6.1% to 38.5%. The prevalence of conditions treated at different TMCAM out-patients settings ranged from chronic conditions, complex of supernatural or psychosocial problems, mental illness, chronic conditions, acute conditions, generalized pain, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. TM and probably CAM is used by substantial proportions of the general population, but differences in study design and methodological limitations make it difficult to compare prevalence estimates.
Utilization; prevalence; traditional medicine; complementary medicine; alternative medicine; South Africa
Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the most common malignant tumors worldwide. For the difficulty of the giving sufficient dose because of the poor liver function and the low sensitivity of hepatoma cells for the chemotherapeutic agents, chemotherapy adds little to overall survival of hepatocellular carcinoma patients. The induction of terminal differentiation in tumor cells represents a possible therapeutic strategy with less toxicity. Gekko sulfated polysaccharides, isoverbascoside, Ginsenoside-Rh2, Camptothecin, 9-nitro-camptothecin, tachyplesin, Matrine, tylophorine, 7-OH-4-CH (3)- coumarin and arsenic trioxide are known to have a differentiation-inducing capability on hepatocellular carcinoma in vitro and/or in vivo. Although the therapeutic effect of the differentiation-inducing agents may not be potent when compared with that of conventional chemotherapeutic agents, they have multiple therapeutic targets, low toxicity and less probability of drug resistance. More data are required on the molecular mechanisms of therapeutic effects, dose response and potential toxicities.
Differentiation; hepatocellular carcinoma; herb
Malaria remains one of the leading public health problems in Cameroon as in other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past decades, this situation has been aggravated by the increasing spread of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum strains. New antimalarial drug leads are therefore urgently needed. Traditional healers have long used plants to prevent or cure infections. This article reviews the current status of botanical screening efforts in Cameroon as well as experimental studies done on antimalarial plants. Data collected from 54 references from various research groups in the literature up to June 2007 shows that 217 different species have been cited for their use as antimalarials in folk medicine in Cameroon. About a hundred phytochemicals have been isolated from 26 species some among which are potential leads for development of new antiamalarials. Crude extracts and or essential oils prepared from 54 other species showed a wide range of activity on Plasmodium spp. Moreover, some 137 plants from 48 families that are employed by traditional healers remain uninvestigated for their presumed antimalarial properties. The present study shows that Cameroonian flora represents a high potential for new antimalarial compounds. Further ethnobotanical surveys and laboratory investigations are needed to fully exploit the potential of the identified species in the control of malaria.
The use of natural medicinal products in modern medicine as complementary and alternative therapies is of the increase globally. More so in developing and third world countries where the cost of research and development of synthetic drugs is prohibitive and technological facilities as well as expertise are lacking. These, coupled with the crumbling health care management systems in many of such countries make herbal medicines attractive alternatives. The potential medicinal values of these plant products are not being properly harnessed and research and development (R&D) in this area are lagging behind. R&D and consultancy services span from phytochemical analysis, standardization and quality control of herbs, and dosage forms design to preclinical and clinical trials. This paper tries to highlight all the necessary steps needed to conduct research and development in this area and proposes the nitty - gritty needed to impose statutory regulations on ensuring the quality, safety, efficacy, and commercial distribution of such products. The paper examines these important issues and highlights by way of examples, some of the steps taken and the positive achievements of the people and government of Malaysia towards self reliance in the area of natural medicinal plant research. It is primarily intended to map out strategies on how Nigeria in conjunction with research and academic institutions can be actively involved in natural products R&D, taking the Malaysian experience as a prototype. It is also aimed at urging government's efforts to encourage research in this area and impose regulations for commercial production and distribution of such products.
research; development; commercialization; natural medicinal products; Nigeria
Diabetes mellitus is a global metabolic epidemic affecting essential biochemical activities in almost every age group. Indian literatures like Ayurveda have already mentioned herbal remediation for a number of human ailments. Among Indian traditional medicinal plants several potential anti-diabetic plants and herbs are being used as part of our diet since prehistoric time. India has a long list of native medicinal plants with confirmed blood sugar lowering property. Some of these have proved remarkable for cure of diabetes and its complications. The current paper is aimed at providing a review on clinical and experimental studies carried out on the most effective and commonly used hypoglycemic plants and herbs species from traditional Indian flora. This write-up includes hypoglycemic and anti-hyperglycemic activities of plants, active hypoglycemic compounds and constituents along with their available toxicity status.
Ayurveda; Anti-diabetic; Hypoglycemia; India; Traditional herbs
In the context of evolving intellectual property law, defining ownership of traditional knowledge can be challenging when claims of origin are conflicting and requires accepting parameters of how uniqueness is defined and patent law is applied to protect this information. For purposes of this paper, the complexities of evolving benefit sharing for custodians of traditional knowledge are discussed in relationship to the use of medicinal plants. Parameters of ownership can vary not only by the perception of individuals that lay claim to the information but also by international, regional and national laws that govern how benefits should be fairly appropriated. Examples are provided to exemplify the wide variation that presently exists in this evolving process with illustrations of how this information, novel or otherwise, can be utilized to optimize its commercial worth.
Ethnobotany; traditional knowledge; trade marks; patents
Medicinal plants based traditional systems of medicines are playing important role in providing health care to large section of population, especially in developing countries. Interest in them and utilization of herbal products produced based on them is increasing in developed countries also. To obtain optimum benefit and to understand the way these systems function, it is necessary to have minimum basic level information on their different aspects. Indian Systems of Medicine are among the well known global traditional systems of medicine. In this review, an attempt has been made to provide general information pertaining to different aspects of these systems. This is being done to enable the readers to appreciate the importance of the conceptual basis of these system in evolving the material medica. The aspects covered include information about historical background, conceptual basis, different disciplines studied in the systems, Research and Development aspects, Drug manufacturing aspects and impact of globalization on Ayurveda. In addition, basic information on Siddha and Unani systems has also been provided.
Indian System of Medicine; Ayurveda; Unani; Siddha; Indigenous systems of medicine; Traditional systems of medicine
Tetrapleura tetraptera (Schumach. And Thonn) Taub, Mimosaceae, commonly known as Aridan (fruit), A single stemmed, robust, perennial tree of about 30m. It has a grey/brown, smooth/rough bark with glabrous yound branchlets. The flower is yellow/pink and racemes white the fruit has dark brown, four winged pods 12–25 x 3.5–6.5cm. It is generally found in the lowland forest of tropical Africa. The fruit consists of a fleshy pulp with small, brownish-black seeds. The fruit possesses a fragrants, characteristically pungent aromatic odour, which is attributed to its insect repellent property. It is used as spices and aroma (exotic tropical scents) and fish poisoning. It is one of the molluscicidal medicinal plants of Nigeria, also useful in the management of convulsions, leprosy, inflammation and/or rheumatoid pains. The documented biological and-or pharmacological activities are found to be molluscicidal, cardio-vascular, neuromuscular, hypotensive, anti-convulsant, molluscicidal, trypanocidal, hirudinicidal, schistomiasis control, anti-ulcerative, ectoxicity, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic, anti-microbial, emulsifying property, birth control, food value and the control of intestinal parasites. Activity-guided fractionation of the methanol extract of the fruits of T. Tetraptera led to the isolation of a saponin glycoside with an oleanolic acid aglycone, a monodesmosidic diglycoside of the rare sapogenin 27-hydroxyolean-12 (13)-en-28-oic acid; echinocystic acid-3-0-sodium sulfate from the stembark, umbelliferone and ferulic acid from the leaves and branches respectively. Also isolated from the fruits were aridanin and three of its olean-12-en-28-oic acid derivatives. All the compounds isolated either from the fruits or other parts were found to exhibit strong molluscicidal properties against the schistosomiasis-transmitting snails Biomphalaria glabrata.
Molluscicidal; Schistosomiasis; Mimosaceae; Tetrapleura tetraptera; aridan; aridanin