Herbal Medicines: from Traditional Medicine to Modern Experimental Approaches
AbstractAcademic writings indicate that the medicinal use of plants dates back to 4000 - 5000 B.C. (1). Utilization of medicinal herbs has indeed a long history not only in human's life, but also in animals and there are some interesting evidences about the animals' self-medication, in both the prevention and treatment of diseases (2-5). The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the importance of traditional medicines and created strategies, guidelines and standards for botanical medicines (6, 7). A significant part of those traditional text dealing with medicine, which were appreciated by ancient scientific communities worldwide, such as The Canon of Medicine by Persian physician–philosopher Ibn Sina (or Avicenna, 980 to 1032 AD), is allocated to herbal medicines. The Canon explores nearly 500 medicinal plants and herbal drugs. It should be noted that this book was used as a medical textbook in Europe until the 17th century AD (8, 9).Although there are important evidences about using some kinds of experimental approaches in traditional medicine (8), the efficacy of such approaches is in doubt because it is generally agreed that they might have been part of physicians' personal experiences.Not only the demand for herbal drugs is growing in developing countries, but also there are some evidences that consumers in developed countries are becoming disillusioned with modern healthcare; hence, the demand for traditional alternatives including herbal medicines is increasing in developing countries (10).On the one hand, the increased interest in herbal medicines throughout the world (10, 11), on the other hand, the need for direct empirical evidence about the effectiveness of herbal medicines in the proper statistical society with the appropriate number and method, denote the significance of new studies about medicinal plants and publishing their results.Herbal Medicines Journal (eISSN: 2538-2144) reports valuable research results for researchers all over the world about the effectiveness of herbal medicines in a variety of in-vitro, in-vivo and clinical trial models. A more precise and efficient evaluation of approved commercial herbal medicines in different diseases is also a priority for the journal. The chemical composition analysis of the herbal essential oils or extracts, although not mandatory in all cases, is recommended to be considered alongside the study of the effectiveness of plants. Review articles, concluding the efficacy of specific plants or a variety of efficient plants on a special disease, in particular, are considered by the editorial board and editor. Historical papers about medicinal plants in traditional medicine textbooks and studies about the chemical composition of some important plants may be considered for publication in some cases. Letters to the editor, when containing paramount information useful for the target population, are especially appreciated. Journal officials look forward to valuable articles of professors, researchers, and students about medicinal plants and herbal drugs.
Sirkar NN. Pharmacological basis of Ayurvedic therapeutics. In: Cultivation and utilization of medicinal plants. Editors: Atal CK and Kapoor BM (Published by PID CSIR) 1989.
de Roode JC, Lefèvre T, Hunter MD. Self-medication in animals. Science. 2013;340(6129):150-1
Abbott J. Self medication in insects: current evidence and future perspectives. Ecologic Entomol. 2014;39(3):273-80.
Huffman MA, Nakagawa N, Go Y, Imai H, Tomonaga M. Primate self-medication and the treatment of parasite infection. InMonkeys, Apes, and Humans 2013 (pp. 13-23). Springer Japan.
Shurkin J. News Feature: Animals that self-medicate.
World Health Organization. Research guidelines for evaluating the safety and efficacy of herbal medicines. Manila: WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific; 1993.
World Health Organization. WHO traditional medicine strategy 2014–2023. 2013. Geneva: World Health Organization. 2015.
Sharafkandi A. [Translator], The Persian translation of Qanoun fi al-Tibb (or the Canon of Medicine). Tehran: Soroush Press; 1987.
Zargaran A, Mehdizadeh A, Zarshenas MM, Mohagheghzadeh A. Avicenna (980– 1037 AD). J Neurol 2012;259(2):389–90
Abdel-Azim NS, Shams KA, Shahat AA, El Missiry MM, Ismail SI, Hammouda FM. Egyptian herbal drug industry: challenges and future prospects. Res J Med Plant. 2011;5:136-44.
Vasisht K, Sharma N, Karan M. Current Perspective in the International Trade of Medicinal Plants Material: an Update. Current pharmaceutical design. 2016;22(27):4288-336.
Submission of a manuscript implies: that the work described has not been published before; that it is not under consideration for publication anywhere else; that its publication has been approved by all co-authors, if any, as well as by the responsible authorities – tacitly or explicitly – at the institute where the work has been carried out. The publisher will not be held legally responsible should there be any claims for compensation. Authors wishing to include figures, tables, or text passages that have already been published elsewhere are required to obtain permission from the copyright owner(s) for both the print and online format and to include evidence that such permission has been granted when submitting their papers. Any material received without such evidence will be assumed to originate from the authors.
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY). However, the license permits any user to read, copy, redistribute and and make derivative the material in any medium or format for any purpose, even commercially.