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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 458274, 2 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/458274
Editorial

Medicinal Plants in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Diseases

1Moulay Ismail Unversity, BP 21, Errachidia 52000, Morocco
2ICMR Virus Unit, Division of Ethnomedicine, ID & BG Hospital, General Block 4, 57 Dr. Suresh C Banerjee Road, Kolkata 700 010, India
3Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche e Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Via Ponte don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano, Italy
4Department of Clinical Oncology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Received 25 June 2012; Accepted 25 June 2012

Copyright © 2012 Mohamed Eddouks et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since the dawn of human civilization, human beings have found remedies within their habitat and have adopted different therapeutic strategies depending upon climatic, phytogeographic, sociocultural, floral, and faunal characteristics. Traditional systems thus contain beliefs and practices in order to avoid, prevent, or avert ailments, which constitute traditional preventive medicine. The use of medicinal herbs and herbal medicine is an age-old tradition and the recent progress in modern therapeutics has stimulated the use of natural product worldwide for diverse ailments and diseases. The educated public and health care professionals have enormous interests in the medicinal uses of herbs, but there is a great deal of confusion about their identification, effectiveness, therapeutic dosage, toxicity, standardization, and regulation. According to WHO, traditional medicine is popular in all regions of the world and its use is rapidly expanding even in developed countries. For example, in China, traditional herbal preparations account for 30–50% of the total medicinal consumption and now the annual global market for herbal medicine is over 60 billion USD. Thus, Western trained physicians should not ignore the impact of traditional medicine on their patients.

This special issue on medicinal plants in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases is an attempt to summarize the current knowledge of promising traditional medicines and their phytophores to compounds tested against diverse chronic diseases. The therapeutic properties and structure activity relationship of some important and potentially useful phytoformulations are addressed with a focus on how these age-old wisdom can led to the development of useful therapeutics lead for preclinical or clinical evaluation. Manuscripts in this special issue covered several aspects of recent developments in the fields of (1) natural substances as lead compounds in chronic and degenerative diseases research, (2) natural products involved in the prevention of chronic diseases, (3) herbal pharmacotherapy and phytochemical studies, (4) role of functional foods and nutraceuticals in chronic diseases, and (5) studies involving toxicology and pharmacological and toxicological mechanisms of action of medicinal plants used in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases. In-depth information prepared by experts from diverse fields provide the use of diverse medicinal herbs and their active components as antioxidants, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, antiatherosclerosis, gastroprotective, analgesic, anticancer, antidepressant, antiasthma, antiobesity, antiatherosclerosis, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory agents and as immunomodulators, along with their safety issues and toxic effects.

In the coming days, more issues of eCAM will be released to offer researchers working on diverse aspects of medicinal plants with a complete coverage of ethnology, pharmacology, toxicology, and medicinal properties. This special issue will provide essential materials to those who are working in the fields of traditional systems of medicine and drug industry. It is the outcome of our research involvement for the last two decades with the subject and consultations among biomedical scientists and clinicians. Our group of four coeditors active in phytotherapy research in three continents has been very pleased to receive a substantial feedback of 59 submissions to this special issue.

Acknowledgments

We are immensely grateful to those colleagues for their support in developing the concept. Our special thanks and gratitude go to the Editorial Board of eCAM for not only inviting us to edit this special issue, but for their constant help, suggestions and guidance. With great pleasure and respect, we extend our sincerest thanks and indebtedness to all the contributors for their timely responses, excellent updated contributions, and consistent cooperation as well as patience. We would like to express our deep gratitude to all the scientific colleagues who help immensely by providing their valuable time to review these manuscripts. All the credit to develop this issue goes to all its contributors and the editorial team.

Mohamed Eddouks
Debprasad Chattopadhyay
Vincenzo De Feo
William C. Cho