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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 3 (2006), Issue 4, Pages 433-439
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nel058
Review

Safety of Traditional Arab Herbal Medicine

1The Galilee Society R&D Center (Affiliated with Haifa University Haifa, Israel), PO Box 437, Shefa-Amr 20200, Israel
2Faculty of Allied Medical Sciences, Arab American University, Jenin, PO Box 240, Jenin, Palestine

Received 26 February 2006; Accepted 4 August 2006

Copyright © 2006 Bashar Saad 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.

Abstract

Herbal remedies are widely used for the treatment and prevention of various diseases and often contain highly active pharmacological compounds. Many medicinal herbs and pharmaceutical drugs are therapeutic at one dose and toxic at another. Toxicity related to traditional medicines is becoming more widely recognized as these remedies become popular in the Mediterranean region as well as worldwide. Most reports concerning the toxic effects of herbal medicines are associated with hepatotoxicity although reports of other toxic effects including kidney, nervous system, blood, cardiovascular and dermatologic effects, mutagenicity and carcinogenicity have also been published in the medical literature. This article presents a systematic review on safety of traditional Arab medicine and the contribution of Arab scholars to toxicology. Use of modern cell biological, biochemical, in vitro and in vivo techniques for the evaluation of medicinal plants safety is also discussed.