Ethnobotany and herbal medicine in modern complementary and alternative medicine: An overview of publications in the field of I&C medicine 2001–2013
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© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
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Ethnopharmacological relevance Ethnobotanical knowledge and traditional medicinal practices from different parts of the world are of global importance and documentation of ethnobotanical, and ethnopharmacological data is a key prerequisite for further research in the area of herbal medicine and its implementation in clinical practice. Aims An attempt was made to evaluate the scientific output of research related to ethnobotany and herbal medicine in journals indexed in the subject area “Integrative and Complementary Medicine” in the period 2001–2013, in order to ascertain research trends in both subdisciplines. Materials and methods All articles related to ethnobotany and herbal medicine, extracted from journals included in the field of I&C Medicine and published in the period 2001–2013, have been analyzed for general bibliometric data, and specific data: ethnobotanical data (geographic, floristic, pharmacological, sociological and other relevant data) and phytotherapeutic data (type of applied herbal medicine, plant species studied, pharmacological activity of studied plant species and disease and disorder type studied on a particular model). Results In the studied period, the number of articles dealing with ethnobotany and herbal medicine increased 6.3-fold. Articles related to ethnobotanical studies documented medicinal flora from 81 countries, either giving an overview of overall medicinal flora, or presenting the ethnomedicinal aspect of the use of plants for the treatment of ailments typical to the studied area. Additionally, the authors provided significant information on the methods of use and herbal preparations. In herbal medicine studies, plants, traditional plant remedies, herbal medicinal products and active herbal compounds were tested for many of pharmacological activities (146), with the curative activity emerging as most frequently tested. Out of 39 model systems, most of the studies were carried out under controlled in vitro conditions (4589 articles), followed by rat in vivo (2320), human in vivo (1285), mouse in vivo (955), and on agents of pathogenic diseases (887); more than 800 medical disorders were treated. Conclusions The study revealed the regions most studied for new records of floristic and ethnomedicinal diversity, the most frequently studied plant species, and the most promising therapeutic indications for the integration of herbal remedies in the curative process, as ascertained from the selected bibliographic databases.