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Are Plant Extracts a Potential Therapeutic Approach for Genital Infections?

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More than 40% of the new drugs registered from 1981 to 2006 were obtained, derived or inspired from natural compounds. The influence of natural products in the anti-infective area is quite marked, being a great percentage of drugs derived or extracted from natural products. Vaginal infections are one of the most common reasons a women visits a gynecologist. Given the high popularity of natural therapies among women who suffer from chronic infections, it is urgent for women’s healthcare providers to be knowledgeable about such therapies. Additionally, many phytotherapeutic products have been suggested as natural sources of antimicrobial compounds. The increased resistance to conventional antibiotics is one of the main factors justifying the search and development of new antimicrobial agents, especially those of natural origin. Currently, phytochemicals are considered by the scientific community as very attractive targets for potential drug discovery and therapy. In this review, we will focus on the most relevant reports published during the last twenty years about the antimicrobial activity of plant extracts upon microorganisms most frequently involved in genital infections, such as Candida spp., Gardnerella vaginalis, Trichomonas vaginalis and Human papillomavirus. The relationship between their composition and the antimicrobial effects will be highlighted and vaginal therapeutic delivery systems that vehicle plant extracts both commercialized and under investigation will be included.
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Keywords: Antimicrobial activity; delivery systems; essential oils; genital infections; natural compounds; plant extracts

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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