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Plant-Derived Products as Antibacterial and Antifungal Agents in Human Health Care

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A number of papers reporting antimicrobial properties of extracts, essential oils, resins and various classes of compounds isolated from higher plants have been published in recent years; however, a comprehensive analysis of plant-derived antimicrobial agents currently applied in practice for the improvement of human health is still lacking. This review summarizes data on clinical efficacy, antimicrobial effects and the chemistry of commercially available antibacterial and antifungal agents of plant origin currently used in the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal, oral, respiratory, skin, and urinary infections. As a result of an analysis of the literature, more than 40 plant-derived over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, cosmetics, herbal medicines, and functional foods containing complex mixtures (e.g. Glycyrrhiza glabra extract, Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil, and Pistacia lentiscus resin), pure compounds (e.g. benzoic acid, berberine, eucalyptol, salicylic acid and thymol) as well as their derivatives and complexes (e.g. bismuth subsalicylate and zinc pyrithione) have been identified. The effectiveness of many of these products is illustrated by results of clinical trials and supported by data on there in vitro antimicrobial activity. A broad spectrum of various commercial products currently available on the market and their welldocumented clinical efficacy suggests that plants are prospective sources for the identification of new types of antimicrobial agents in future. Innovative approaches and methodologies for effective proof-of-concept research and the development of new types of plant-derived products effective against recently emerging problems related to human microbial diseases (e.g. antimicrobial resistance) are also proposed in this review.

Keywords: Plant; antibacterial; antifungal; commercial products; compound; essential oil; extract

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: September 1, 2019

This article was made available online on October 17, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Plant-Derived Products as Antibacterial and Antifungal Agents in Human Health Care".

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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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