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Medicinal Plants for the Prevention and Treatment of Bacterial Infections

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Infectious diseases are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, accounting for approximately 50% of all deaths in tropical countries and as much as 20% of deaths in the Americas. Despite the significant progress made in microbiology and the control of microorganisms, sporadic incidents of epidemics due to drug resistant microorganisms and hitherto unknown disease-causing microbes pose an enormous threat to public health. These negative health trends call for a global initiative for the development of new strategies for the prevention and treatment of infectious disease. For over 100 years chemical compounds isolated from medicinal plants have served as the models for many clinically proven drugs, and are now being re-assessed as antimicrobial agents. The reasons for this renaissance include a reduction in the new antibacterial drugs in the pharmaceutical pipeline, an increase in antimicrobial resistance, and the need of treatments for new emerging pathogens. Literally thousands of plant species have been tested against hundreds of bacterial strains in vitro and many medicinal plants are active against a wide range of gram positive and gram negative bacteria. However, very few of these medicinal plant extracts have been tested in animal or human studies to determine safety and efficacy. This review focuses on the medicinal plants and bacteria for which there is significant published in vitro, in vivo and clinical data available. The examples provided in this review indicate that medicinal plants offer significant potential for the development of novel antibacterial therapies and adjunct treatments (i.e. MDR pump inhibitors).
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Keywords: antiadhesive; antibacterial; botanicals; infectious disease; medicinal plants; multidrug resistant pumps; traditional medicine

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: NIH Botanical Center for Dietary Supplements, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 833 S. Wood St, MC 877, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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  • Current Pharmaceutical Design publishes timely in-depth reviews covering all aspects of current research in rational drug design. Each issue is devoted to a single major therapeutic area. A Guest Editor who is an acknowledged authority in a therapeutic field has solicits for each issue comprehensive and timely reviews from leading researchers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

    Each thematic issue of Current Pharmaceutical Design covers all subject areas of major importance to modern drug design, including: medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, drug targets and disease mechanism.
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