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Herbal Medicine as an Alternative Treatment in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

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Background: This review focuses on the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines in the management of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in humans and animals.

Method: PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Science Direct databases were searched up to October 30, 2016. The key terms used were “ASD”, “Asperger”, “autism”, “healing plants”, “herbal medicine”, and “medicinal plants”. In each database, the searches consisted of each of three key terms describing the disorder and subtypes plus each of the terms describing the therapy. All human and animal studies on the effects of herbs with the key outcome of change in autism symptoms were included. In vitro studies were excluded.

Results: From the publications perused in the initial database, 3157 results were identified, reviewed and a total of 23 studies were included. Preclinical studies using critically validated models were conducted, with some promising preliminary results. Data availability on controlled clinical studies is currently very limited. The use of different methodologies and the very small number of patients raise doubts about the effects of these preparations.

Conclusion: Available data do not yet allow us to suggest the effectiveness of herbal medicines as an add-on in the treatment of ASD symptoms.
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Keywords: Asperger; autism; autism spectrum disorder; healing plants; herbal medicine; medicinal plants

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2018

This article was made available online on January 2, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Herbal Medicine as an Alternative Treatment in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review".

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  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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