The use of medicinal plants as a fundamental component of the African traditional healthcare system is perhaps the oldest and the most assorted of all therapeutic systems. In many parts of rural Africa, traditional healers prescribing medicinal plants are the most easily accessible and affordable health resource available to the local community and at times the only therapy that subsists. Nonetheless, there is still a paucity of updated comprehensive compilation of promising medicinal plants from the African continent. The major focus of the present review is to provide an updated overview of 10 promising medicinal plants from the African biodiversity which have short- as well as long-term potential to be developed as future phytopharmaceuticals to treat and/or manage panoply of infectious and chronic conditions. In this endeavour, key scientific databases have been probed to investigate trends in the rapidly increasing number of scientific publications on African traditional medicinal plants. Within the framework of enhancing the significance of traditional African medicinal plants, aspects such as traditional use, phytochemical profile, in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies and also future challenges pertaining to the use of these plants have been explored.
Currently, there is a growing interest in screening and quantifying antioxidants from biological samples in the quest for natural and effective antioxidants to combat free radical-related pathological complications. Antioxidant assays play a crucial role in high-throughput and cost-effective assessment of antioxidant capacities of natural products such as medicinal plants and food samples. However, several investigators have expressed concerns about the reliability of existing in vitro assays. Such concerns arise mainly from the poor correlation between in vitro and in vivo results. In addition, in vitro assays have the problem of reproducibility. To date, antioxidant capacities are measured using a panel of assays whereby each assay has its own advantages and limitations. This unparalleled review hotly disputes on in vitro antioxidant assays and elaborates on the chemistry behind each assay with the aim to point out respective principles/concepts. The following critical questions are also addressed: (1) What make antioxidant assays coloured? (2) What is the reason for working at a particular wavelength? (3) What are the advantages and limitations of each assay? and (4) Why is a particular colour observed in antioxidant–oxidant chemical reactions? Furthermore, this review details the chemical mechanism of reactions that occur in each assay together with a colour ribbon to illustrate changes in colour. The review ends with a critical conclusion on existing assays and suggests constructive improvements on how to develop an adequate and universal antioxidant assay.
In this work, the biological and chemical fingerprints of three extracts (ethyl acetate, methanol, and water) from two Potentilla species (Potentilla reptans and P. speciosa) were investigated. Antioxidant, enzyme inhibitory, and cytotoxic activities were performed for the biological fingerprint. For the chemical characterization, total bioactive components, and individual phenolic components were determined using photometric and HPLC methods, respectively. The main identified phenolic compounds in these extracts were rutin and catechin. Methanol and water extracts contained the highest total phenolic and flavonoid content. The results of antioxidant assays showed that methanol and water extracts displayed higher antioxidant activity compared to the ethyl acetate extract. Generally, methanol and water extracts exhibited higher biological activities correlated with higher levels the bioactive components. For P. speciosa, the methanol extract exhibited the highest enzyme inhibitory activity (except BChE inhibitory activity). P. reptans exhibited also high antiproliferative activity against MCF-7 cells whilst P. speciosa had weak to moderate activity against both of A549 and MCF-7 cell lines. The results suggest that Potentilla species could be potential candidates for developing new phyto-pharmaceuticals and functional ingredients.
α-lipoic acid (ALA, thioctic acid) is an organosulfur component produced from plants, animals, and humans. It has various properties, among them great antioxidant potential and is widely used as a racemic drug for diabetic polyneuropathy-associated pain and paresthesia. Naturally, ALA is located in mitochondria, where it is used as a cofactor for pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) and α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complexes. Despite its various potentials, ALA therapeutic efficacy is relatively low due to its pharmacokinetic profile. Data suggests that ALA has a short half-life and bioavailability (about 30%) triggered by its hepatic degradation, reduced solubility as well as instability in the stomach. However, the use of various innovative formulations has greatly improved ALA bioavailability. The R enantiomer of ALA shows better pharmacokinetic parameters, including increased bioavailability as compared to its S enantiomer. Indeed, the use of amphiphilic matrices has capability to improve ALA bioavailability and intestinal absorption. Also, ALA’s liquid formulations are associated with greater plasma concentration and bioavailability as compared to its solidified dosage form. Thus, improved formulations can increase both ALA absorption and bioavailability, leading to a raise in therapeutic efficacy. Interestingly, ALA bioavailability will be dependent on age, while no difference has been found for gender. The present review aims to provide an updated on studies from preclinical to clinical trials assessing ALA’s usages in diabetic patients with neuropathy, obesity, central nervous system-related diseases and abnormalities in pregnancy.
Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (CVMD) are the leading causes of death worldwide, underscoring the urgent necessity to develop new pharmacotherapies. Berberine (BBR) is an eminent component of traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for more than 2000 years. Recently, BBR has attracted much interest for its pharmacological actions in treating and/or managing CVMD. Recent discoveries of basic, translational and clinical studies have identified many novel molecular targets of BBR (such as AMPK, SIRT1, LDLR, PCSK9, and PTP1B) and provided novel evidences supporting the promising therapeutic potential of BBR to combat CVMD. Thus, this review provides a timely overview of the pharmacological properties and therapeutic application of BBR in CVMD, and underlines recent pharmacological advances which validate BBR as a promising lead drug against CVMD.
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