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Ethnopharmacology focuses on the use of traditional medicine in local communities, including its commercial applications. We welcome field studies, pharmacological and clinical studies of chemically profiled extracts, and studies on the quality and composition of naturally derived products.
This Specialty Section of Frontiers in Pharmacology subscribes to the taxonomic standards laid down most importantly at the Kew MPNS portal (http://mpns.kew.org/mpns-portal/) and also the Royal Botanic Gardens/Kew/Missouri Botanical Garden `The Plant List` initiative (www.theplantlist.org).
Ethnopharmacology, as a specifically designated field of research, has a relatively short history. The term was first described in 1967 as the title of a book on hallucinogens. Today, it is used for research on medicinal, psychoactive and toxic plants, and fungi or animals that are used by people world-wide as well as for research on health foods. The ethnopharmacological approach is unique in pharmacology and the natural sciences in that it also requires input from the social and cultural sciences.
Ethnopharmacology publishes articles of highest quality by focusing on evidence-based studies of nature-derived products with a local and traditional use as medicine, health food, and psychoactive agent or toxin. Research on commercial or natural extracts derived from these may also be submitted. We will consider pharmacological and clinical studies of chemically profiled extracts, ethnopharmacological field studies, and studies on the quality and composition of such plants, fungi, or animals. We are interested in all diseases of the human organ systems, but research on those common in poorer regions of the world and on neglected diseases are particularly welcome.
Frontiers in Pharmacology (section Ethnopharmacology) focuses on biological and pharmacological activities of plants, fungi and other organisms used locally or traditionally as a medicine or to improve health. Studies with the specific aim to either improve local healthcare by developing products based on such knowledge or studies in the context of drug discovery / development from natural sources will be considered if they are based on biological resources with a clear and well-defined local or traditional use. Purely biodiversity-based screening studies and studies of established natural products and their mechanism of action are outside the scope of this section. Studies reporting such local and traditional uses will only be accepted if the comply with the ConSEFS standards (Heinrich et al. 2017; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28818646 ) . Toxicological research and clinical studies on medicinal plants are welcome.
The following specific areas are covered: - clinical studies, pharmacokinetics, public health; - safety of traditional remedies/toxicology; - quality and composition traditional medicines, metabolomics, genomics; - anthropological and historical studies in ethnopharmacology; - ethnopharmacology of the gastro-intestinal system pharmacology; - treatment of dermatological conditions including opthamology and otorhinology; - ethnopharmacology of the respiratory system; - ethnopharmacology of the central nervous system; - anti-infective agents; - anti-inflammatory agents, ethnopharmacology of the musculoskeletal and joint diseases; - malignant disease and immunosuppression; - ethnopharmacology of the cardiovascular system, of metabolic disorders and the endocrine system; - ethnopharmacology in obstetrics, gynaecology, and urinary-tract disorders; and - the interface of food and medicine, nutrition in ethnopharmacology.
The following basic guidelines, focused on best practice in ethnopharmacology, should be followed by all submissions:
- This Specialty Section of Frontiers in Pharmacology subscribes to the taxonomic standards laid down most importantly at the Kew MPNS portal (http://mpns.kew.org/mpns-portal/) and also the Royal Botanic Gardens/Kew/Missouri Botanical Garden `The Plant List` initiative (www.theplantlist.org). Of course, full botanical documentation is essential (i.e. a voucher specimen deposited in a recognized herbarium).
- Antioxidant activity: here in vivo or in vitro studies using generally acceptable pharmaceutical models are essential. Simple in silico and pharmacologically irrelevant assays for antioxidant activity (e.g. the DPPH assay, FRAP (Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma), ABTS (2,2'-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)) are not acceptable as a main tool for assessing an extract or a compound for activity. Such assays are commonly used in food chemistry and other fields, but are not of pharmacological relevance.
- Dose ranges must be pharmacologically relevant. While impossible to define an exact cut-off, studies testing extracts at implausibly high doses are increasingly common in the literature.
- Positive and negative controls must be included.
- Models must be pharmacologically relevant and plausible - a complex issue depending on the specific goals of the study. Authors must consider the ethical acceptability of further in vivo studies on an already well-studied species, demonstrating some common activity (e.g. an anti-inflammatory effect studied in the rat-paw oedema).
- The composition of the study material must be described in sufficient detail
- If ‘pure’ compounds are used information on the level of purity must be included
In case of ethnopharmacological field studies you must follow the ConSEFS standards: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28818646
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PMCID: all published articles receive a PMCID
Ethnopharmacology welcomes submissions of the following article types: Book Review, Correction, Data Report, Editorial, Erratum, General Commentary, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Opinion, Original Research, Perspective, Protocols, Review, Specialty Grand Challenge, Systematic Review and Technology Report.
All manuscripts must be submitted directly to the section Ethnopharmacology, where they are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the specialty section.
Articles published in the section Ethnopharmacology will benefit from the Frontiers impact and tiering system after online publication. Authors of published original research with the highest impact, as judged democratically by the readers, will be invited by the Chief Editor to write a Frontiers Focused Review - a tier-climbing article. This is referred to as "democratic tiering". The author selection is based on article impact analytics of original research published in all Frontiers specialty journals and sections. Focused Reviews are centered on the original discovery, place it into a broader context, and aim to address the wider community across all of Pharmacology.