About this Research Topic
Natural compounds are increasingly featured in medical treatments. Exogenous natural compounds are more likely to be used in this context, either alone or more commonly as supplements to traditional therapies. Most exogenous natural compounds are from plant or algae, which are generally termed as phytochemicals. However, unlike traditional drugs, the pharmacology and metabolism of phytochemicals and other natural compounds are less studied and characterized, even though phytochemicals have been present in human biological systems for thousands of years. Studying the pharmacology and metabolism of phytochemicals and other natural compounds is challenging, because there is a lack of commercial interest due to patentability. Furthermore, phytochemicals are hard to detect and measure in biological systems and often masked by their pre-existence in human body (due to their food or microbiological origin).
Nevertheless, natural compounds are currently used in a wide range of human diseases, ranging from infectious to non-communicable disease, and from allergies to parasite challenge. One famous example is the use of artemisinin in malaria. New pharmacological applications of existing natural compounds and new natural compounds’ bioactivities in various diseases are constantly reported in the scientific literature. In a number of examples, natural product pharmacology is critical to its clinical application, such as curcumin, fucoidan, astaxanthin, the aforementioned artemisinin and ginsenoside etc. Curcumin’s clinical use has been greatly affected by its first-pass metabolism and bioavailability, therefore, analogues and nano-formulations of curcumin stemmed out of the original product, with an ever-growing evidence base in experimental medical applications.
In this context, the pharmacology and metabolism of phytochemicals and other natural compounds are critical. Without addressing it, it could lead to unforeseen toxicity or treatment failure. On the contrary, with well-defined pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and metabolism (or biotransformation), natural compounds like phytochemicals can be applied more widely in medical and health conditions and used more properly to achieve better therapeutic outcomes, which will benefit patients.
Indeed, there is an increasing body of literature on natural compound pharmacology and metabolism. However, pharmacology and metabolism of many natural compounds are still under-investigated.
Therefore, the main goal of this Research Topic is to present, as many as possible, pharmacological and metabolic investigations to enrich our knowledge and understanding of those compounds in medical and health applications. Interaction between natural compounds and standard medication is another important aspect of natural compounds pharmacology, especially in the process of biotransformation, which is also the focus of this Research Topic. Manuscripts submitted could be Original Research articles, short Communications or Reviews.
Keywords: Phytochemicals, metabolism, biotransformation, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.