Research Topic

The use of traditional medicines as alternative therapy for foodborne diseases

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Traditional medicine is still essential for the majority of the world’s population, especially in developing countries. It has been widely used for the prevention and treatment of different gastrointestinal diseases such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea – which are common symptoms of food-borne ...

Traditional medicine is still essential for the majority of the world’s population, especially in developing countries. It has been widely used for the prevention and treatment of different gastrointestinal diseases such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea – which are common symptoms of food-borne illnesses.

Food-borne outbreaks are the major causes of morbidity and mortality, particularly in developing countries. It is a topic which so far has been little explored from an ethnopharmacological perspective and an interdisciplinary evaluation can set standards in this field of research. Ultimately, it will have important public health implications. Due to the severe poverty as the main factor that leads to malnutrition, inadequate sanitation and limited access to clean food and drink, populations are more vulnerable to infections by microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. Although intervention strategies have been developed to treat foodborne illness, the existing strategies against food-borne pathogens still suffer from several limitations and often very fragmented approaches are used. For example, the emergence of antibiotic resistance strains renders existing antibiotic as the first line treatment ineffective. Therefore, plant materials are possible alternative sources for safe and natural biocontrol agents against water and food-borne pathogens. Even though many traditional remedies have been known for centuries and used for the treatment of such diseases, the lack of scientific knowledge particularly on the pharmacological action and the bioactive principle that resides in the formulation have hindered the progress of these treatments. Consequently, they have not yet gained a wider recognition as therapeutically useful and locally adapted treatments. Hopefully with the current advances in biomedical research techniques, more robust microbiological approaches could be assimilated into such a strategy in order to speed-up the discovery and validation processes. The integration of knowledge on the most common uses of traditional remedies and a systematic bioscientific and biomedical study of such preparations will provide new treatment options to treat the myriad of food-borne illness.

In this Research Topic, we welcome contributions that provide updates on theoretical aspects pertaining to antimicrobial drug discovery from traditional medicines, the insights on their pharmacological mechanism of action, on drug interaction and new pharmaceutical formulations. In addition, this Topic will also explore the chemical constituents and structural characterization of biologically active compounds from herbal medicines. Importantly food interventions (i.e. preventive measures) and contributions with a truly trans-disciplinary nature are particularly welcome.

We encourage submissions of the following article types: original research articles, reviews, mini-reviews, methods article, hypothesis and theory articles, perspective, technology report, opinions and commentaries. Finally, we would like to arrive at a general consensus on the possible use of traditional medicines derived strategies in combating the ever rising burden of ubiquitous food-borne diseases.


Keywords: Herbal medicine, chronic disease, chemical constituents, natural products, natural medicine


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