About this Research Topic
Historically, medicinal plants have been a key element of healthcare, and are still widely used as alternative and complementary therapy (mainly in developed countries) or as a primary treatment (in most developing countries). Moreover, many of the modern pharmaceuticals were developed from molecules extracted from natural sources, and medicinal plants still today represent an important pool for the identification of novel drug leads.
The ethnopharmacological tradition in Central and Eastern Europe has a great historical significance and large part of the Western world´s knowledge for therapeutic properties of medicinal plants has its roots in the Greek and Roman cultures (e.g., with a reference to the influential works of Dioscorides, Pliny the Elder, and Galen). The German-speaking Central European areas have also played very important roles, with some influential medieval herbal book editions such as the Mainz Herbal (Herbarius Moguntinus, 1484) and The German Herbal (1485). Moreover, at the beginning of the 19th century modern drug discovery from plants also played a key role in Central Europe, most notably the work of the German apothecary assistant Friedrich Sertürner, who isolated an analgesic and sleep-inducing agent from opium that was named morphium (morphine) after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus. At the same time, it should be noted that on many occasions the rich ethnopharmacological knowledge of some East European countries and Russia remained localized and did not find its way to integrate with the Western world herbal therapy traditions.
Within this scientific framework, the focus of this Research Topic will be the ethnopharmacology of Central and Eastern Europe, on the context of global research developments in the area of ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry, molecular pharmacology of natural products, nutrigenomics, etc. We especially encourage submissions focusing on medicinal plants from Central and Eastern Europe, including Russia and the countries at the crossroads of Northwestern Asia and Eastern Europe. Studies examining non-European plants or plant constituents will only be considered if they highlight the significance of the ethnopharmacology / medicinal plant research of Central and Eastern Europe in the context of relevant global scientific developments and must explain (e.g., in the manuscript introduction) the taxonomical or chemo-taxonomical relation to relevant European plants or their constituents.
Submissions presenting works that enhance the mechanistic knowledge underling traditional use of medicinal plants are encouraged, including but not limited to:
1) Studies involving phytochemical and bioactivity characterization of plant extracts;
2) Bioactivity-guided isolation studies;
3) Clinical studies on well-defined herbal preparations;
4) Bioactivity and mechanism of action studies with isolated plant-derived constituents;
5) “Omics” studies using plant extracts or isolated plant-derived natural products;
6) Pharmacokinetics and biotransformation of phytochemicals;
7) Field and observational studies on the use of local and traditional medicinal plants.
General requirements for manuscripts in Frontiers in Pharmacology, section Ethnopharmacology include (see also the Guidelines to Authors):
• All species need to be taxonomically validated (using http://mpns.kew.org/mpns-portal/ or www.theplantlist.org), voucher specimens must be deposited at an internationally recognised herbarium.
• For studies investigating extracts, exact extraction procedures and analytical details must be provided.
• There needs to be a well-defined link with local / traditional uses or with some specific developments of such uses.
• In recent years concerns about the validity of (especially pharmacological) data has intensified, see for example:
Short editorial: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006295215003639
Editorial “article”: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006295215003585
Therefore, all authors must ascertain that the models used and the scientific procedures comply with current standards. The applied doses of used extracts or pure compounds need to be meaningful.
• Simple anti-oxidant screens as well as in silico screenings without experimental proof cannot be the main focus of a manuscript.
• All manuscripts must comply with Frontiers publication policies including the common ethical standards.
The submissions of the following article types is encouraged: Original Research, Methods, Protocols, Technology Reports, Reviews, Mini-Reviews, Hypothesis & Theory, Perspectives, Data Reports, General Commentary, Opinions, and Book Reviews.
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.