About this Research Topic
The intensification of livestock rearing often promotes an increase in inappropriate practices that disregard care for the environment, animal health, and human health. Intensive animal farming systems are often associated with higher stocking density and massive use of artificial feeds. Currently, outbreaks of bacterial and parasitic diseases act as major limiting factors for animal farming, meaning that producers have to make use of massive amounts of antimicrobials, anthelmintics, disinfectants and pesticides in order to control mortality and avoid huge economic losses. Because of adverse effects on the environment, animal and human health, the utility of these procedures has come into question. The use of herbal medicines within animal production has shown being promising, as a natural and biodegradable source of compounds with antimicrobial activity against various pathogens.
Medicinal and aromatic plants play very important roles in therapy throughout the world to ensure global health, especially in developing countries. Humans and animals has depended on them for the treatment of several illnesses for a long time. Many principles of pharmacology applied to modern medicine are based on active components of plants. Phytotherapy has been shown to be very useful for the treatment of certain chronic diseases, with fewer side effects and greater accessibility to the population.
A large percentage of the drugs are derived from vegetables and many others are synthetics analogous to those produced by plants. Moreover, there are many drugs whose exclusive sources are the aromatic and medicinal plants. They are also used as nutritional supplements and in the cosmetics and perfumes industry, which has increased its value in recent years.
Phytotherapy has been shown to have a wide variety of applications as for example the develop of different therapies involving the use of plant hormones or phytoestrogens. These ones mimic the action of human sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone), and show the same good results than synthetic drugs but without their side effects. Other examples are the cholesterol blood level control; treatment of some cancers; antimicrobial and antiparasitic activity.
The antimicrobial and antiparasitic activity of many plant extracts deserves particular interest in their contribution to the fight against the resistance problem caused by the irrational use of this type of drugs. In veterinary medicine, phytotherapy is also a promising alternative providing different kind of growth promoter in food animal production, in avoiding the use of antimicrobials, and reducing the risk of selecting antimicrobial resistance. Indeed, the multiple mechanisms of resistance that these types of microorganisms developed hinder the therapeutics, making it necessary to apply new strategies for their control.
Research in plants for medicinal purposes is fundamental to facilitate the emergence of new alternatives to obtain pharmacological products that contribute to human and animal health, which are interdependent and bound to the health of the ecosystem in which they exist, taking into account "One Health" concept. It must be accompanied by research in the galenic fields in order to ensure that the therapies are effective in administering the extracts in a standardized form. The search for new bioactive compounds must achieve optimal application for safe and effective drugs.
In this Research Topic, we welcome papers that address knowledge about the safety, efficacy, quality control, marketing and regulatory aspects of botanical medicines. That is to say the main purpose of the Research Topic are:
i) To present information on specific herbal medicines that may serve as good treatment alternatives to conventional antimicrobials, anthelmintics and pesticides for infections sensitive to conventional as well as resistant pathogens.
ii) To evaluate the use of antimicrobial, anthelminthics and insecticides alternatives to reduce the development of resistance, with maximum effectiveness and minimal toxicity.
iii) To evaluate different applications of the medicinal plants in animal and human health: “healthy animals, healthy food, healthy environment and healthy people.”
Keywords: Alternative Medicines, Phytotherapy, Essential Oils, Vegetable Extracts, Antimicrobials, anthelminthics