“AN INTRODUCTION TO MEDICINAL HERBS” (Book, Edited by M. Emerald, Ph.D., Dr. Sc.)

About an Editor: Prof. Mila Emerald, Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Dr. Sc. in Cellular Neuroscience, has dedicated her life to a formulation, testing natural products, consulting, research on therapeutic properties of natural compounds and essential oils, and their applications in Pharmaceuticals, Drugs Discovery, Nanomedicine, Beauty Care, Cosmetics, Sustainable Agriculture.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Medicinal plants always plaid and important role in the maintenance of health, wellbeing, and everyday life of a population worldwide. During the centuries, plants leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, berries, and roots were used for healing and maintenance of a different pathological conditions, as well as in beauty formulas, massage applications, foods preparations and beverages. This book, which is based on a scientific findings and original research, represent a comprehensive and up to date introduction to medicinal plants from all over the world, describes their huge economic, and therapeutic potential, and analyzing different aspects of their genotoxicity, and importance for human health and homeostasis.

The first two chapters are focused on the importance of sustainable agriculture, and a new progressive plants cultivation approach, which is suggested to be used to enhance the farm’s economy at large. Both chapters are including an information on use agroecology in cultivation of sustainable agriculture, pointing to an integrated goal of intercropping herbs, as well as discusses some medicinal plants and spices traditionally used in biodynamic and organic agricultural production. A huge potential of medicinal plants in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, as well as an overview of some plants and their families with their applications in drugs discovery, are highlighted in chapter three, which is also including an information on extraction techniques used for the development and creation of a natural products. Even if herbal formulations are generally expected to be safe because they are ’natural’, it is crucial to understand that some medicinal plants demonstrate a specific toxicity, which must be considered during the formulation, development and manufacturing of the novel herbal pharmaceuticals, diet supplements, beauty care and other products as well. Chapter four, which is also including the individual case studies, provides valuable overview of bioassays for screening genotoxic potential, as well as description of specific testing examples of chosen medicinal plants. Due to an important role in human health, during the last decades gastrointestinal microbiota is constantly in the spotlight of the scientists and medical professionals. Disbalance in microbiota can lead to a serious pathological conditions’, and brain-gut axis is a crucial for human immune system and maintenance of good health and wellbeing. Importance of medicinal plants and its bioactive compounds and their implication on human microbiota, is perfectly highlighted in chapter five, which not only describes the beneficial effects of medicinal plants on human digestion and health in general, but also focused on the powerful role of different bioactive plant metabolites in the host health. Although there is lots of information available on the therapeutic properties of the selected plants and their secondary metabolites, chapters six, seven and eight are demonstrate an opportunity for medicinal plants and their compounds to be used for prevention and maintenance and in the future – an effective treatment of metabolic, neurological, and degenerative diseases. An antioxidant, detoxifying, nutritional, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and other properties of medicinal plants compounds are highlighted, studied, and suggested to be considered as highly useful for prevention, maintenance, and development of the future treatments for affecting a huge population, metabolic, anxiety and degenerative diseases. Biotechnological interventions are an important pathway for future technological advances and plants conservation, but it could be limited towards assess the genetic diversity through molecular markers. Using medicinal plants in biotechnological applications is covered in chapter nine, which represents up to date available information on phytochemistry, diversity and biotechnological advances that have been made so far for medicinal plants. The text of the chapters illustrates plant bio-actives, their molecular constituents, such as flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, coumarins, lignans, glycosides, and others, based in research and case studies, and describes its potential applications.

To summarize, this book is an important contribution to a science and research developments, which helps better understanding of a great potential of medicinal plants. It provides the reader with a great amount of useful and valuable information including research statements, great reading materials, figures, and data tables, as well as extensive lists of the references, which can be helpful for research and new natural products development.