skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Risks and benefits of commonly used herbal medicines in Mexico

Abstract

In Mexico, local empirical knowledge about medicinal properties of plants is the basis for their use as home remedies. It is generally accepted by many people in Mexico and elsewhere in the world that beneficial medicinal effects can be obtained by ingesting plant products. In this review, we focus on the potential pharmacologic bases for herbal plant efficacy, but we also raise concerns about the safety of these agents, which have not been fully assessed. Although numerous randomized clinical trials of herbal medicines have been published and systematic reviews and meta-analyses of these studies are available, generalizations about the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines are clearly not possible. Recent publications have also highlighted the unintended consequences of herbal product use, including morbidity and mortality. It has been found that many phytochemicals have pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interactions with drugs. The present review is limited to some herbal medicines that are native or cultivated in Mexico and that have significant use. We discuss the cultural uses, phytochemistry, pharmacological, and toxicological properties of the following plant species: nopal (Opuntia ficus), peppermint (Mentha piperita), chaparral (Larrea divaricata), dandlion (Taraxacum officinale), mullein (Verbascum densiflorum), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), nettle or stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), passionflowermore » (Passiflora incarnata), linden flower (Tilia europea), and aloe (Aloe vera). We conclude that our knowledge of the therapeutic benefits and risks of some herbal medicines used in Mexico is still limited and efforts to elucidate them should be intensified.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [2];  [4]
  1. Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos, Facultad de Farmacia, Cuernavaca (Mexico), E-mail: mlrodrig1@yahoo.com.mx
  2. Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos, Facultad de Farmacia, Cuernavaca (Mexico)
  3. University of New Mexico, College of Pharmacy Toxicology Program, Albuquerque, NM (United States), E-mail: sburchiel@salud.unm.du
  4. University of New Mexico, Department of Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21077928
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 227; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2007.10.005; PII: S0041-008X(07)00451-6; Copyright (c) 2007 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0041-008X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; ALOE; CLINICAL TRIALS; DISEASE INCIDENCE; DRUGS; FLOWERS; HEALTH HAZARDS; MEDICINAL PLANTS; MEXICO; MORTALITY; REVIEWS; SAFETY

Citation Formats

Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, Reyes-Esparza, Jorge, Burchiel, Scott W., Herrera-Ruiz, Dea, and Torres, Eliseo. Risks and benefits of commonly used herbal medicines in Mexico. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2007.10.005.
Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, Reyes-Esparza, Jorge, Burchiel, Scott W., Herrera-Ruiz, Dea, & Torres, Eliseo. Risks and benefits of commonly used herbal medicines in Mexico. United States. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2007.10.005.
Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, Reyes-Esparza, Jorge, Burchiel, Scott W., Herrera-Ruiz, Dea, and Torres, Eliseo. Fri . "Risks and benefits of commonly used herbal medicines in Mexico". United States. doi:10.1016/j.taap.2007.10.005.
@article{osti_21077928,
title = {Risks and benefits of commonly used herbal medicines in Mexico},
author = {Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes and Reyes-Esparza, Jorge and Burchiel, Scott W. and Herrera-Ruiz, Dea and Torres, Eliseo},
abstractNote = {In Mexico, local empirical knowledge about medicinal properties of plants is the basis for their use as home remedies. It is generally accepted by many people in Mexico and elsewhere in the world that beneficial medicinal effects can be obtained by ingesting plant products. In this review, we focus on the potential pharmacologic bases for herbal plant efficacy, but we also raise concerns about the safety of these agents, which have not been fully assessed. Although numerous randomized clinical trials of herbal medicines have been published and systematic reviews and meta-analyses of these studies are available, generalizations about the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines are clearly not possible. Recent publications have also highlighted the unintended consequences of herbal product use, including morbidity and mortality. It has been found that many phytochemicals have pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interactions with drugs. The present review is limited to some herbal medicines that are native or cultivated in Mexico and that have significant use. We discuss the cultural uses, phytochemistry, pharmacological, and toxicological properties of the following plant species: nopal (Opuntia ficus), peppermint (Mentha piperita), chaparral (Larrea divaricata), dandlion (Taraxacum officinale), mullein (Verbascum densiflorum), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), nettle or stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), linden flower (Tilia europea), and aloe (Aloe vera). We conclude that our knowledge of the therapeutic benefits and risks of some herbal medicines used in Mexico is still limited and efforts to elucidate them should be intensified.},
doi = {10.1016/j.taap.2007.10.005},
journal = {Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology},
issn = {0041-008X},
number = 1,
volume = 227,
place = {United States},
year = {2008},
month = {2}
}