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Solving the puzzle: what is behind our forefathers’ anti-inflammatory remedies?

Javier Rodriguez Villanueva, Jorge Martín Esteban, Laura Rodríguez Villanueva.


Inflammation is a ubiquitous host response in charge of restoring normal tissue structure and function but is a double-edged sword, as the uncontrolled or excessive process can lead to the injury of host cells, chronic inflammation, chronic diseases and also neoplastic transformation. Throughout history, a wide range of species have been claimed to have anti-inflammatory effects worldwide. Among them, Angelica sinensis, Tropaeolum majus, Castilleja tenuiflora, Biophytum umbraculum, to name just a few, have attracted the scientific and general public attention in the last years. Efforts have been made to assess their relevance through a scientific method. However, inflammation is a complex interdependent process, and phytomedicines are complex mixtures of compounds with multiple mechanisms of biological actions, which restricts systematic explanation. For this purpose, the omics techniques could prove extremely useful. They provide tools for interpreting and integrating results from both the classical medical tradition and modern science. As a result, the concept of network pharmacology applied to phytomedicines emerged. All of this is a step toward personalized therapy.

Key words: Inflammation, traditional medicinal system, rational phytotherapy, “omics” applied to phytomedicine.

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