Cancer is a major public health problem in the world. The use of the medicinal plants in cancer prevention and management is frequent in Africa, especially in Tunisia where treatment and therapies have been transmitted from generation to generation within cultures throughout the country. A review looks at the importance of Tunisian medicinal plants in the prevention and management of cancer.
By Julie Colthorpe
Since the beginning of time, all human societies have used plants not only as sources of nutrition but also as therapy against diseases. Plants have formed the basis of refined traditional medicine systems which have been in existence for thousands of years and continue to provide mankind with new remedies today.
Over 50% of all clinical drugs used in the world contain natural products and their derivatives. Furthermore, one quarter of all medicinal prescriptions are formulations based on substances resulting from plants or plant-derived synthetic analogs.
Previous studies have shown that a wide range of Tunisian medicinal plants can exert toxic effects on cells and anticancer activity. Researchers from Tunisia conducted a comprehensive review to collect information from scientific journal articles, including indigenous knowledge researches about Tunisian medicinal plants used for the prevention and management of cancer.
The aim of their review article, which was published in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, is to provide the reader with information concerning the importance of Tunisian medicinal plants in the prevention and management of cancer. The researchers also open the door for the health professionals and scientists working in the field of pharmacology and therapeutics to produce new drug formulations to treat different types of cancer.
The World Health Organization has estimated that 80 % of the earth’s population choose traditional medicine for primary health needs. In developed countries, the raw materials for manufacturing essential drugs are extracted from medicinal plants, harnessing their natural properties of healing. In many developing countries, traditional medicine is still the mainstay of healthcare and most of the drugs and cures come from plants.
The researchers demonstrate how such information could be useful to the health professionals, scientists and scholars working in the field of pharmacology and therapeutics to produce new drug formulations to treat different types of cancer.
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