Book Review: Medicinal Plants for Holistic Healing

Lyndy J. McGaw, Ajay Kumar Srivastava, Chung-Ho Lin, Vanessa Steenkamp
2019 Frontiers in Pharmacology  
It is undeniable that medicinal plants have played, and continue to play, a major role in the lives of people worldwide. This book appropriately opens with a fascinating and concise, though comprehensive, history of traditional medicine and its African heritage, starting approximately 4,000 years ago. The reader is taken on a journey through the use of medicinal plants for specific diseases, which originated from trial and error to the development of modern herbal preparations or drugs with
more » ... s or drugs with specific treatment targets. The book concludes by focussing on realizing the potential of medicinal plants. In essence, the book comes full circle, portraying global interests and highlighting the importance of medicinal plant usage in health and well-being. The intense pace of today's lifestyle has led to a dramatic rise in the incidence of many ailments, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. This book mentions several diseases of present and future significance including cancer, tuberculosis, and skin infections and potential plant-based medications against them. All remedies require varying lead times to enable development, and by then, casualties may rise. However, this book has given a useful background and highlighted research opportunities aimed at maximizing the realization of the potential of plants found in South Africa. Such disease threats include various types of skin cancers, hyper-pigmentation, oral disorders (with changing food and eating styles), and many others. This textbook provides a thorough and detailed description of many classes of plantderived natural products for medical use, particularly regarding nutraceutical and cosmeceutical applications. Functional foods are foods consumed frequently that have potential health benefits, and nutraceuticals refer to products sold over the counter containing phytochemicals putatively enhancing health. The use of these purportedly beneficial foods and supplements is particularly relevant in the field of cancer prevention, as covered in the second chapter of the book. In this chapter, it is noted that substances found in plants may be able to prevent, inhibit, or even reverse formation of cancerous cells. Skin infections, acne, and aging negatively affect confidence, and plants have been used for centuries as natural cosmeceuticals to enhance beauty and combat infections. The interest of international cosmetics enterprises has been stirred by the possibilities in this sphere. An example mentioned in Chapter 3 is the incorporation of Mesembryanthemum crystallinum into an antiaging formulation by a renowned cosmetics company.
doi:10.3389/fphar.2019.01053 fatcat:qwnj3q4lond63o4fb4fsyw3yxu