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      Medicinal plants and antimicrobial activity

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      Journal of Ethnopharmacology

      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          In the present paper, we analyze the past, present and future of medicinal plants, both as potential antimicrobial crude drugs as well as a source for natural compounds that act as new anti-infection agents. In the past few decades, the search for new anti-infection agents has occupied many research groups in the field of ethnopharmacology. When we reviewed the number of articles published on the antimicrobial activity of medicinal plants in PubMed during the period between 1966 and 1994, we found 115; however, in the following decade between 1995 and 2004, this number more than doubled to 307. In the studies themselves one finds a wide range of criteria. Many focus on determining the antimicrobial activity of plant extracts found in folk medicine, essential oils or isolated compounds such as alkaloids, flavonoids, sesquiterpene lactones, diterpenes, triterpenes or naphtoquinones, among others. Some of these compounds were isolated or obtained by bio-guided isolation after previously detecting antimicrobial activity on the part of the plant. A second block of studies focuses on the natural flora of a specific region or country; the third relevant group of papers is made up of specific studies of the activity of a plant or principle against a concrete pathological microorganism. Some general considerations must be established for the study of the antimicrobial activity of plant extracts, essential oils and the compounds isolated from them. Of utmost relevance is the definition of common parameters, such as plant material, techniques employed, growth medium and microorganisms tested.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Journal of Ethnopharmacology
          Journal of Ethnopharmacology
          Elsevier BV
          03788741
          August 2005
          August 2005
          : 100
          : 1-2
          : 80-84
          Article
          10.1016/j.jep.2005.04.025
          15964727
          © 2005

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