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Medicinal plants are being looked up once again for the treatment of diabetes. Many conventional drugs have been derived from prototypic molecules in medicinal plants. Metformin exemplifies an efficacious oral glucose-lowering agent. Its development was based on the use of Galega officinalis to treat diabetes. Galega officinalis is rich in guanidine, the hypoglycemic component. Because guanidine is too toxic for clinical use, the alkyl biguanides synthalin A and synthalin B were introduced as oral anti-diabetic agents in Europe in the 1920s but were discontinued after insulin became more widely available. However, experience with guanidine and biguanides prompted the development of metformin. To date, over 400 traditional plant treatments for diabetes have been reported, although only a small number of these have received scientific and medical evaluation to assess their efficacy. The hypoglycemic effect of some herbal extracts has been confirmed in human and animal models of type 2 diabetes. The World Health Organization Expert Committee on diabetes has recommended that traditional medicinal herbs be further investigated.
Our skin is the key to our survival, sensing the environment, maintaining physicochemical and thermal homeostasis, acting as a reservoir of essential nutrients, providing passive and active defence, and responding to trauma and injury . Maintaining these critical functions requires robust and effective mechanisms to protect it from trauma and insult and to repair and replace critical skin functions when damaged or lost. Humans have been treating their wounds for millennia . Traditional wound management is limited by what is immediately at hand or can be acquired locally, such as water, soil, and plant and animal products, and is frequently complemented with ceremony and ritual as an added measure. For millions of people across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, traditional medicines derived from local plants, animals, and natural products are the mainstay of wound care; for some, it is the only source of wound care . We discuss herein some of the evidence supporting the use of medicinal plants as effective and affordable treatments for cutaneous wounds.
Panax ginseng is one of the most popular medicinal plants consumed in China, Japan, Korea, and Eastern Siberia to improve thinking, concentration, and memory. It is also claimed to support immunity and physical stamina and to reduce fatigue . Panax ginseng is thus used to treat depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue syndrome . Panax ginseng has been demonstrated to induce vasodilation , control blood lipids , reduce inflammation , and confer antioxidant , anticancer , antibacterial , antiallergic , antiaging , and immunomodulating  activities. Panax ginseng contains many bioactive substances, among which a class of saponins (termed ginsenosides by Asian researchers and panaxosides by Russian researchers) represent the most potent active constituents of Panax ginseng .
Sophora flavescens is a species from a genus of over 50 plants distributed throughout Asia, Oceania, and the islands of the Pacific. The root of Sophora flavescens is used for conditions involving the heart, liver, intestinal tract, and skin. Experimental investigations indicate extracts from Sophora flavescens stimulate anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antipruritic responses and benefits wound healing . One recent report claims it is a potent inhibitor of tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for synthesizing melanin, thus has potential cosmetic applications as a skin whitener . Other reports claim specific compounds present in Sophora flavescens benefit individuals with androgenetic alopecia . Recently, Xu et al. demonstrated that a mixture of Sophora flavescens and other herbs significantly reduced perianal ulceration in a rat model, finding that the expression of prostaglandin E2 and IL-8 was concomitantly reduced in treated animals .
The active ingredients, part of use, type of extract, assessment methods, bioactivities, clinical use, formulation, and commercial product of the medicinal plants are summarized in Table 1. While experimental evidence has been acquired for each documented plant from in vitro or in vivo analyses, not every mechanism of action has been verified. On the contrary, several compounds, including acemannan (from Aloe vera), hydroxysafflor yellow A (from Carthamus tinctorius), polysaccharide (from Ganoderma lucidum), phthalide lactones, and alkaloids (from Ligusticum striatum), saponins (from Panax ginseng), shikonin and arnebin-1 (from Lithospermum erythrorhizon), salvianolic acids (from Salvia miltiorrhiza), polysaccharides (from Sanguisorba officinalis), and alkaloid and stilbenoid (from Stemona tuberosa) are well characterised and have been demonstrated to have properties that benefit wound healing. In particular, Centella asiatica, Curcuma longa, and Paeonia suffruticosa are popular medicinal products in several global markets. 1e1e36bf2d