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Health Benefits and Possible Risks of Herbal Medicine

Abstract

Nowadays, attention is being focused on the investigation of the efficacy of plant in the traditional medicine because they are cheap and have little side effects. Synthetic preservatives, which have been used in foods for decades, may lead to negative health consequences. Moreover, the use of synthetic compounds has significant drawbacks, such as increasing cost, handling hazards, concerns about residues on food, and threat to human environment. As a good alternative, spices and herbs replace synthetic preservatives as natural, effective, and non-toxic compounds. Spices and herbs (garlic, mustard, cinnamon, cumin, clove, thyme, basil, pepper, ginger, rosemary, etc.) have been used as food additives since ancient times, as flavoring agents and natural food preservatives. A number of spices show antimicrobial activity against different types of microorganisms. The consumption of herbal medicines is increasing steadily throughout the world as an alternative treatment for alleviating a number of health problems including heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer. However, unlike drugs, herbal products are not regulated for purity and potency. Herbal drugs are considered as food integrators and readily available in the market without prescription. This chapter highlights potential benefits and possible risks associated with consumption of herbal products. Antimicrobial activity of spices and herbs as well as some essential oils against most common bacteria and fungi that contaminate food is also discussed.

Keywords

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Herbal Product
  • Herbal Drug
  • Willow Bark

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Correspondence to Shadia M. Abdel-Aziz .

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Abdel-Aziz, S.M., Aeron, A., Kahil, T.A. (2016). Health Benefits and Possible Risks of Herbal Medicine. In: Garg, N., Abdel-Aziz, S., Aeron, A. (eds) Microbes in Food and Health. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-25277-3_6

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