Digital Methods for Exploring the Benefits of Combined Herbal Remedies

Jim Crocker
11th June, 2024

Digital Methods for Exploring the Benefits of Combined Herbal Remedies

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The All India Institute of Ayurveda is conducting a study to map the use of computational methods (in silico) in understanding polyherbal formulations (PHFs) in traditional medicine
  • The study aims to identify knowledge gaps and provide insights into the phytochemical identification, target identification, and strategies for in silico studies of PHFs
  • The review will help in understanding the computational methods used, thereby aiding in the rational use and safety of PHFs in traditional medicine
Traditional medicine, used by over 80% of the world's population according to the World Health Organization, often relies on single herbal drugs or polyherbal formulations (PHFs) to manage various diseases. However, the mechanisms by which these formulations work are not well understood. The All India Institute of Ayurveda has initiated a study to develop a search strategy for a scoping review to map the in silico approaches used to understand the activity of PHFs in traditional medicine[1]. In silico methods involve computational techniques to simulate and analyze biological processes. While these methods have been extensively used to study single herbal drugs, their application to PHFs remains unclear. The review aims to fill this knowledge gap by identifying studies that use in silico methods to investigate PHFs. The methodology for this scoping review is based on the framework developed by Arksey and O'Malley and follows the guidelines of the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI). The researchers will use a set of predetermined keywords to search five databases: PubMed, Embase, Science Direct, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. Two independent reviewers will screen the studies based on inclusion and exclusion criteria, and the JBI System for the Unified Management, Assessment, and Review of Information tool will be used for data extraction. The review will be reported according to the PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Initial searches yielded 3865 studies, which were filtered down to 875 for further review. The refined keywords helped in identifying more relevant studies. The expected outcome of this review is to identify the knowledge gaps in the application of computational methods to PHFs and provide insights into the phytochemical identification, target identification, strategies for in silico studies, software used, and challenges faced. Previous studies have highlighted the potential of polyherbal formulations in traditional medicine. For instance, a systematic review of various polyherbal formulations showed their effectiveness in promoting the wound-healing process[2]. These formulations can stimulate various physiological functions that accelerate healing. However, most studies are conducted on a laboratory scale, indicating the need for more clinical trials to validate these findings. Another study focused on Tetradium ruticarpum (TR), a medicinal plant used in traditional Chinese medicine, also emphasized the importance of understanding the chemical composition and toxicity of herbal formulations[3]. TR is often combined with other herbs to achieve a synergistic effect or reduce toxicity. This study reviewed the phytochemistry, pharmacokinetic behaviors, and toxicity of TR under various processing conditions, providing valuable insights for quality control and future medicinal research. The current study aims to build on these findings by systematically reviewing the in silico approaches used to study PHFs. By doing so, it hopes to provide a comprehensive understanding of the computational methods employed, thereby aiding in the rational use and safety of PHFs in traditional medicine. This review could potentially open new avenues for research and development, making traditional herbal formulations more effective and safer for widespread use. In conclusion, the scoping review by the All India Institute of Ayurveda aims to bridge the knowledge gap in the application of in silico methods to PHFs. By identifying the existing studies and methodologies, it seeks to provide a roadmap for future research, ultimately contributing to the scientific validation and optimization of traditional medicine practices.



Main Study

1) In Silico Approaches to Polyherbal Synergy: Protocol for a Scoping Review.

Published 10th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Preclinical evidence of polyherbal formulations on wound healing: A systematic review on research trends and perspectives.

3) Processing and Polyherbal Formulation of Tetradium ruticarpum (A. Juss.) Hartley: Phytochemistry, Pharmacokinetics, and Toxicity.

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