Potential role of metabolomics in the improvement of research on traditional African medicine
Karikari, Thomas K.
- Publisher: Elsevier BV
Agronomy and Crop Science | Biotechnology | Biochemistry | RA0421 | Plant Science | GR
mesheuropmc: skin and connective tissue diseases | stomatognathic system | hormones, hormone substitutes, and hormone antagonists
The global market for herbal medicine is growing steadily. The usage of herbal medicine is particularly common in many parts of Africa; the World Health Organization estimates that approximately 80% of Africans rely on traditional African medicines (TAMs) for treating various diseases. TAMs hold promise in preventive treatment, early disease intervention and personalized medicine. However, clinical integration of TAMs is restricted due to limited information concerning their characterization. Presently, many studies on TAMs utilize a reductionist approach, making it extremely difficult to understand the holistic modifying effects that these therapeutic agents may have on biological systems. Fortunately, emerging technologies such as metabolomics platforms adopt a ‘top-down’ strategy that permits a holistic evaluation of the components, metabolic pathways and biomarkers modified by TAMs, which can aid in addressing common concerns over safety and toxicity, while also ensuring that quality control standards are met. Metabolomics approaches may also be beneficial for advancing our understanding of the efficacy and mechanism of action of TAMs, and may contribute to the advancement of research and drug discovery, early diagnosis, preventive treatment and TAMs-driven personalized medicine in Africa. This review also considers the main challenges that may hinder the adoption and integration of metabolomics approaches in research on TAMs in Africa and suggests possible solutions.