Abstract: Background: Montanoa guatemalensis is a small to medium-sized tree in the Asteraceae that grows in Central America from Mexico south through Costa Rica. There have been no previous investigations on the essential oil of this tree. Methods: The leaf essential oils of M. guatemalensis were obtained from different individual trees growing in Monteverde, Costa Rica, in two different years, and were analyzed by gas chromatography—mass spectrometry. Results: The leaf oils from 2008 were rich in sesquiterpenoids, dominated by α-selinene, β-selinene, and cyclocolorenone, with lesser amounts of the monoterpenes α-pinene and limonene. In contrast, the samples from 2009 showed no α- or β-selinene, but large concentrations of trans-muurola-4(14),5-diene, β-cadinene, and cyclocolorenone, along with greater concentrations of α-pinene and limonene. The leaf oils were screened for cytotoxic and antimicrobial activities and did show selective cytotoxic activity on MDA-MB-231 breast tumor cells. Conclusion: M. guatemalensis leaf oil, rich in cyclocolorenone, α-selinene, and β-selinene, showed selective in vitro cytotoxic activity to MDA-MB-231 cells. The plant may be a good source of cyclocolorenone.
Abstract: Herbal medicines and natural products have been the most productive source of drug development and there is a large line of evidence on the applications of herbal medicines and natural products for the management of body function and the treatment of aliments. The multiple bioactive components in herbal medicines and natural products can explain the multiple targets effect in their medical applications. The increasing usage of state-of-art computational, molecular biological, and analytical chemistry techniques will promote the exploration of the pharmacological effect of previously inaccessible sources of herbal medicines and natural products. Notably, with the increasing reports on the safety issues regarding the medical use of herbal medicines and natural products, the awareness of pharmacovigilance in herbal medicines and natural products needs to be strengthened. To prevent the adverse drug reactions related to herbal medicines and natural products, physicians need to be aware of potential risks and alert patients in the use of herbal medicines and natural products.
Abstract: Exosomes are membrane-bound, intercellular communication shuttles that are defined by their endocytic origin and size range of 30–140 nm. Secreted by nearly all mammalian cell types and present in myriad bodily fluids, exosomes confer messages between cells, proximal and distal, by transporting biofunctional cargo in the form of proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids. They play a vital role in cellular signaling in both normal physiology and disease states, particularly cancer. Exosomes are powerful progenitors in altering target cell phenotypes, particularly in tumorigenesis and cancer progression, with the ability to alter tumor microenvironments and to assist in establishing the pre-metastatic niche. Many aspects of exosomes present them as novel means to identify cancer biomarkers for early detection and therapeutic targets, and using intrinsic and engineered characteristics of exosomes as therapeutic devices to ameliorate the progression of the disease. This review outlines some of the recent and major findings with regard to exosomes in cancer, and their utilization as therapeutic tools.
Abstract: Background: With the increasing availability of Smartphones and wearable tracking devices, it is now feasible and affordable to apply such mobile devices to delivering mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and intermittent fasting (IF) to lower blood pressure, as traditional MBSR and IF incur the burden of commuting to the intervention sites for the patients. Our study will develop and scientifically evaluate an MBSR app, an IF app and an MBSR + IF app in terms of their effectiveness for lowering blood pressure. We will further explore the possible interaction effect (synergistic effect) between MBSR and IF intervention: will improved mindfulness enhance patients’ adherence to the IF protocol? Methods: We will develop an MBSR app, an IF app, and an MBSR+IF app. We will then conduct an 8-week randomized controlled trial with a factorial design to evaluate the efficacy of these new apps, especially the interaction effect between MBSR and IF.Eligible individuals will be randomly assigned to Group 1 (MBSR app), Group 2 (IF app), Group 3 (MBSR + IF app) or Group 4 (usual care). Discussion: This will be the first attempt to explore the impact of mindfulness intervention on the adherence of a behavioral intervention. Nevertheless, our protocol is limited in that the effectiveness of intermittent fasting on lowering blood pressure has not been supported by large-sample randomized controlled trials. Thus if there is no significant effectiveness we cannot determine whether it is due to the intermittent fasting intervention itself or it is due to the limit of smartphone as a vehicle.
Abstract: Low back pain may have complex patho-physiological causes leading to chronicity that resists conventional managements. Complementary and alternative treatment options have, therefore, gained popularity. In this chapter, acupuncture, manual therapy, and natural healing for low back pain will be discussed. Special emphasis is given on the role of the individual in the control and prevention of low back pain.
Abstract: Plants produce a wide diversity of secondary metabolites (SM) which serve them as defense compounds against herbivores, and other plants and microbes, but also as signal compounds. In general, SM exhibit a wide array of biological and pharmacological properties. Because of this, some plants or products isolated from them have been and are still used to treat infections, health disorders or diseases. This review provides evidence that many SM have a broad spectrum of bioactivities. They often interact with the main targets in cells, such as proteins, biomembranes or nucleic acids. Whereas some SM appear to have been optimized on a few molecular targets, such as alkaloids on receptors of neurotransmitters, others (such as phenolics and terpenoids) are less specific and attack a multitude of proteins by building hydrogen, hydrophobic and ionic bonds, thus modulating their 3D structures and in consequence their bioactivities. The main modes of action are described for the major groups of common plant secondary metabolites. The multitarget activities of many SM can explain the medical application of complex extracts from medicinal plants for more health disorders which involve several targets. Herbal medicine is not a placebo medicine but a rational medicine, and for several of them clinical trials have shown efficacy.