Phytotherapy as an Alternative to Conventional Antimicrobials: Combating Microbial Resistance

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Introduction: In the modern antimicrobial era, the rapid spread of resistance to antibiotics and introduction of new and mutating viruses is a global concern. Combating antimicrobial resistant microbes (AMR) requires coordinated international efforts that incorporate new conventional antibiotic development as well as development of alternative drugs with antimicrobial activity, management of existing antimicrobials, and rapid detection of AMR pathogens.

Areas covered: This manuscript discusses some conventional strategies to control microbial resistance. The main purpose of the manuscript is to present information on specific herbal medicines that may serve as good treatment alternatives to conventional antimicrobials for infections sensitive to conventional as well as resistant strains of microorganisms.

Expert commentary: Identification of potential new antimicrobials is challenging; however, one source for potential structurally diverse and complex antimicrobials are natural products. Natural products may have advantages over other post-germ theory antimicrobials. Many antimicrobial herbal medicines possess simultaneous antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal and/or antiviral properties. Herbal products have the potential to boost host resistance to infections, particularly in immunocompromised patients. Antimicrobial broad-spectrum activity in conjunction with immunostimulatory properties may help to prevent microbial resistance to herbal medicine. As part of the efforts to broaden use of herbal medicines to treat microbial infections, pre-clinical and clinical testing guidelines of these compounds as a whole should be implemented to ensure consistency in formulation, efficacy and safety.



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