Herbal Medicines: Challenges in the Modern World. Part 2. European Union and Russia

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Introduction: Herbal medicines (HMs) have been well known to people of the European Union (EU) and Russia for centuries. Currently, Western HMs can be classified into two categories, plant-derived conventional medicines and dietary supplements. Interest to HMs has grown rapidly in all countries during the past two decades.

Areas covered: The main goal of this review article is to present the history of HMs in the EU and Russia, forms of modern HMs, including Oriental Medicines that are popular among consumers of both countries. Additional discussion points comprise safety and adulteration issues associated with HMs, including regulatory changes and new legislative measures undertaken by the authorities. Materials available from legislative and governmental websites, PubMed and news media were used.

Expert commentary: Due to cultural diversities in the EU and Russia, traditional HMs of other regions, particularly Chinese Traditional and Ayurvedic medicines, are also popular. Recently, dietary supplements containing multiple herbal and other natural products have flooded the EU and Russian markets. Pharmacovigilance in these markets is challenging in terms of establishing quality and safety of ingredients, determining efficacy, and defining risks of herb-herb and herb-drug interactions. Both the EU and Russia have introduced new legislation aimed to overcome these deficiencies.



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