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Colombo M.L.,University of Turin | Dalfra S.,Directorate General of Food Safety and Nutrition | Scarpa B.,Directorate General of Food Safety and Nutrition
Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research | Year: 2012

The scientific evidence of ethnobotany related to health-food plants use, is an urgent request referring to the botanical-based food supplements. The necessity to verify its scientific validity springs from the fact that plants produce thousands of active metabolites, not always quantifiable one by one. From this complex picture, it is clear that we need to define some criteria to be used in the studies of biologically active plants. One criterion, valid and effective, implies the statistical elaboration of data obtained from an ethnobotany survey, derived from traditional use as a starting point in experiments for the proof of biological activity. About three-quarters of the biologically active compounds presently in use worldwide, have been discovered through follow-up research to verify the authenticity of the data based on folk and ethnobotanical use. Over hundreds of years, man acquired a great knowledge on the use of plants, knowledge which must be safeguarded and considered scientifically valid. Source

Colombo M.L.,University of Turin | Dalfra S.,Directorate General of Food Safety and Nutrition | Scarpa B.,Directorate General of Food Safety and Nutrition
Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism | Year: 2011

Since the beginning of civilization, people have used plants to improve their health. In recent years, there has been a reawakened scientific interest in the fundamental role plants play in many areas, including human health. Beginning from the 20th century, the field of folk tradition experienced a shift from the raw compilation of data to a greater methodological and conceptual reorientation. Research has concentrated mainly on the following periods: the Roman period, the Medieval Ages, the Renaissance, and the Modern Ages, and thousands of documentations focused that Italy and the whole of Europe have a consolidated tradition in the use of plants for wellness and human health, and not only as food. In Italy, at present there are about 5,000 "erboristeria" shops in which dried herbs and spices are sold packed or unpacked and mixed according to the consumer's request. The purpose of this paper is to underline that a large enough body of evidence has survived to show that the folk tradition was impressively wide in its botanical reach and equally impressive in the range of situations it treated. The review will focus on the links between plants and traditions, art and history of typical Italian and European food plants. There has been a growing body of evidence and research, which studies the efficacy and safety of employing traditional knowledge based on approaches to health and healing. A significant number of food plant and/or plants for wellness have been used successfully for centuries, and in some cases millenniums. Many plants have a long and established history of use, no apparent adverse side effects, and social acceptance. © Springer-Verlag 2011. Source

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