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Comprehensive review on herbal medicine for energy intake suppression


Dr HK Kim, Department of Pharmacognosy, Section of Metabolomics, Leiden University, Einsteinweg 55 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands. E-mail:


The obesity drug development is present not a bright and successful story. So far, drugs reported to be effective, either from synthetic or natural sources, mostly stimulated controversy because of serious adverse effects, which ended with stopping clinical trials or even withdrawal from the market. However, obesity and its comorbidities have become rapidly a major problem in both developed and developing countries. This has encouraged pharmaceutical companies and academia to keep on struggling on developing novel effective but safe obesity drugs, and on characterizing novel obesity drug targets. From existing scientific work on obesity drug discovery and commercial slimming preparations, compounds originating from nature, especially from plants, seem to be the first choice. Traditional belief that herbal medicine is safer than synthetic ones is one of the classical arguments, although scientifically this is not always true (e.g. ban on Ephedra). But in general, it has been widely acknowledged that a plant compound, with its unique scaffolds and rich diversity is an unlimited source of novel lead compounds. This paper aims to summarize all works focused on screening plant materials by targeting important pathways related to energy intake regulation, either by in vivo or in vitro experiments.