Safety of Medicinal Tropical Natural Products – Concerns and Issues

  • Syed Ziaur Rehman Department of Pharmacology Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, India
  • Sulthan Al Rashid Department of Pharmacology Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, India
Keywords: Pharmacovigilance, Tropical products, Unani Medicine, Phytomedicines.


Background: No medicinal product is safe whether it is of streamline medicine or belongs to traditional system of medicine. Tropical products of natural drugs, fruits and supplements, no matter how common it’s clinical uses, have the potential to cause harm. It is true that adverse reactions are a cost of modern medical therapy, but indigenous drugs used in traditional medicines especially herbs and tropical products are also not safe in true sense. In addition, in recent years, there have been several other high-profile herbal safety concerns that have had an impact on the public health, and there is increasing recognition of the need to develop Pharmacovigilance systems for medicinal herbs and tropical products.

Methods: Pharmacovigilance should be a priority for every country with a public health disease. The focused Pharmacovigilance initiatives for the safe treatment of tropical diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis and schistosomiasis, involving the administration of medicines to large communities are being implemented within the same population with little knowledge of, or regard to, how these various medicines could interact with each other. Moreover, Pharmacovigilance approach to tropical herbal products including natural substances and supplements and monitoring the safety of herbal medicines presents unique challenges.

 Results: This paper aims to provide a critical overview of the current state of Pharmacovigilance activities for some tropical diseases and herbal tropical medicines at the national and global levels. It will explore in depth the challenges that Pharmacovigilance of herbal medicines presents, consider relevant emerging issues and what steps could be taken to improve the safety monitoring for herbal medicines in the future.

Conclusion: Pharmacovigilance practices for herbal medicine are different from that of conventional drugs. The existing systems developed for synthetic medicines and

require some modifications to address specific differences of herbal medicines including medicinal products of tropical natural drugs, fruits and supplements. It also needs to be implemented to find and remove secondary toxic metabolites in tropical foods.


Author Biographies

Syed Ziaur Rehman, Department of Pharmacology Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, India



Sulthan Al Rashid, Department of Pharmacology Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, India




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