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24.03.2020 | main topic | Ausgabe 9-10/2020 Open Access

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 9-10/2020

From St. John’s wort to tomato and from Rhodiola to cranberry

A review of phytotherapy and some examples

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 9-10/2020
Verena Weixlbaumer, Lukas Draxler, MD Markus Zeitlinger, Benedikt Prantl
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This study evaluated the definition, the prevalence of use and the governmental regulations of phytotherapy and four examples of herbal medicine are discussed in more detail.


This research group evaluated 4 topics: St. John’s wort for treating (mild to moderate) depression, tomato extract as a platelet inhibitor, Rhodiola against stress-related fatigue and cranberries for the treatment of urinary tract infections.


The findings were diverse and must be individually taken into account. Evidence for efficacy varies within and between the four examples. An explanation for the lack of reproducibility of findings from preclinical and clinical experiments might be the insufficient standardization of herbal medicines. There is no scientific reason why phytotherapy should not be investigated with the same rigor as conventional drugs to establish the efficacy and potential risks. Meanwhile, it is concluded that care is essential when using herbal medicine in the daily routine and informing patients about potential shortcomings and dangers of herbal medicines should be considered a duty of pharmacists and physicians.

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