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Roles of Herbal Medicine in Modulating Gut Microbiota Associated with Health and Diseases

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Abstract

The perturbation of gut microbiota is increasingly recognized to be associated with human health and diseases. The modulation of the gut microbiotal community as a means to alleviate disease conditions provides a unique opportunity for herbal medicine, due to the two-way interaction between gut microbiota and herbal medicine. Herbal medicine contains a range of polyphenols that require action from gut microbiota to effectively perform their biological function. The gut microbiota are subsequently stimulated through this action. In this chapter, we outline the associations between gut microbiota and disease (particularly inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes, and cancer), and the roles of herbal medicine in alleviating disease conditions through modulating gut microbiota. In addition, we discuss the functional uses and challenges of herbal medicine, which include the quality control and elucidating mechanisms of action. Finally, we describe how a metabonomics technique can provide a means for the quality control of herbal medicines and can be an efficient tool for elucidating the molecular mechanisms of different herbal treatments. Future research on herbal medicine should be focused on directly measuring altered gut microbiota and integrating this with a mechanistic metabonomics evaluation.

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Wang, Y., & Tang, H. (2015). Roles of Herbal Medicine in Modulating Gut Microbiota Associated with Health and Diseases. In Molecular and Integrative Toxicology (pp. 185–197). Springer Science+Business Media B.V. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4471-6539-2_10

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