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Herbal medicines have gained recognition among physicians and patients due to their lower adverse effects compared to modern medicines. They are extensively used to treat various diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular issues, chronic inflammation, microbial contamination, diabetes, obesity, and hepatic disorders, among others. Unfortunately, the clinical application of herbal medicines is limited by their low solubility and inadequate bioavailability. Utilizing herbal medicines in the form of nanocrystals (herbal medicine nanocrystals) has shown potential in enhancing solubility and bioavailability by reducing the particle size, increasing the specific surface area, and modifying the absorption mechanisms. Multiple studies have demonstrated that these nanocrystals significantly improve drug efficacy by reducing toxicity and increasing bioavailability. This review comprehensively examines therapeutic approaches based on herbal medicine nanocrystals. It covers the preparation principles, key factors influencing nucleation and polymorphism control, applications, and limitations. The review underscores the importance of optimizing delivery systems for successful herbal medicine nanocrystal therapeutics. Furthermore, it discusses the main challenges and opportunities in developing herbal medicine nanocrystals for the purpose of treating conditions such as cancer, inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular disorders, mental and nervous diseases, and antimicrobial infections. In conclusion, we have deliberated regarding the hurdles and forthcoming outlook in the realm of nanotoxicity, in vivo kinetics, herbal ingredients as stabilizers of nanocrystals, and the potential for surmounting drug resistance through the utilization of nanocrystalline formulations in herbal medicine. We anticipate that this review will offer innovative insights into the development of herbal medicine nanocrystals as a promising and novel therapeutic strategy.


Mengran Guo, Shugang Qin, Shiyan Wang, Min Sun, Huiling Yang, Xinchun Wang, Ping Fan, Zhaohui Jin. Herbal Medicine Nanocrystals: A Potential Novel Therapeutic Strategy. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2023 Aug 31;28(17)

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PMID: 37687199

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