Application of the "-Omic-" Technologies in Phytomedicine


  • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn, Medical Policlinic, Bonn, D-5311, Germany
  • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn, Heinrich Heine University of Dusseldorf,, Bonn, Germany
  • University of Munich, Department of Pharmacy, Munich, D-81377, Germany


The proof of efficacy of phytopreparations and the determination of their mode of action are permanent challenges for an evidence-based phytotherapy. The technology platform of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics ("-omic-" technologies) are high-throughput technologies. They increase substantially the number of proteins/genes that can be detected simultaneously and have the potential to relate complex mixtures to complex effects in the form of gene/ protein expression profiles. Provided that phytopreparation-specific signatures in the form of gene/protein expression profiles can be developed, these technologies will be useful for the chemical and pharmacological standardization and the proof of the toxicological potential of a plant extract. Over a long-term perspective they may economize the proof of efficacy, the determination of the mode of action of phytomedicines and allow to investigate herbal extracts without prominent active principle(s). The application of this genomics revealed already that gene expression profiles induced by single drugs and the ones induced by the combination of the same drugs can be entirely different. These results make the information of the mode of action of isolated "active principles/lead substances" of phytopreparations questionable. The application of the "-omic-" technologies may lead to a change of paradigms towards the application of complex mixtures in medicine and open the new field of phytogenomics, -proteomics and -metabolomics.


Phytomedicine, Genomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics, Synergy.

Subject Discipline

Pharmacy and Pharmacology

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