MOJ ISSN: 2379-6383MOJPH

Public Health
Volume 3 Issue 3 - 2015
Ethnopharmacology-Based Chemical Extraction Approaches: Toward Further Optimizing Green Chemistry
Naïrouz Benzeggouta1 and Abdelaziz Ghanemi2,3,4*
1Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, Mohamed Boudiaf University, M’sila, Algeria
2Key Laboratory of Animal Models and Human Disease Mechanisms of the Chinese Academy of Sciences & Yunnan Province, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
3Kunming College of Life Science, China
4University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Received: December 14, 2015 | Published: December 31, 2015
*Corresponding author: Abdelaziz Ghanemi, Key Laboratory of Animal Models and Human Disease Mechanisms of the Chinese Academy of Sciences & Yunnan Province, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, Tel: 008613678784743; Email:
Citation: Benzeggouta N, Ghanemi A (2015) Ethnopharmacology-Based Chemical Extraction Approaches: Toward Further Optimizing Green Chemistry. MOJ Public Health 3(3): 00061. DOI: 10.15406/mojph.2015.03.00061


Ethnopharmacology shows that the extraction of active ingredients from medicinal and aromatic plants began with protocols that used simple natural solvents such as water, vegetable oils and animal fats [1]. Ancient healers made herbal preparations, especially teas and aromatic plants extracts, to obtain therapeutic drugs and preparations used in different aspects of the daily life. Importantly, they knew the importance of hot water in optimizing the active substances extractions [2]. Therefore, the study of traditional medicines [3,4] and Pharmacognosy [5] remains and important filed for medical students and health care professionals [6] especially within the context of modern pharmacological and toxicological sciences [7-10] that provide increasing evidences about the biological effects extracts and natural compounds have on cell cultures [11] and animals [12] and thus, provide starting points to develop new therapies for a variety of pathologies.

It has been reported that the use of organic solvents in the extraction of active ingredients from natural compounds started with Nicolas Lémery (1645-1715), a French apothecary who both used alcohol as a solvent and prolonged the extraction time [13]. Nowadays, phytochemical processes involve a variety of solvents among which many are hazardous to human health, environment and have impacts on biological entities at the cellular and the molecular levels [14]. Green chemistry came to solve these problems by reducing organic solvents use via its fifth principle concerning “safer, nontoxic and environmentally friendly solvents” [15]. Using water in green extraction techniques (which are environmentally friendly) is close to traditional extractions approaches; but under different conditions of heating with an increase in yield and the biological activities of the extracts with a decrease in the extraction time [16]. Indeed, various natural products have been extracted using green techniques including polyphenols [17] and essential oils [18]. It is important to mention that many activities of green extracts have been reported and evaluated especially the antibacterial and antioxidant activities [19].

Green chemistry appears to take their origin from ethnopharmacology which represents historically and scientifically the limitless source of knowledge for all human civilizations. Green chemistry reflects natural ways of extracting medicines in its fifth principle.


Abdelaziz Ghanemi is a recipient of a 2013 CAS-TWAS President’s Postgraduate Fellowship.


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