Developing Phytocompounds From Medicinal Plants as Immunomodulators

Adv Bot Res. 2012;62:197-272. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394591-4.00004-0. Epub 2012 Jun 19.


Imbalance or malfunction of the immune systems is associated with a range of chronic diseases including autoimmune diseases, allergies, cancers and others. Various innate and adaptive immune cells that are integrated in this complex networking system may represent promising targets for developing immunotherapeutics for treating specific immune diseases. A spectrum of phytochemicals have been isolated, characterized and modified for development and use as prevention or treatment of human diseases. Many cytotoxic drugs and antibiotics have been developed from phytocompounds, but the application of traditional or new medicinal plants for use as immunomodulators in treating immune diseases is still relatively limited. In this review, a selected group of medicinal herbs, their derived crude or fractionated phytoextracts and the specific phytochemicals/phytocompounds isolated from them, as well as categorized phytocompound groups with specific chemical structures are discussed in terms of their immunomodulatory bioactivities. We also assess their potential for future development as immunomodulatory or inflammation-regulatory therapeutics or agents. New experimental approaches for evaluating the immunomodulatory activities of candidate phytomedicines are also discussed.

Keywords: Anti-cancer; Immune-related disorders; Immunomodulatory activities; Organosulphur; Terpernoids.