Human health sciences—From cultivation to utilization of medicinal plants


The aim of this review is to recognize the ability of plants used as food and medicine for our health care. From this point of view, we have studied economical production techniques of medicinal plants and vegetables that have physiological functions such as disease prevention, health maintenance and improvement of physical function. We revealed the suitable cultivation techniques such as the long-term freezing seed storage, and systematic and efficient seedling production of Swertia japonica in the future domestication in Japan. We have also studied the development of a new and friendly product for preparing decoction of Kampo medicine (Japanese traditional medicine) to utilize medicinal plants effectively. It was possible that the decoction of some Kampo medicines in a micro-wavable container could be carried out in substitution for a common method. This study revealed that the improvement of decoction method of Kampo medicine might contribute to conserve the energic or natural resources, especially medicinal plants of crude drugs in comparison with the conventional way. Moreover, the reevaluation of some vegetables such as Japanese radish and carrot in terms of the suitability as materials for “Yakuzen”, and creating and producing of newly low potassium tomatoes for improving the quality of life (QOL) of dialysis patients and potassium restricted patients were also studied by focusing traditional and local vegetables. Some local cultivars containing stronger flavor and taste with higher amount of functional constituents are suitable for our health care than F1 (first filial generation) cultivars. Our research will give feedback each other by cross cutting way, and human health science from the cultivation to utilization of medicinal plants and vegetables will be important and needed for our healthy and comfortable life in the future.

Share and Cite:

Ikegami, F. , Wang, Y. , Kaneko, M. , Sumino, M. and Tsukagoshi, S. (2012) Human health sciences—From cultivation to utilization of medicinal plants. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2, 214-224. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2012.22031.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. (2009) Health, labour and welfare report 2008-2009, Part 2, No. 62.
[2] Japan Society for Oriental Medicine. (2005) Introduction to KAMPO. Elsevier Japan, Tokyo.
[3] Tokui, N., Minari, Y., Zhang, Z.L. and Guo, X. (2003) Yakuzen to Chuigaku. Kenpakusha, Tokyo, 2-32.
[4] Akiba, T. (2010) History of Kampo extracts for Medical use. Kampo Medicine, 61, 881-888.
[5] Ikegami, F. (2001) Herbal drugs in Kampo medicines in present-day Japan. Emerging drugs Vol. 1: Molecular aspects of Asian medicines. PJD Publication Ltd., New Hyde Park, 489-507.
[6] Ikegami, F., Fujii, Y., Ishihara, K. and Satoh, T. (2003) Toxicological aspects of Kampo medicines in clinical use. Chemical-Biological Interaction, 145, 235-250. doi:10.1016/j.tox.2004.01.029
[7] Ikegami, F., Sumino, M., Fujii, Y., Akiba, T. and Satoh, T. (2006) Pharmacology and toxicology of Bupleurum root-containing Kampo medicines in clinical use. Human & Experimental Toxicology, 25, 481-494. doi:10.1177/0884533609342437
[8] The Japanese Pharmacopoeia (2011) The Japanese Pharmacopoeia. 16th Edition, Hirokawa Publishing Co., Tokyo.
[9] Kang, D. (2011) Resources of medicinal herbs: Considerations for the necessity of domestic production. Kampo & the Newest Therapy, 20, 131-136.
[10] Ozaki, K., Shibano, M., Kusano G. and Watanabe, H. (2007) Aim for production of Glycyrrhizae Radix in Japan (1). A novel cultivation method of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisher. Shoyakugaku Zasshi, 61, 89-92.
[11] Ozaki, K., Shibano, M., Kusano, G. and Watanabe, H. (2010) Aim for production of Glycyrrhizae Radix in Japan (2). Selection of pharmaceutically fine strains from Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisher. Shoyakugaku Zasshi, 64, 76-82.
[12] Jiho Editorial Department. (2011) National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Kajima Corporation and Chiba University developed the system for the stable domestic production of high-quality Glycyrrhiza uralensis (glabra). Pharmaceutical Technology Japan, 27, 2390.
[13] Ikegami, F., Kaneko, M., Tsukagoshi, S., Ito, T., Nagatsuka, T., Matsumoto, J. and Miyamoto H. (2008) Development of the cultivation system for organic herbal medicine. The 128th Annual Meeting of Pharmaceutical Society of Japan, 2, 57.
[14] Japan Speciality Agriculture Products Association. (2007) Yakuyo-sakumotsu betsu Todoufuken Saibai Gaikyo, 18.
[15] Kaneko, M., Tsukagoshi, S., Yanagisawa, K., Yamada, M., Motoki, S., Hagihara, Y. and Ikegami, F. (2011) Effects of freezing of Swertia japonica seeds on germination, seedling yield and swertiamarin content. Shoyakugaku Zasshi, 65, 39-42.
[16] Yamada, M., Tsukagoshi, S., Yanagisawa, K., Kaneko, M., Motoki, S., Hagihara, Y. and Ikegami, F. (2011) Effects of strage temperature and gibberellin pretreatment on germination rate of Swertia japonica Seed. Horticultural Research (Japan), 10, 321-324.
[17] Kaneko, M., Tsukagoshi, S., Ikegami, F., Yanagisawa, K., Motoki, S. and Hagihara, Y. (2012) Effect of varieties, plant age and altitude of production site on swertiamarin content in Swertia japonica. Acta Horti-culture, in press.
[18] Wang, Y., Sumino, M., Chino, A. and Ikegami, F. (2011) Study on a new decoction method of Kampo medicine by a microwave oven. Journal of Traditional Medicines, 28, 92.
[19] Ikegawa, K., Takayanagi, H. and Anan, T. (1990) Quantitative analysis of tea constituents, 7: Tannin. Tea Research Journal, 71, 52-53.
[20] Sumino, M., Saito, Y., Ikegami F. and Namiki T. (2011) Chemical analysis of the constituents in the residual crude drugs of shosaikoto. Journal of Traditional Medicines, 28, 75.
[21] Tsukagoshi, S., Inuzuka, S., Hohjo, M., Ikegami, F., Takenaga, S., Nakao, C., Uryu, N., Hagiwara, T., Aoki, H. and Hanamura, T. (2011) Evaluation of Japanese radish cultivars in terms of medicinal properties for “Yakuzen” dishes. HortResearch, 65, 81-86.
[22] Tsukagoshi, S., Takano, A., Hohjo, M., Ikegami, F., Hagiwara, T., Nakao, C., Yamada, K., Hanamura, T., Takenaga, S. and Aoki, H. (2011) Evaluation of some local cultivars of carrot in terms of the suitability as materials for “Yakuzen” dishes. Journal of Traditional Medicines, 28, 106-114.
[23] Watanabe, K. (1988) Carotenoid pigments in red, orange and yellow root of carrot (Daucus carota L.) cultivars. Japan Journal of Food Engi-neering, 35, 315-320.
[24] Takahashi, A., Okushima, S., Kodama, H. and Yoshida, K. (2001) Constituent and sensory changes of different types of carrots after freezing and frozen storage. Food Preservation Science, 27, 119-132. doi:10.5891/jafps.27.119
[25] Kjeldsen, F., Christensen, L.P. and Edelenbos, M. (2001) Quantitative analysis of aroma compounds in carrot (Daucus carota L.) cultivars by capillary gas chromatography using large-volume injection technique. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, 49, 4342-4348. doi:10.1021/jf010213n
[26] Kreutzmann, S., Thybo, A.K., Edelenbos, M. and Christensen, L.P. (2008) The role of volatile compounds on aroma and flavor perception in coloured raw carrot genotypes. Journal of Food Science Technology, 43, 1619-1627. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.2007.01662.x
[27] Nakamura, Y., Iwahashi, T., Tanaka, A., Koutani, J., Matsuo, T., Okamoto, S., Sato, K. and Ohtsuki, K. (2001) 4-(methylthio)-3-butenylisothiocyanate, a principal anti-mutagen in Daikon (Raphanus sativus; Japanese white radish). Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, 49, 5755- 5760. doi:10.1021/jf0108415
[28] Hamano, E., Tsukagoshi, S., Hohjo, M. and Ikegami, F. (2009) Production of tomato fruits containing low potassium for kidney disease. 3. Potassium concentration in the fruits of some cultivars as affected by withdrawal of potassium in the nutrient solution. Horticultural Research (Japan), 8, 511.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.