The first edition of the Hospitaller Brothers Herbal Medicine Conference organized in cooperation with academic centers took place on November 29th, 2019 at the Okopowa Caritas Center in Warsaw.
The event was organized under the patronage of the Provincial of the Polish Province of the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was attended by over 100 participants from various environments related to phytotherapy, including the scientists from the departments of pharmaceutical botany, pharmacognosy, pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology, as well as medical doctors conducting clinical trials in the field of herbal medicine.
We were honored with the presence of the representatives of the Chief Pharmaceutical Inspectorate, the Mazowieckie Voivodeship Pharmaceutical Inspectorate, the Pharmaceutical Chamber, the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocidal Products, and with the representatives of media. The conference was co-organized by the Section of Phytotherapy of the Polish Medical Society and the Bonifraters Medical Center.
A good location of the event, efficient organization and a pleasant atmosphere of the conference were ensured by the team of the Bonifraters Medical Center in Warsaw in consultation with the Organizing Committee.
Knowledge competition in phytotherapy was accompanying the conference, that were organized and sponsored by the Brother Provincial and Boni Fratres Pharmaceutical copany, that enjoyed a great interest among the conference attendees. As a result, the sets of Boni Fratres' products were gifted to the winners.
There were also sponsors who supported us financially in the organization of the conference: Alab Laboratoria Sp. z o.o., Wilcaccora Herbal Medicine Center, Phytopharm Klęka S.A., Ziołolek Sp. z o.o., Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń S.A. and Boni Fratres Pharmaceutical Sp. z o.o.
Overview of the oral presentations
Plenary lectures and 4 scientific sessions gave the participants an opportunity to listen to 23 interesting lectures focused on the compositional studies and biological activity determination of medicinal plants, extracts and natural products, on modern phytotherapeutical practices in the face of globalization and community legal regulations, progress in pharmaceutical technology of plant products, in vitro cultures as sources of biologically active secondary metabolites or phytotherapy in current scientific and clinical issues.
The lectures were started by the Provincial - brother Łukasz Dmowski, who presented the history and mission of the Order of Hospitallers Brothers, the St. John of God and mentioning the tradition of herbal medicine in the Polish Province. Prof. dr hab. n. farm Anita Magowska from the Department of History of Philosophy and Medical Sciences, from the Poznan University of Medical Sciences, discussed the history of plant medicine and its position in the context of traditional medical systems of the Far East and the development of Western medicine.
In the sessions no. 1 A entitled "Research on the biological activity of plant derived components" and 1B entitled "Progress in pharmaceutical technology of plant-derived components" 7 reports were presented. In the first one, dr. Elżbieta Studzińska-Sroka discussed the results of an in vitro analysis of the hypoglycemic and antioxidant activity of nine commercial preparations distributed in the form of herbal fix teas available in Poland. In the second speech, dr. Justyna Nowakowska compared the in vitro antimitotic activity of two preparations against the estrogen-dependent breast adenoma cell ine, one being an atomized extract of Uncaria tomentosa bark and the other made of a similar crushed and powdered bark and spores of Reishi mushroom. In the next report, dr. Anna Głowniak-Lipa presented a report on the studies evaluating the in vitro activity of selected essential oils available on the market in Poland against clinical strains of Helicobacter pylori, both sensitive and resistant to antibiotics and chemotherapeutic agents that could be used in eradication therapy. In the last report of the session 1A, prof. dr. Monika Sienkiewicz gave a lecture on the activity of the selected essential oils and their components alone and in combination with synthetic antimicrobial agents. In the first report of session no. 1B, prof. dr. Małgorzata Sznitowska comprehensively discussed the factors limiting the development of dermatological plant medicinal products. In the second report of this session, prof. dr. Marian Mikołaj Zgoda presented lithogenolytic and solubilizing properties of ivy leaf extraction products, discussing the influence of various extraction techniques on the useful properties of extracts. Then, together with dr. Stanisława Nowak prof. Zgoda presented the results of the study on the extracts from linden inflorescences, in which he showed how the extracts with the expected pharmacotherapeutic profile can be obtained from the plant material with the application of a selective set of the extraction solvents.
In the session no. 2 entitled "Phytotherapy facing globalization and community legal regulations" lectures were delivered by dr. Andrzej Ostrowicz from the Polish Herbal Committee, who shared, among others, experience from his activities at the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP), prof. dr. Kazimierz Głowniak from the Department of Cosmetology of the UITM in Rzeszów, who referred, among others, to the results of his work as an expert of the traditional Chinese medicine group of the European Pharmacopoeia Commission, and Dariusz Szabela, MD, PhD, medical director of the Bonifratres Medical Center in Warsaw, who discussed his experience, previously presented at the national and global neurorehabilitation congress in the field of supporting neurological rehabilitation with preparations derived from Chinese traditional medicine.
In the session No. 3A entitled "Research on the composition and biological activity of plant material and extracts" and session No. 3B entitled "In vitro cultures as sources of biologically active secondary metabolites" presented 9 reports.
Session No. 3A was started by Mrs Anna Kimel, M.Sc., who discussed and compared the composition of Arnica montana and Arnica chamissonis flowers and the whole Arnica montana plant. In the second report, associate professor Wirginia Kukuła-Koch discussed the possibilities of modern analytical techniques in the identification of metabolites in a mixture and in the search for metabolites fighting memory impairment, on the example of Mexican poppy and barberry extracts. Then Prof. dr. Daniel Załuski presented the results on the potential action of the adaptogenic extract from the eleutherococcus fruit. Later dr. Loretta Pobłocka-Olech presented a report in which the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of leaves from various species and varieties of poplar were assessed. In the following presentation prof. dr. Mirosława Krauze-Baranowska spoke about the anti-inflammatory activity of fruits from the selected red raspberry and black raspberry cultivars assessed in in vivo studies. Then, dr. Karina Schönknecht, MD, presented a report in which the antiviral activity of VBF (Virus Blocking Factor) against human viral pathogens responsible for causing respiratory tract infections was tested in vitro. Another report was presented by dr. Katarzyna Gaweł Bęben, who discussed the application of extracts and single natural rpoducts with a skin lightening effect. In session no. 3B, the first report by dr. Ewa Koch discussed the stimulation of ginsenosides biosynthesis in root cultures of the transformed five-leaf ginseng. The second report was delivered by Beata Kawka, M.Sc., who showed the research on optimizing the in vitro culture conditions of Aronia, Schisandra and Scutellaria species, which favored the production of antioxidants.
In session no. 4 entitled "Phytotherapy facing current scientific and clinical issues" prof. dr. Jarosław Woroń from the University Hospital in Krakow and the Department of Clinical Pharmacology of the Department of Pharmacology of the Medical College of the Jagiellonian University, presented his view on the problem of interaction of plant and synthetic drugs. Also, in this session prof. dr. Irena Matławska from the University of Education and Therapy in Poznań discussed the concept of rational phytotherapy and the role of epigenetics in this context.
Competition for the award of the Provincial of the Polish Province of the Order of Brothers Hospitallers
of Saint John of God for the most interesting scientific work of a young scientist
The Provincial Award for a young scientist for the most interesting report was won by the work entitled "Evaluation of antidiabetic properties of selected plant preparations available in Poland." developed in the Department of Pharmacognosy of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Poznan University of Medical Sciences by MSc farm. Mariusz Wieczorek, dr. Elżbieta Studzińska-Sroka, associate professor Judyta Cielecka-Piontek.
The Provincial also awarded two distinctions for the following reports: "Essential oils in the therapy of Helicobacter pylori infections" from the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów and the Medical University of Lublin developed by a team consisting of dr. Anna Głowniak-Lipa, associate professor Izabela Korona-Głowniak, associate professor Agnieszka Ludwiczuk, associate professor Tomasz Baj, prof. dr. Anna Malm
"Natural ingredients of cosmetics reducing skin discoloration - effective and safe?" from the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów, Department of Cosmetology, Faculty of Medicine developed by dr. Katarzyna Gaweł-Bęben, Beata Antosiewicz MD, MSc. Eng. Marcelina Strzępek and prof. dr. Kazimierz Glowniak.
All lectures were accompanied by an interesting and lively scientific discussion. Participants of the conference pointed to the need for a wider use of phytotherapy in the treatment of patients in Poland, as well as the continuation of scientific conferences on herbal medicine.
Scientific editing of English abstracts from oral sessions:
Wirginia Kukuła-Koch, PhD habilitated in pharmaceutical sciences, university professor, Department of Pharmacognosy with Medicinal Plants Garden, Medical University of Lublin