Introduction: autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses different syndromes characterized by neurodevelopmental disorders with some fundamental characteristics, which can manifest together or separately, including, difficulty in socializing, restrictive and repetitive behavior patterns. The treatment proposed to combat ASD includes the pharmacological ones, especially with antipsychotic drugs for controlling neurological/behavioral symptoms and the non-pharmacological
measures, mainly behavioral therapies. In recent years, the increase of prevalence generated a miscellany of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), promising satisfactory results. Material and Methods: a systematic review was performed based on articles published from October 1976 to October 2016. Medline, Science Direct, Web of Science and Scopus databases were considered. The key terms used were “ASD”, “Asperger”, “autism”, “healing plants”, “herbal medicine” and “medicinal plants”. In order to be considered in this analysis, were used two inclusion criteria: be performed with crude extract, mixture of herbs or isolated fractions from herbal extracts and have been published in English, Spanish or Portuguese. To ensure the consistency of the process, the recommendations of the
Cochrane Collaboration and PRISMA statement were followed. Two independent reviewers selected the articles according to the inclusion/exclusion criteria. The aim of this systematic review is to give an overview of the use of herbal medicine in ASD. Results: The literature search identified 3157 studies and in this review were included the total of 23 studies. The administration of different herbals preparations
has been used to treat the ASD symptoms. Some of them, including Ginkgo Biloba EGb 761 associated with risperidone and Panax ginseng, did not lead to improvements of the ASD symptoms. On the other hand, preparations as
Yokukansan (YKS) may be effective for the treatment of irritability and hyperactivity. A total of 64 medicinal species were cited in these works, which, lack information on the clinical effectiveness of the compounds and on the preclinical adequate model. Discussion and Conclusion: Although some preliminary results are promising, critically validated models were conducted, with different methodologies and small number of patients. Only after standardization of these preparations and mapping the major secondary metabolites, appropriate clinical trials can definitively prove
the effectiveness of these agents as an add-on treatment of ASD symptoms.


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