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Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(11):1623-1632. doi: 10.2174/1381612822666161021143332.

Medicinal Plants for the Treatment of Asthma: A Traditional Persian Medicine Perspective.

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Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Biotechnology Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.



To search major Traditional Persian Medicine (TPM) textbooks for medicinal plants used to treat asthma. The conformity of the TPM findings on the anti-asthmatic efficacy of plants with the findings of pharmacological studies was also explored.


Major TPM textbooks were hand searched to find medicinal plants used for the treatment of asthma. Scientific names of TPM-suggested plants were determined using botanical databases and were used for a multidatabase electronic search in PubMed, Scopus, ScienceDirect and Google Scholar databases. Then, the antiasthmatic effectiveness of TPM-recommended plants was verified in view of the findings from modern pharmacological investigations.


According to the main TPM texts, Adianthum capillus-veneris, Boswellia oleogumresin, Crocus sativus, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Hyssopus officinalis and Ruta graveolens were the most efficacious medicinal plants for the treatment of asthma. This finding was confirmed by pharmacological studies which showed counterbalancing effects of the above-mentioned plants on inflammation, oxidative stress, allergic response, tracheal smooth muscle cell constriction and airway remodeling.


The strong ethnobotanical background of plants used in TPM could be a valuable tool to find new anti-asthmatic medications. In this review, TPM-suggested anti-asthmatic plants were found to possess several mechanisms relevant to the treatment of respiratory diseases according to the information retrieved from modern pharmacological studies. This high degree of conformity suggested further proof-of-concept trials to ascertain the role of these plants in the routine management of asthmatic patients.


Asthma; lung; medicinal plants; traditional medicine

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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