Objective: 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.
Methods: 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
Results: 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.
Conclusion: 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.