Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a spectrum of diseases involving the heart and blood
vessels, and the first cause of mortality worldwide. Medicinal plants have been used for thousands of years to
treat CVD. In Traditional Persian Medicine (TPM), there is a special focus on heart diseases. Avicenna, a Persian
physician of the eleventh century compiled a book devoted to this field named “The treatise on cardiac drugs”
which is a compendium of TPM knowledge on CVD. Avicenna mentioned 50 cardiovascular active plants and
described their therapeutic effects in the treatment of CVDs.
Methods: Here, we perform a detailed search in scientific databases to verify the cardiovascular activities of the
medicinal plants suggested by Avicenna. Also, we discussed cardiovascular activities of a number of the most
important suggested plants as well as their efficacy in clinical studies. Major bioactive compounds identified from
these plants are also discussed.
Results: Pharmacological studies have revealed that the majority of these plants are effective in cardiovascular
health with various mechanisms. Among them, Crocus sativus L., Cinnamomum cassia (L.) J. Presl, Punica
granatum L., Ocimum basilicum L., Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton, Melissa officinalis L. and Phyllanthus
emblica L. have proved to be more effective.
Conclusion: The above-mentioned plants can be rich sources for developing new and effective pharmaceuticals
for the treatment of CVDs.
Keywords: Curcumin, endothelial function, flow-mediated vasodilation, nitroglycerin-mediated dilation, pulse wave velocity, adhesion
molecules, traditional persian medicine, cardiovascular diseases, avicenna, medicinal plants, saffron, pomegranate.
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