Background: Echium amoenum Fisch. (Boraginaceae) and C.A. Mey. (Iranian Borage or
Gol-gavzaban) is traditionally applied as a general tonic, cardiotonic, diaphoretic, diuretic, tranquillizer,
and anti-cough in Iran. Despite numerous investigations and continual administrations of E. amoenum
by traditional healers, no specific review of this plant has previously been done.
Objective: The current study aimed to present a critical overview of the phytochemistry and pharmacology
of this plant to outline a possible scope for further investigations.
Methods: An extensive search was performed through various databases such as PubMed, Scopus,
ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar. The exact term “Echium amoenum” was searched, and papers related
to the phytochemical and pharmacological properties of this plant were gathered. Papers focusing
on agriculture and genetics were excluded. Data gathering was completed by May 1, 2015.
Results: The derived papers dealt mostly with the pharmacological activities of the plant, such as its analgesic,
antiviral, antimicrobial, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, antidepressant,
and anti-obsessive-compulsive effects. Some papers focused on phytochemicals, determining its
fatty acid profile, phenolic compounds, volatile constituents, phytosterols, and total alkaloids. There is
some controversy over certain of its antibacterial effects. From all pharmacological evaluations, only
antidepressant, antioxidant, and anxiolytic properties have been studied both experimentally and clinically.
Conclusion: Many clinical properties originating from traditional knowledge remain to be evaluated by
current knowledge. Although the herb in question in this paper did not demonstrate mutagenic activities
in usual doses, the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids may be a factor in hepatotoxicity. Therefore,
E. amoenum must be administered conservatively.