Background: The use of natural products, especially from plant origin is antique. Undoubtedly, a type of plant-derived product, essential oils have gained much attention, due to their promising biological activities and diverse applicability. Diterpenes, the family members of essential oils are reported for various important biological activities. This revision aimed to sketch a current scenario on diterpenes acting on the respiratory system.
Methods: A search was made in the electronic databases (PubMed, Science Direct, Medline, Scopus, Medline, Atlantics, Web of Science, Springer, American Chemical Society, SciFinder, and Google scholar) as published articles. To date (December 2016), a total 2583 articles were found on the search topics, among them only 49 were included in this study.
Results: Findings suggest that diterpenes may act through various pathways in the respiratory system, such as airway constriction/relaxation, anti-inflammatory and cytogenotoxic/cytoprotective mechanisms, molecular signals and so on.
Conclusion: Diterpenes may be one of the most promising sources of respiratory medicine. More researches are highly appreciated on diterpenic lung protective traits.