Cough is one of the most common medical symptoms for which medical advice is sought. Although cough is a protective reflex responsible for clearing the airways from secretions and foreign bodies, it can be a troublesome symptom that causes discomfort to patients. Due to the increasing interest in herbal remedies in the both developed and developing countries, in the current study, we aimed to overview medicinal herbs containing essential oils used as antitussive agents according to the Traditional Persian Medicine [TPM] textbooks. We summarized the relevant scientific evidence on their possible pharmacological actions.
To collect the evidence for treatment of cough or "seaal" [cough in ancient books] from TPM sources, five main medicinal Persian manuscripts were studied. The antitussive herbs were listed and their scientific names were identified and authenticated in accordance with botanical reference books. ScienceDirect and PubMed online databases were searched for related mechanisms of action of the reported medicinal plants.
The number of 49 herbs containing essential oils were recommended in TPM for the treatment of cough; 21 of them had at least one known mechanism of action for cough suppression in the scientific literature. According to this review, most of the cited medicinal plants were assessed for either nitric oxide inhibitory or antitussive/expectorant activities.
In addition to advantageous effects of antitussive herbs noted by TPM, the present review highlighted some recent evidence-based data on these promising candidates that could be used as an outline for future research on their medicinal use.
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antitussive; cough; drug discovery; drug discoverytraditional medicine; herb; traditional medicine