Cough, as a defensive reflux mechanism, removes foreign objects and secretions from bronchi and bronchioles of airways. Zataria multiflora is a popular plant for treatment of cough in Iranian traditional medicine. The aim of this review was to evaluate the potency of Z. multiflora as an alternative treatment in management of acute cough and its possible mechanisms of action. Here the authors compiled information about Z. multiflora in the treatment of cough from all accessible resources and books. The results of this investigation showed that there were five clinical studies that evaluated the efficacy of Z. multiflora essential oil or extract alone (n = 1), in combination with Althaea officinalis (n = 2) or Foeniculum vulgare essential oil (n = 1), in the form of syrup (n = 3), oral drop (n = 1) and soft capsule (n = 1), for the treatment of acute cough in comparison with placebo or synthetic drugs (bromhexine, dextromethorphan and clobutinol). All clinical studies confirmed the efficacy of Z. multiflora in the amelioration of acute cough in pediatric (n = 1) and adult patients (n = 4) without any adverse effects. Different mechanisms, such as anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, relaxant and immune-enhancement, may be responsible for the efficacy of Z. multiflora in cough relief. Other clinical trials can be performed with Z. multiflora in combination with ivy leaf extract or primrose root extract on patients with cough.
Althaea officinalis; Cough; Foeniculum vulgare; Medicine, Iranian traditional; Zataria multiflora