The Role of Iranian Medicinal Plants of the Asteraceae Family in Pain Therapy: A Systematic Review

Keywords: Antinociceptive, Herbal medicines, Extract, Essential oil, Iran, Asteraceae family


Asteraceae or Compositae is considered as one of the main flowering plants around the world which presently have more than 23,600 accepted species from 1,620 genera and 13 subfamilies. The present study aims to systematically review the role of Iranian medicinal plants of the family Asteraceae in pain therapy. We searched several databases, including Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE, Google Scholar, MagIran, and SID without time limitation for publications related to antinociceptive effects of Iranian medicinal herbs of the Ateraceae family. Studies in any language were entered in the search phase if they had an English abstract. Of the 1080 papers obtained from all of the databases up to 2020, 20 articles were reliable and were scrutinized. The most abundant parts of these plants are aerial parts (17 papers, 85%). Based on the obtained results, the most abundant products were hydroalcohol extract (10 papers, 45.5%) and essential oils (8 papers, 40%) of the medicinal herbs of the Asteraceae family. The most frequently tests used were formalin test (77.3%), followed by writhing test (54.5%) and tail-flick test (36.4%). The findings of the present review demonstrated that the Iranian medicinal herbs of the Asteraceae family are generally used to treat and reduce pain. Although herbs in this family may be considered as alternative agents for pain treatment, further studies are required to clear the accurate anti-nociceptive mechanisms as well as toxicity of these plants in human subjects.


Johnson Q, Borsheski R, Reeves-Viets JR. A Review of Management of Acute Pain Mo Med. 2013; 110(1):74–9.

Carr DB, Leonidas GC. Acute pain. The Lancet. 1999;353:2051–8.

Cohen MJ, Schecter WP. Perioperative pain control: A strategy for management. Surg Clin N Am. 2005:1243–57.

Dunckley P, Wise RG, et al. A comparison of visceral and somatic pain processing in the human brainstem using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Journal of Neuroscience. 2005;25(32):7333–41.

Hollmann MW, Durieux ME. Local anesthetics and the inflammatory response: A new therapeutic indication. Anesthesiology. 2000;93(3):858–75

Ballantine JC, Mao J. (2003). Opioid therapy for chronic pain. N Engl J Med 349:1943–53.

Chapman CR, Casey KL, Dubner R, et al. (1985). Pain measurement: An overview. Pain 22:1–31.

Foley KM. The treatment of cancer pain. New England Journal of Medicine. 1985;313(2):84-95.

Khazir J, Mir BA, Mir SA, et al. Natural products as lead compounds in drug discovery. J Asian Nat Prod Res 2013;15(7):764-88 .

Wachtel-Galor S, Benzie IFF. Herbal medicine: an introduction to its history, usage, regulation, current trends, and research needs. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal medicine: biomolecular and clinical aspects. 2nd edition. CRC Press; Boca Raton (FL);2011.

Mishra BB, Tiwari VK. Natural products in drug discovery: clinical evaluations and investigations. Oppor Chall Scope Nat Prod Med Chem 2011;1:1-61.

Cragg GM, Newman DJ. Natural products: a continuing source of novel drug leads. Biochim Biophys Acta 2013;1(6):3670-95

Bessada AMF, Barriera J, Oliviera M. Asteraceae species with most prominent bioactivity and their potential applications: A review. Ind Crops Prod 2015; 76:604-15.

Narasimhulu G, Reddy KK, Mohamed J. The genus polygonum (Polygonaceae): an ethnopharmacological and phytochemical perspectives - review. J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2014;6:21-45.

Muley B, Khadabadi S, Banarase N. Phytochemical constituents and pharmacological activities of Calendula officinalis Linn (Asteraceae): a review. Trop J Pharm Res. 2009;8:455-465.

Golshani S, Karamkhani F, Monsef-Esfehani HR, Abdollahi M. Antinociceptive effects of the essential oil of Dracocephalum kotschyi in the mouse writhing test. J pharm pharm Sci. 2004 Apr 20;7(1):76-9.

Eidi A, Oryan S, Zaringhalam J, Rad M. Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of the aerial parts of Artemisia dracunculus in mice. Pharmaceutical biology. 2016 Mar 3;54(3):549-54.

Farahpour MR. Antioxidant activity, Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Pot marigold hydroalcoholic extract on experimental animals. Inter. J. Pharm. Tech. Res. 2014;1:974-4304.

Sofiabadi M, Azhdari-Zarmehri H, Naderi F, Ghalandari-Shamami M, Sonboli A, Haghparast A. Effects of hydroalcoholic extract of tanacetum sonbolii (Asteraceae) on pain-related behaviors during formalin test in mice. Basic and Clinical Neuroscience. 2014;5(2):162.

Maham M, Moslemzadeh H, Jalilzadeh-Amin G. Antinociceptive effect of the essential oil of tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus). Pharmaceutical biology. 2014 Feb 1;52(2):208-12.

Zeraati F, Esna-Ashari F, Araghchian M, Emam AH, Rad MV, Seif S, Razaghi K. Evaluation of topical antinociceptive effect of Artemisia absinthium extract in mice and possible mechanisms. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2014 May 22;8(19):492-6.

Fathi M, Hosseinmardi N, Rohampour K, Janahmadi M, Sonboli A, Zaringhalam J. Anti-nociceptive effect of Tanacetum Fisherae on formalin-induced inflammatory pain in rats. Physiology and Pharmacology. 2016;20(3):189-96.

Hassanzadeh-Kiabi F, Negahdari B. Antinociceptive synergistic interaction between Achillea millefolium and Origanum vulgare L. extract encapsulated in liposome in rat. Artificial cells, nanomedicine, and biotechnology. 2018;46(5):994-1000.

Hadi A, Hossein N, Shirin P, Najmeh N, Abolfazl M. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of Artemisia absinthium and chemical composition of its essential oil. Int J Pharm Sci Rev Res. 2014;38:237-44.

Darabian A, Mosavi Z, Asgarpanah J, Bakhtiarian A. In vivo analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of the essential oil from Artemisia sieberi fruit. Research Journal of Pharmacognosy. 2017;4(4):7-15.

Tadayoni Z, Shafaroodi H, Asgarpanah J. Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory activities of the essential oil from Artemisia aucheri boiss. Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants. 2018;21(2):440-8.

Oryan S, Nasri S, Amin G, Kazemi-Mohammady SM. Anti nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of aerial parts of Gundelia tournefortii L. on NMRI male mice. Journal of Shahrekord Uuniversity of Medical Sciences. 2011;12.

Fallahzadeh AR, Mohammadi S. An investigation of the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of hydroalcoholic extract of Inula helenium on male rats. Journal of Babol University of Medical Sciences. 2016;18(12):57-63.

Ebrahimi T, Setorki M, Dastanpour N. Antinociceptive effects of Artemisia persica boiss essential oil in male mice using formalin and tail immersion tests. Qom University of Medical Sciences Journal. 2019;12(11):23-31.

Asgari A, Parvin N. The analgesic effect of ethanolic extract of Tanacetum parthenium in acetic acid model. Zahedan J Res Med Sci. 2013;15(8):22-5.

Kazemzadeh M, Yaghmaei P, Mohammadi S. Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory Effects of Tanacetum balsamita Essential Oil and One of Its Major Constituents (Quercetin) in Male Rats. Clinical Neurology and Neuroscience. 2017;1(3):60-6.

Zarei M, Mohammadi S, Komaki A. Antinociceptive activity of Inula britannica L. and patuletin: In vivo and possible mechanisms studies. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2018;219:351-8.

Sayyah M, Hadidi N, Kamalinejad M. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of Lactuca sativa seed extract in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;92(2-3):325-9.

Zarei M, Mohammadi S, Shahidi S, Fallahzadeh AR (2017) Effects of Sonchus asper and apigenin-7-glucoside on nociceptive behaviours in mice. J Pharm Pharmacogn Res;5(4):217-27.

Golshani Y, Mohammadi S. Antinociceptive and Acute Toxicity Effects of Erigeron acer L. In Adult Male Rats. J. Med. Plants. 2017;16(62):85-93.

Vahidi A, Dashti MH, Jamaladdini SH. Antinociceptive effect of chamomill on formalin induced pain in rat. Sci J Shahid Sadoughi Univ Med Sci Health Ser. 2001;9(2):60-5.

Stockwell C. Nature’s pharmacy: a history of plants and healing. Random House, London, UK, 1988.

World Health Organization. WHO traditional medicine strategy 2014–2023. WHO, Geneva, Switzerland, 2013.

World Health Organization. The use of herbal medicine in primary health care. In: Report of the Regional Meeting. 10–12 March 2009, Yangon, Myanmar. WHO, New Delhi. 2009. World Health Organization. In: Adherence to long term therapies: evidence for action. WHO, Geneva, Switzerland, 2003.

Karak P. Biological activities of flavonoids: an overview. Int J Pharm Sci & Res. 2019 10(4): 1567-74.

Ferraz CR, Carvalho TT, Manchope MF, Artero NA, Rasquel-Oliveira FS, Fattori V, et al. Therapeutic potential of flavonoids in pain and inflammation: mechanisms of action, pre-clinical and clinical data, and pharmaceutical development. Molecules. 2020;25(3):762.

Ginwala R, Bhavsar R, Chigbu DI, Jain P, Khan ZK. Potential role of flavonoids in treating chronic inflammatory diseases with a special focus on the anti-inflammatory activity of apigenin. Antioxidants. 2019;8:35. doi: 10.3390/antiox8020035.

Verri WA, Vicentini FT, Baracat MM, Georgetti SR, Cardoso D, Cunha TM, et al. Flavonoids as Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Drugs: Mechanisms of Action and Perspectives in the Development of Pharmaceutical Forms. In: Rahman A.U., editor. Studies in Natural Products Chemistry. 1st ed. Volume 36. Elsevier; Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 2012. pp. 297–330.

Paduch R, Trytek M, Król SK, Kud J, Frant M, Kandefer-Szerszeń M, et al. Biological activity of terpene compounds produced by biotechnological methods. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2016 Jun 2;54(6):1096-107.

Martin-Smith M, Khatoon T. Biological activity of the terpenoids and their derivatives. InProgress in Drug Research/Fortschritte der Arzneimittelforschung/Progrès des recherches pharmaceutiques 1963 (pp. 279-346). Birkhäuser Basel.

Guimarães AG, Serafini MR, Quintans-Júnior LJ. Terpenes and derivatives as a new perspective for pain treatment: a patent review. Expert opinion on therapeutic patents. 2014;24(3):243-65.

Review Article