Survey on ethnobotanical uses of anti-cancer herbs in Southern region of Ilam, West Iran

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Mahmoud Bahmani
Amir Sasan Mozaffari Nejad
Naseer Ali Shah
Sayed Afzal Shah
Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaei *
Leila Mahmoodnia
(*) Corresponding Author:
Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaei |


One of the most common problems in the medical world is the resistance of cancer cells to anti-tumor drugs, so finding new anticancer agents with minimal side effect is essential. This study aims at identifying medicinal plants in to the southern region of Ilam province in west Iran, which are traditionally used in the treatment of cancer by herbal practitioners. This study was conducted in the southern district of Ilam province, Iran. The study was conducted from August 2013 to October 2014 by using questionnaire and interview from herbal practitioners. The collected data were analyzed through relative frequency of citation index (RFC). In this study, 36 herbal practitioners were interviewed. A sum of 21 medicinal plants used in variety of cancers from16 families were identified for the Southern District of Ilam. Asteraceae was the dominant plant family, and the most used organ was aerial parts (44%). Dermal cancer was the most treated cancer by herbal practitioners in the region with different herbs. Lawsonia inermis and Satureja khuzistanica were the most cited species for anticancer use. On comparison with the literature it was revealed that 61.9% plants are not scientifically validated against any type of cancer. New therapeutic remedies were reported for the first time and a number of similar effects of the reported plants were found in other studies. As a result of the present study we recommend the plants documented in the present study, which are not pharmacologically assessed, for further pharmacological studies.

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