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

Mahmoud Bahmani, Amir Sasan Mozaffari Nejad, Naseer Ali Shah, Sayed Afzal Shah, Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaei, Leila Mahmoodnia
  • Mahmoud Bahmani
    Biotechnology and Medicinal Plants Research Center, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Amir Sasan Mozaffari Nejad
    Nutrition Health Research Center, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Naseer Ali Shah
    Deartment of Biosciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Sayed Afzal Shah
    Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaei
    Medical Plants Research Center, Basic Health Sciences Institute, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran, Islamic Republic of |
  • Leila Mahmoodnia
    Department of Internal Medicine, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran, Islamic Republic of


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.


Ethnobotany; Medicinal plants; Cancer; Ilam; Iran

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Submitted: 2016-04-16 06:31:46
Published: 2017-09-22 16:13:04
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