Potential anti-influenza effective plants used in Turkish folk medicine: A review
AuthorSargin, Seyid Ahmet
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Ethnopharmacological relevance: Due to the outbreaks such as SARS, bird flu and swine flu, which we frequently encounter in our century, we need fast solutions with no side effects today more than ever. Due to having vast ethnomedical experience and the richest flora (34% endemic) of Europe and the Middle East, Turkey has a high potential for research on this topic. Plants that locals have been using for centuries for the prevention and treatment of influenza can offer effective alternatives to combat this problem. In this context, 224 herbal taxa belonging to 45 families were identified among the selected 81 studies conducted in the seven regions of Turkey. However, only 35 (15.6%) of them were found to be subjected to worldwide in vitro and in vivo research conducted on anti-influenza activity. Quercetin and chlorogenic acid, the effectiveness of which has been proven many times in this context, have been recorded as the most common (7.1%) active ingredients among the other 56 active substances identified. Aim of the study: This study has been carried out to reveal the inventory of plant species that have been used in flu treatment for centuries in Turkish folk medicine, which could be used in the treatment of flu or flu-like pandemics, such as COVID 19, that humanity has been suffering with, and also compare them with experimental studies in the literature. Materials and methods: The investigation was conducted in two stages on the subject above by using electronic databases, such as Web of Science, Scopus, ScienceDirect, ProQuest, Medline, Cochrane Library, EBSCO, High-Wire Press, PubMed and Google Scholar. The results of both scans are presented in separate tables, together with their regional comparative analysis. Results: Data obtained on taxa are presented in a table, including anti-influenza mechanism of actions and the active substances. Rosa canina (58.7%) and Mentha x piperita (22.2%) were identified as the most common plants used in Turkey. Also, Sambucus nigra (11.6%), Olea europaea (9.3%), Eucalyptus spp., Melissa officinalis, and Origanum vulgare (7.0%) emerged as the most investigated taxa. Conclusion: This is the first nationwide ethnomedical screening work conducted on flu treatment with plants in Turkey. Thirty-nine plants have been confirmed in the recent experimental anti-influenza research, which strongly shows that these plants are a rich pharmacological source. Also, with 189 (84.4%) taxa, detections that have not been investigated yet, they are an essential resource for both national and international pharmaco-logical researchers in terms of new natural medicine searches. Considering that the production of antimalarial drugs and their successful use against COVID-19 has begun, this correlation was actually a positive and remarkable piece of data, since there are 15 plants, including Centaurea drabifolia subsp. Phlocosa (an endemic taxon), that were found to be used in the treatment of both flu and malaria.