Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and immunomodulatory activities of the genus Ferula and their constituents: A review

Document Type : Review Article


1 Applied Biomedical Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Clinical Research Unit, Imam Reza Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Ardabil University of Medical Sciences, Ardabil, Iran


Objective(s): Ferula is a genus of the family Apiaceae and it includes around 170 species of flowering plants mostly native to the Mediterranean region and eastern to central Asia. In Iran, Ferula spp. are widely used in cuisine and traditional medicine. This review discusses the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and immunomodulatory activities of different species of Ferula. 
Materials and Methods: To prepare the present review, Scopus, Google Scholar, PubMed, and Web of Science scientific databases were searched to retrieve relevant articles published from 1985 until December 2020. 
Results: Based on our literature review, Ferula plants and their derivatives decrease the levels of inflammatory mediators and exert anti-apoptotic effects. Under oxidative stress conditions, these plants and their constituents were shown to decrease oxidative markers such as malondialdehyde, reactive oxygen species, and nitric oxide but increase superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase activity, and glutathione level. Ferula plants and their constituents also showed immunomodulatory effects by affecting various cytokines. Besides, in vivo and in vitro studies showed hypotensive, neuroprotective, memory-enhancing, anti-oxidant, hepatoprotective, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic, anticytotoxic, antiobesity, and anthelmintic effects for various species of Ferula and their constituents. These plants also showed a healing effect on gynecological issues such as miscarriage, unusual pain, difficult menstruation, and leukorrhea.  All these beneficial effects could have resulted from the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and immunomodulatory effects of these plants and their constituents.
Conclusion: Based on the available literature, members of the genus Ferula can be regarded as potential therapeutics against inflammatory conditions, oxidative stress, and immune dysregulation.


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