Determination of Scientific Name of Bitter “Qust”: an Important Controversial Plant Source in the Iranian Medicinal Plants Market for Neurological Complications

Document Type: Original paper


1 Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran.

2 Medicinal Plants Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Pharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

4 Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background and objectives: Traditional medicine could provide a hopeful area of research to mitigate the suffering of patients. “Qust” is one of the medicinal plants that are mentioned in Persian Medicine (PM) for treatment of neurological diseases. There is diversity within the scientific name of “Qust” in different references. Some have introduced Saussurea costus (Falc.) Lipsch. (Asteraceae), while others have presented Costus speciosus (J. Koenig) Sm. (Costaceae) as “Qust”. Since “Qust” is not endemic in Iran, there is difficulty to access to the whole plant for its identification. Hence, this study has aimed to identify available bitter “Qust” which is composed of roots of the plant in the Iranian market. Methods: Macroscopic characters and microscopic properties of powders and transverse sections of specimens with essential oil analysis of the Indian and one of the Iran herbal market samples using chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) were investigated for identification of bitter “Qust”. Results: Microscopic evaluation showed presence of secretory cavities and their specific size, narrow radial rows of conducting tissue alternating with broad medullary rays in the secondary phloem and xylem, presence of inulin, absence of starch and calcium oxalate crystals in the bitter “Qust” particles. Further, positive response was observed to S. costus identifying test. In the analysis of essential oils, active components of S. costus, such as dehydrocostus lactone, were identified in the examined essential oils. Conclusion: According to the results, it could be concluded that bitter “Qust” in Iran herbal market most probably is S. costus.  


[1]  Tu Y. The discovery of artemisinin (qinghaosu) and gifts from Chinese medicine. Nat Med. 2011; 17(10): 1217-1220.

[2]  Miyazaki H, Sakao S, Katoh Y, Takehara T. Correlation between volatile sulphur compounds and certain oral health measurements in the general population. J Periodontol. 1995; 66(8): 679-684.

[3]  Liu XN, Shinada K, Chen XC, Zhang BX, Yaegaki K, Kawaguchi Y. Oral malodor-related parameters in the Chinese general population. J Clin Periodontol. 2006; 33(1): 31-36.

[4]  Van den Broek AM, Feenstra L, de Baat C. A review of the current literature on etiology and measurement methods of halitosis. J Dent. 2007; 35(8): 627-635.

[5]  Klokkeuold PR .Oral malodor: a periodontal perspective. J Calif Dent Assoc. 1997; 25(2): 153-159.

[6]  Davies A, Epstein J. Oral complications of cancer and its management. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

[7]  Takeuchi H, Machigashira M, Yamashita D, Kozono S, Nakajima Y, Miyamoto M, Takeuchi N, Setoguchi T, Noguchi K. The association of periodontal disease with oral malodour in a Japanese population. Oral Dis. 2010; 16(7): 702-706.

[8]  McNamara TF, Alexander JF, Lee M. The role of microorganisms in the production of oral malodor. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1972; 34(1): 41-48.

[9]  Tyrrell KL, Citron DM, Warren YA, Nachnani S, Goldstein EJ. Anaerobic bacteria cultured from the tongue dorsum of subjects with oral malodor. Anaerobe. 2003; 9(5): 243-246.

[10]  Gurbuz T, Tan H. Oral health status in epileptic children. Pediatr Int. 2010; 52(2): 279-283.

[11]  Koshimune S, Awano S, Gohara K, Kurihara E, Ansai T, Takehara T. Low salivary flow and volatile sulfur compounds in mouth air. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2003; 96(1): 38-41.

[12]  Socransky SS, Haffajee AD. Dental biofilms: difficult therapeutic targets. Periodontol 2000. 2002; 28(1): 12-55.

[13]  Fox PC. Differentiation of dry mouth etiology. Adv Den Res. 1996; 10(1): 13-16.

[14]  Wiener RC, Wu B, Crout R, Wiener M, Plassman B, Kao E, McNeil D. Hyposalivation and xerostomia in dentate older adults. J Am Dent Assoc. 2010; 141(3): 279-284.

[15]  Söder B, Johansson B, Soder PO. The relation between foetor ex ore, oral hygiene and periodontal disease. Swed Dent J. 2000; 24(3): 73-82.

[16]  Afsharypour A. Introduction to Iranian traditional pharmacy and pharmaceutical dosage forms. Tehran: Chogan, 2013.

[17]  Aghili Shirazi MH. Makhzan al-advia. Tehran: Tehran University of Medical Sciences Press, 2009.

[18]  Biruni AR. Seydaneh fit teb. Tehran: Iranian Academy of Persian Language and Literature Press, 2004.

[19]  Jorjani SE. Al-aghraz al-tebbiehval-mabahes al-alayieh.Tehran: Tehran University of Medical Sciences Press, 2006.

[20]  Tonekaboni H. Tohfatol momenin. Tehran: Nashre Shahr Press, 2007.

[21]  Aghili Shirazi MH. Qarabadin-e kabir. Tehran: Iran University of Medical Sciences Press, 2009.

[22]  Ghaeni-Heravi MS. Amalesaleh (Qarabadin-e salehi). Tehran: Choogan, 2013.

[23]  Azamkhan MAK. Qarabadin-e azam. Tehran: Intisharat va Amoozesh Enghelab Islami Press, 1853.

[24]  Razi A. Secret book of Alchemy. Tehran: Tehran University Publications, 1992.

[25]  Hooper D. Useful plants and drugs of Iran and Iraq. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, 1937.

[26]  Editorial board. The United States pharmacopeia 31st ed. Rockville: United States Pharmacopeial Convention, 2008.

[27]  Editorial board. British pharmacopoeia. vol. 2. London: HMSO, 1988.

[28]  Adams RP. Identification of essential oil components by gas chromatography quadrupole mass spectroscopy. Illinois: Allured Publishing Corporation, 2004.

[29]  Sakhteman A, Keshavarz R, Mohagheghzadeh A. ATR-IR fingerprinting as a powerful method for identification of traditional medicine samples: a report of 20 herbal patterns. Res J Pharmacogn. 2015; 2(3): 1-8.

[30]  Kazemifard GA. The quality control tests of the dosage forms. 1st ed. Tehran: Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), 2007.

[31]  Fahimi S, Naseri M. Anti-halitosis plants in Iranian traditional medicine. Res J Pharmacogn. 2015; 2(2): 61-66.

[32]  Rezadoost H, Karimi M, Jafari M. Proteomics of hot-wet and cold-dry temperaments proposed in Iranian traditional medicine: a network based study. Sci Rep. 2016; Article ID 30133.

[33]  Mohagheghzadeh A, Faridi P, Ghasemi Y. Analysis of mount atlas mastic smoke: A potential food preservative. Fitoterapia. 2010; 81(6): 577-580.

[34]  Delazar A, Reid RG, Sarker SD. GC-MS analysis of the essential oil from the oleoresin of Pistacia atlantica var. mutica. Chem Nat Compd. 2004; 40(1): 24-27.

[35]  Bhuiyan MNI, Begum J, Nandi NC, Akter F. Constituents of the essential oil from leaves and buds of clove (Syzigium caryophyllatum (L.) Alston). Afr J Plant Sci. 2010; 4(11): 451-454.

[36]  Omidbeygi M, Barzegar M, Hamidi Z, Naghdibadi H. Antifungal activity of thyme, summer savory and clove essential oils against Aspergillus xavus in liquid medium and tomato paste. Food Control. 2007; 18(12): 1518-1523.

[37]  Aulton ME. Aulton’s pharmaceutics: the design and manufacture of medicines. 3rd ed. London: Churchill Livingstone, 2007.

[38]  Editorial board. European Pharmacopoeia. 8th ed. Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2013.

[39]  Yadav MK, Chae S, Im GJ, Chung J, Song J. Eugenol: a phyto-compound effective against methicillin-resistant and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus clinical strain biofilms. PLoS One. 2015; Article ID: 0119564.

[40]  Sedigh-Rahimabadi M, Fani M, Rostami-Chijan M, Zarshenas MM, Shams M. A traditional mouthwash (Punica granatum var pleniflora) for controlling gingivitis of diabetic patients: a double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial. J Evid Based Complement Altern Med. 2017; 22(1): 59-67.

[41]  Arami S, Mojaddadi MA, Pourabbas R, Chitsaz MT, Delazar A, Mobayen H. The effect of Pistacia atlantica var. mutica mouthwash on dental plaque bacteria and subgingival microorganisms: a randomized and controlled triple-blind study. Drug Res (Stuttg). 2015; 65(9): 463-467.