Topical herbal remedies for treatment of joint pain according to Iranian Traditional Medicine

Document Type : Review


1 Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Traditional Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Traditional Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Joint pain is one of the most common complaints with many possible causes.Some medicines used for joint pain relief such as NSAIDs have substantial and frequent side effects. Topical route possibly reduces adverse reactions by maximizing local delivery and minimizing systemic toxicity. Throughout history, plants have been the most important sources of medicines for human health and Iranian Traditional Medicine (ITM) is well known for its extensive use of herbal medicines to treat diseases accompanied with joint pain for centuries. In the present study, the plants used topically for relieving joint pain in ITM were searched. Moreover, their pharmacological effectiveness in modern medicine was reviewed. The terms “Waja mafasil” (joint pain), “Waja-ol-mafasil” (joint pain), “Irq-on-nasa” (sciatica), “Waja-ol-warik” (coxalgia), ‘Waja-ol-zahr” (back pain), “Waja-ol-rakbah” (knee pain) and “Niqris” (gout) were searched in three important Iranian traditional books including “Canon”,Al-Hawi and “Tohfat al-mu’mininand topical preparations introduced as “Tela” and “Zemad” were selected. The scientific literatures were searched for their effectiveness related to the analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. Thirty five plants were selected on the basis of their topical use to relief joint pain. Among these plants, 22 species have been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities.


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