Abstract of “Labiatae Family in folk Medicine in Iran: from Ethnobotany to Pharmacology” :
“Labiatae family is well represented in Iran by 46 genera and 410 species and subspecies. Many members of this family are used in traditional and folk medicine. Also they are used as culinary and ornamental plants. There are no distinct references on the ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology of the family in Iran and most of the publications and documents related to the uses of these species are both in Persian and not comprehensive. In this article we reviewed all the available publication on this family. Also documentation from unpublished resources and ethnobotanical surveys has been included. Based on our literature search, out of the total number of the Labiatae family in Iran, 18% of the species are used for medicinal purposes. Leaves are the most used plant parts. Medicinal applications are classified into 13 main categories. A number of pharmacological and experimental studies have been reviewed, which confirm some of the traditional applications and also show the headline for future works on this family.”
This paper also details in tabular form the folk uses of over 70 members of the mint family (Labiatae) in Iran with notes on the pharmacological activity of many of them from scientific studies.
This paper is an open access article. The PDF is available for download.
 Naghibi, F., Mosaddegh, M., Mohammadi Motamed, M., Ghorbani, A. (2010). Labiatae Family in folk Medicine in Iran: from Ethnobotany to Pharmacology. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, Volume 4(Number 2), 63-79. doi.org/10.22037/ijpr.2010.619
Milos is an island in the Cyclades group of islands in Greece. Perouli and Bareka (2022) have carried out an ethnobotanical survey of the the traditional uses of medicinal plants there. They write:
Milos is a volcanic island in Greece, isolated from the mainland since its birth 480.000 years ago. The present study provides information on plant species used for medicinal purposes by indigenous people during 16th to 21st centuries. The aim of the study was to collect, preserve and analyse data on pharmaceutical plants used by Milos’ inhabitants, to find new plants used in traditional medicine or new uses of the already known ones and to reveal and explain changes of medicinal plants that were used through 16th to 21st centuries. The research was based on interviews of inhabitants, concerning medicinal plant species used in 20th and 21st centuries, on local, folk literature on pharmaceutical plant species used during 16th and 19th centuries, including an unpublished manuscript. Data on 76 native and cultivated plant taxa belonging to 40 families were collected, 68 of them are used mostly for medicinal or other purposes. The interviews’ data were statistically analysed. Three taxa were not matched with any other study regarding medical indication the inhabitants of Milos use them for. A clear restriction on the use of native plants was observed*, and evidence about the influence of refugees on the change of medicinal plants use is pointed out.
[* The authors mean that the use of medicinal plants is more restricted in modern times than in the past.]
The main interest of this study for me are the appendices, in which detailed information is given about the local uses of many species of plants typical to Mediterranean island environments.
Citation: Perouli M., Bareka P. Ethnobotanical survey on medicinal and other useful plants from Milos Ιsland (Kiklades Ιslands, Greece). Mediterranean Botany 43, e75357, 2022.
The genus Nigella (Ranunculaceae) is distributed throughout the Mediterranean basin. Badalamenti et al. (2022) have published a systematic review on the medicinal and traditional use, chemical composition, toxicology and phytotherapy of Nigella damascena L., also known as “love-in-a-mist” and “devil in a bush”. This beautiful plant is It is native to southern Europe, north Africa and southwest Asia, where it is found on neglected, damp patches of land.
From the abstract (with some slight changes in wording):
Nigella damanscena L. is traditionally used as an ingredient in food, for example, as flavouring agents in bread and cheese, but is also known in folk medicine, used to regulate menstruation; for catarrhal affections and amenorrhea; as a diuretic and sternutatory; as an analgesic, anti-oedematous, and antipyretic; as a disinfectant and vermifuge. This paper reviews the most dated to the latest scientific research on this species, highlighting the single isolated metabolites and exploring their biological activity.
Fifty-seven natural compounds have been isolated and characterised from the seeds, roots, and aerial parts of the plant. Among these constituents, alkaloids, flavonoids, diterpenes, triterpenes, and aromatic compounds are the main constituents. The isolated compounds and the various extracts obtained with solvents of different polarities presented a diverse spectrum of biological activities such as antibacterial, antifungal, antitumour, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, anti-oedema, and antiviral activities. Various in vitro and in vivo tests have demonstrated the pharmacological potential of β-elemene and the alkaloid damascenin. Unfortunately, the largest number of biological studies on this species and its metabolites have been conducted in vitro. Further investigation is necessary to evaluate the toxicological aspects, mechanisms of action and real therapeutic potential of extracts of N. damascena.
 Badalamenti N., Modica A., Bazan G., Marino P., Bruno M. The ethnobotany, phytochemistry, and biological properties of Nigella damascena – A review. Phytochemistry, Volume 198, 2022, 113165. ISSN 0031-9422. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2022.113165.
Medour et al. (2002) carried out an ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plant use in two rural municipalities in the province of Bouira, Northern Algeria. This is a biodiverse, mountainous, Berber-speaking region with a rich ethnobotanical knowledge system.
Data were compiled from 69 informants among the local population and on 136 plant species. Data were gathered and data analyses were provided on:
Socio-demographic profile of the informants.
Diversity of medicinal plants.
Plant parts used, mode of preparation and administration.
Diseases groups, treated diseases and number of use reports.
Relative frequency of citation of the plant species recorded.
Frequency of use of the plant species recorded.
The percentage of informants claiming the use of a certain plant species for the same major purpose.
Consensus among informants for plant use for the different disease categories recorded.
Among the many interesting data provided in this quantitative survey, the most interesting for me were those on the most used medicinal plants for various types of symptoms or conditions. These are summarised in the table below, taken from the cited paper .
Of particular interest to me personally are the reported uses of several plants commonly found in my own bio-region of Ibiza, Balearic islands, Spain, namely:
 Meddour, R., Sahar, O., Abdoune, N., & Dermouche, M. (2022). Quantitative ethnobotanical investigation of medicinal plants used by local population in the rural municipalities of Haizer and El Asnam, province of Bouira, Northern Algeria. Mediterranean Botany, 43, e71190. https://doi.org/10.5209/mbot.71190
3. Physiological Effects of Phytochemicals from C. sativum
Flavonoids: A flavonoid-rich fraction was found to have hypotensive activity.
Quercetin (a flavonoid): A quercetin-rich aqueous ethanolic extract inhibits α-amylase, α-glucosidase and lipase, and thus potentially has antidiabetic and anti-obesity effects.
Polyphenols: A polyphenol-rich extract inhibits angiotensin-converting enzyme thus potentially has a antihypertensive effect.
Isocoumarins: Isocoumarin aglycones and (to a lesser degree) isocoumarin glycosides (cilantroside A and B) have been found to have neurotrophic / neuroprotective effects by stimulation of nerve growth factor. The aglycones of isocoumarins also showed anti-inflammatory effects.
Phenolic glycosides: The phenolic glycosides daphnin and benzyl-O-β-d-glucoside have also been found to stimulate nerve growth factor.
Sterols: Plant sterols have hypocholesterolaemic effects.
Essential oil: Prominent activities against diabetes, microbial infections, and inhibitory to acetylcholinterase.
Other: A linalool, ascorbyl palmitate and petroselinic acid-rich petroleum ether extract of coriander seeds reduces oxidative stress, is hypolipidaemic, hypoglycaemic, and preventative against diabetic nephropathy.
4. Cardiovascular Benefits of C. sativum
A systematic review was carried out of studies investigating the potential cardiovascular benefits of C. sativum.
Studies have demonstrated the cardioprotective benefits of C. sativum. These include its effect as an antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-atherogenic, antiarrhythmic, as well as the improvement of other factors that may lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as altered lipid profile, hyperglycaemia and cardiac biomarkers or enzymes.
Most of the studies included in the review were in vivo studies carried out on laboratory animals. Only two were human studies. These latter demonstrated hypolipidaemic, hypocholesterolaemic, hypotensive and antioxidant effects of coriander seed powder. As to plant parts, the majority of the studies included investigated the effects of the seeds. The two studies on the leaves showed hypolipidaemic, hypotensive, normoglycaemic and antioxidant effects.
The authors comment that more in vitro studies are needed to elucidate mechanisms of action.