A review of the effect of medicinal plant extracts on Leishmania major in vitro and in vivo conditions in Iran





Leishmania major, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Plants affecting Leishmania


Background: Leishmaniasis is one of the most common parasitic diseases in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and is considered a threat to public health. Iran is also one of the most endemic areas of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the world. The causative species of cutaneous leishmaniasis is a protozoan from the Kinetoplastida order, which in Iran is Leishmania major (rural type) and Leishmania tropica (urban type). More than 70% of leishmaniasis in Iran is Leishmania major. The reservoir of the disease is humans in the urban type and field rodents in the rural type, and the vector is the female mosquito of the genus Phlebotomus.

Methods: This study is organized as a review, in which, by searching the keywords cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania major, plants effective against leishmaniasis in Iran, scientific-research articles, Google Scholar search engine information, Pubmed and Science Direct databases, the available books in this field were analyzed.

Results: 5-valent antimoan compounds are used for the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis. Of course, not all patients need treatment because, in a large number of people, the lesion heals by itself, and due to the side effects of antimoan compounds, it is better to use fewer of these drugs. Therefore, the desire of patients and therapists to use herbal compounds has increased.

Conclusion:  Although cutaneous leishmaniasis is not usually associated with high Although cutaneous leishmaniasis is not usually associated with high mortality, the rate of infection is very high and causes malformed skin lesions that remain for more than a year in some cases, and even with standard treatment, scars remain. It remains forever and causes emotional pain for the patient. Therefore, domestic researchers have provided research on herbal treatments against Leishmaniasis, considering the history of traditional treatments in Iran and the scattered vegetation in the country.

Author Biographies

Hermineh Gholizadeh, Tarbiat Modares University

  • Department of Parasitology and Entomology , Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

Abdolhossein Dalimi, Tarbiat Modares University

Department of Parasitology and Entomology , Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

Fatemeh Ghaffarifar, Tarbiat Modares University

Department of Parasitology and Entomology , Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Brandao-Fillho sp, Campbell-lendrum D ,Brito ME, Shaww JJ ,Davies CR.Epidemiological surveys confirm an increasing burden of cutaneous leishmaniasis in north-east Brazil. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 1999; 93: 488-94.

Herwaidt BL .Leishmaniasis. Lancet 1999; 354: 1191-9.

Mohajery M, Hatam GR,Shasian AA,Isoenzyme identification of L.Major.J Med 2004; 47: 19-27.

WHO technical report series ,control of the Leishmaniasis, World Health Organization.

Taskin E,Ozturk M,Kurt O. Antibacterial activities of some marine algae from the Agric Sea(Turkey)’ African J Biotechnol 2007;6(24):2746-51.

Barsanti L,Gualtieri P.Algae anatomy,biochemistry and biotechnology. New york: Taylor and Francis Group ;2006

Zhuang C, Ithoh H,Mizuno T.Ito H.Anititumor active fucoidan from the brown seaweed Umitoranoo(Sargassum thunbergii). Biosci Biotechnol Bi 1995;59:563-567.

Masoumifard S, Khezri P, Mohammadzadeh H.The effect of the Persian Gulf brown algae extract(Sargassum Oligocystum) on Leishmania major in vitro.Iran J Med Microbiol 2018;11:1

Masoumi Fard S., Khazri P., Mohammadzadeh Haji Pirlo H., Hashemtian B., Khadem Watan S., Manafpour N. The effect of Persian Gulf brown algae extract on Leishmania major parasite in laboratory environment. Iranian Journal of Medical Microbiology; 2016(1):75-82. (In Persian)

Bagherani A,Hejazi S,Mirzaei M. Effect of thyme plants on Leishmania amastigotes in invitro.Tabriz University of Medical Sciences and Health Services 2017 June;39(2):6-13.

Bagharian A., Hejazi H., Mirzaei M., Mirzaei H., Masoudi Khoei M. The effect of the extract of blue-eyed plant in comparison with amphotrypsin B on Leishmania major amastigotes in vitro. Medical Journal of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences and Health-Therapeutic Services 2016(2):6-13. (In Persian)

Aalrajhi A,Cutaneous Leishmaniasis of the Old World, Skin Therapy,2003,8,pp1-4.

13-Van Assche T,Deschachte da Luz RA.et al,Leishmania-macrophage interactions insight in to the redox biology,Free Radical Biology and Medicineu, 2011, 51(2), pp.337-351

Nosratabadi SJ ,Sharififar F. et al,In vitro antileishmanial activity qof methanolic and aqueous exteracts of E aucalyptus camaldulensis against Leishmania major, Journal of Parasitic Disease,2013,pp1-4.

Vyvyan JR. Allelochemicals as leads for new herbicides and agrochemical. Tetrahedron 2002;58;1631-46.

Nasr Azadani M., Zargar M., Doudi M., Shuai P. Evaluation of the anti-leishmanial effect of the alcoholic extract of chicory leaves on promastigotes of Leishmania major parasite by MTT method. Medical Journal, 25th volume, 10th issue, Urmia, pages 893-900. (In Persian)

Zitterl-Eglseer K,Sosa S,Jurenitsch J, Schubert-Zsilavecz M, Della Loggia R, Tubaro A,et al.Anti-edematous activities of the main tritetrpendiol esters of marigold Ethnopharmacol 1997;57;139-44.

Khodzaeva MA, Turakhozhaev MT. Carbohydra tes of Calendula officinalis. Chemistry of Natural Compounds 1993; 29: 533-4.

Kasiram K,Sakharkar PR, Patil AT. Antifungal activity of Calendula officinalis. Indian J pharm Sci 2000;6;464-6.

Masbi N., Ghafarifar F., Bahrami A., Bastaminejad S., Shamsi M. Evaluating the lethality of alcoholic and blue marigold extract on promastigotes of Leishmania major in laboratory conditions, Scientific Journal of Ilam University of Medicine, Volume 18, Number 1, Spring 2009. (In Persian)

Benmalek Y,Yahia OA, Belkebir B, Fardeau ML. A nti-microbial and anti-oxidant activities of Illicium verum, Crataegus oxyacantha ssp monogyna and Allium cepa red and white varieties.. 2013;4(4):244-8

Djeddi S,Boutaleb H. Evaluation of antioxidative and antibacterial potentials of Crataegus monogyna Jacp from Mahound mountain (Algeria). J Advanced Sci Applied Engineering 2014; 1(1):60-30

Mttroufi Y, Dabirzadeh M,Hossein-pour SH.Effect of methanolic extract of hawthorn(Crataegus aronia) fruit on Leishmania major in vitro. Jurnal of Kashan university of medical Sciences 2016;20(1);11-15.

Maarofi Y., Debirzadeh M., Hosseinpour Mousavi H. Investigating the effect of methanol extract of hawthorn fruit on Leishmania major in vitro, Faiz scientific-research monthly, 20th period, 2015(1):11-15. (In Persian)

Allahdin S,Khademvata S,Hashemitabar M, Eskandari A.In vitro activity of Camellia sinensis extracts against L. major and L.infantum promastigotes using the Colorometric MTT Assay Urmia Med J. 2014;25(10):893-900.

Abalak a M,Mann A, Adeyemo S. Studies on in-vitro antioxidant and free radical scavenging potential and phytochiemical screening of leaves of Ziziphus mauritiana L. and Ziziphus spinachristi L ,compared with Ascorbic acidn. J Med Genet Genomics. 2011;3(2):28-34

Abdel-Wahhab MA, Omara EA, Abdel-Galil MM, Hassan NS, Nada SA, Saeed A,et al. Zizyphus spina-christi extract protects against aflatoxin B-initiated hepatic caracinogenicity.2007;4(3):248-56.

Al-Bakhit S., Khadem Watan S., Dodi M. Investigating the effect of methanolic and blue extracts of kanaar plant on promastigotes of Leishmania major parasite by MTT method, Iranian Scientific Journal of Medical Microbiology 2015; 10(3): 54-60. (In Persian)

Kazemi A., Taheri S., Hoshiar H. The effect of barberry alcoholic extract on wound caused by Leishmania major in BALB/c mice, Journal of Faculty of Health and Health Research Institute, Volume 5, Number 3, Autumn 2016, Pages: 35-42. (In Persian)

EL-On, J.,Jacobs ,G.P., Witztum, E.,Greenblatt, C.L., 1984. Development of topical treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major in experimental animals. Antimicrob Agents Chemother,26(5),pp.745-51.

31-Chen ,M.,Christense ,S.B.,Theander,T.G. And Kharazmi, A.,1994. Antileishmanial activity of licochalcon A in mice infected with Leishmania major and in hamsters infected with Leishmania donovani . Antimicrob Agenta Chemother. 38(6),PP. 1339-44.

Dhlo JA, Dhole NA, Lone KD, Bodke SS. Preliminary analysis and antimicrobial activity of some weeds collected from marathwada regin. J of researchin Biology 2011; 1:19-23.

Dkhil MA, Abdel AE, Al Quraishy S, Awadallah SR. Antioxidant effect of purslane (portulace oleracea) and it mechanism of action.J of Medicin Plants Research 2011;5(90:1563-89.

Najafi S,Mohammadzadeh M, Meighani G. The effect in the treatment of recurrent aphthous stomatitis. TUMJ 2013; 71(2): 102-8 .

Eskandari A., Dodi M. Investigation of compounds and anti-leishmanial effect of alcoholic extract of purslane aerial parts on promastigotes of Leishmania major parasite and a clinical isolate in laboratory conditions, Journal of Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences, Dore 15, March 2015, 425-438. (In Persian)

Rao KNV, Sunitha C, David B, Sandhya S, Mahesh V.Study on the nutraceuticals from the genus rumex. Hygeia J D Med;2011.3(1):76-88.

Joo ye. Nathural product- derived drug for the treatment of in fiammatory Bowel Diseases. Intest res;2014.12(2):103-109.

Noor Sabaghi F., Abedinzadeh M., Jalal Lu N. Investigation of the effect of alcoholic extract of sorrel plant on cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major in BALB/c mice, Razi Journal of Medical Sciences, Mehr 2015, Volume 23, Number 148. (In Persian)

Ignatowicz S .Powdered herbs of the mint family (Lamiaceae) as insect repellents for protection of stored wheat grain. Polskie Pismo Entomol.1997;66(1/2):135-49.

Jager W, Buchbauer G, Jirovetz L,Fritzer M . Percutaneous absorption of Lavender oil from a massage oil . J SOC Cosmet Chem.1992; 43(1):49-54.

Perrucci S, Macchioni G, Cioni P , Flamini G, Morelli I , Taccini F.The activity of volatile compounds from Lavandula angustifolia against Psoroptes cuniculi. Phytother Res .1996; 10(1):5-8.

Moon T, Wilkinson JM , Cavanagh HM. Antiparasitic activity of two Lavandula essential oils against Giardia duodenalis< Trichomonas vaginalis and Hexamita inflate. Parasitol Res. 2006: 99(6):722-8.

Faniyan M., Hijazi H., Azizi H., Habibian S., Siyahi A. Anti-leishmanial effect of lavender essential oil against Leishmania major in laboratory conditions, Journal of Kurd University of Medical Sciences, Volume 17, Number 3, August 2014, 101-93. (In Persian)

World Heaith Organization. WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants, WHO Publications Geneva 2002; 86-94.

Jarrahi M, Emami Abarghooee M. The effect of hydroalcoholic Matricaria chamomilla extract on cutaneous burn wound healing in albino Rats. Gorgan med jour 2008;10(2):22-26.

Jarahi M, Zahedi M, Taherian AA, Miladi H. Evaluation of topical matricaria chamomilla l. oil extract activity on linear incisional wound healing in albino rats.Herbal Med J 2006:8(29):94-99.

Esteves Duarte CM, Souza Quirino MR, Patrocinio MC,,Anbinder AL. Effects of chammomilla recutita(L.) on oral wound healing in rats. Med Oral cir Bucal 2011;16(6):716-21.

Shabanlouie R, Ahmadi F, Vaez Gharamaleki J, Hajizadeh E, Javadzadeh Y. The effects of chamomile mouthwash in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced stomatitis. Tavanbakhshi J 2006;7(2):70-75.

Jarhari M., Emami Abargoui M. The effect of hydroalcoholic extract of chamomile plant on burn wound healing in rats, scientific journal of Gorgan University of Medical Sciences, summer 2017, volume 10, number 3, pages 22-26. (In Persian)

Dasht Pima A., Mushfa A., Meghzi L., Arif Khah N., Shahriari S., Mohseni M., Abbasi M. The effect of chamomile on the healing of cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major in Balb C mice, scientific research journal of Yasouj University of Medical Sciences, volume 20, number 2, May 2014. (In Persian)

Kaith BS, Kaith NS, Chauhan NS, Anti- inflammatory effect of Arnebia euchroma root extracts in rats ,J Ethnopharmacol 1996;55(1):77-80

Kashiwand Y, Nishizawa M, Yamagishi T, Tanaka T, Nonaka G, Cosentino L,James V, snider, Lee K. Anti –AIDS Agents,18. Sodium and potassium Salt and Caffeic Acid Tetramers from Arnebia euchroma as Anti-HIV Agents, J Nat Prod 1995;58(3):392-400

Xiong W, Luo G, Zhou L, Zeng Y, Yang W,In vitro and in vivo antitumor effects of acetylshikonin isolated from Arnebia euchroma(Royle) Johnst (Ruanzicao) cell suspension cultures, chin Med 2009;4(14): 1-7

Rashidi Tehran Moghadam M,Mmozaffari AR, Study ofanti-infiammatory and healing effects of Achillea illefolium in the treatment of Indomethacin-induced gastric ulcer in rat.Journal of Babol University of Medical Sci.2005;8(4);9-13.

Suzangar N., Jadi F., Rataghi S., Khorrami S., Urzmani K. The effect of Abu Khalsa and Yarrow plants on Leishmania major in laboratory conditions, Journal of North Khorasan University of Medical Sciences, Autumn 2013;4(3):329-333. (In Persian)

Yektaiyan N., Rafiyan M., Khalili Dehkordi B., Hijazi H., Shirani L., Hosseini A. Investigating the synergistic effects of a mixture of three plant extracts of yarrow, wormwood and walnut leaves on Leishmania major parasite in laboratory conditions, Journal of Medicinal Plants, Year 11, Volume 2, Special Issue No. 9, Spring 2013. (In Persian)

Abroise-Thomas P.Current data on major novel antimalaria drugs: Artemisinin deriviatives, Bulletie of the National Academy of Medicine 1999;183(4):797-800.

Kager PA,de Vries PJ. Why is malaria in Vietnam under control , but Africa is threatened with a malaria disaster. Netherlaands Journal of Medicine 2000;144(8):357-361.

Morales MR, Denys J,James C, Simon E. Seasional Accumulation of Artimisinin in Artemisia Annua L. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 344: International Symposium on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants,2005.

Anderson FJ. An illusterate histoy of the herbals. Columbia university press. Chemesova, I. Belenovskaya, L. K. and Stuko disev, A. N.1987 Rastiitle, nye Resursy:pp3-100.

Jean V, plant health, Cure disease by Translated by Ahmad Emami, MR Shams Ardekani, Nekoei-Naini N, Rahekamal publication. Tehran.1381,pp:358-61.

Babaei Kho L., Mohibali M., Lahiji M., Mehrabi A. Investigating the therapeutic effect of Nettle, St. John's wort, Barijeh, Mord, Tarragon, Garlic and Eucalyptus on cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major in Syrian mice, Summer 86, Volume 10, Number Two. (In Persian)

Ayatollahi S.A , Komeylizadeh H , Roostaiian A.Chemical analysis of essential fats in Iran’s Species. Pejouhandeh. 1999;4(3):315-319.

Farzaneh M , Ahmadzadeh M , Hadian J, Tehrani AS. Chmichal composition and anti fungal activity of the essential oils of three species of Artemisian on some soil-born phytopathogenes.commun Agric Appl Biol Sci. 2006; 71(3 pt B):1327-33.

Hatimi S, Boundoma M, Bichichi M, Chaib N, Guessous Idrissi N. Evaluation invite de I’activite anti Leishmanienne d’ Artemisia herba-alba Asso. Therapeutique. 2000; 12:121-132.

Abadi Kh., Hijazi H., Qale Sokhteh S. Investigating the lethal effect of the essential oils of fennel and geranium plants on promastigotes of Leishmania major, Journal of Shahr Kurd University of Medical Sciences, Volume 17, Number 5, 2014, 22-13. (In Persian)

Kayser O, Kiderle AF, Invitro Leishmaniacidal activity of naturally occurring chalcone. Phytother Res. 2001 Mar;15(2):148-52.

Gray AM, Flatt PR. Pancreatic and extra-Pancreatic effects of the traditional antidiabetic plant, Medicago sativa( lucerne) Br J Nutr.1997 Aug; 78(2): 325-34.

Yousefi M., Shirzad H., Yousefi H. Investigating the effect of alfalfa plant on wound healing in laboratory mice, scientific journal of Ilam University of Medical Sciences, 18th volume, 4th issue, 2019. (In Persian)

Shohani F, Editor. People hournalism of Ivan. IIam Cultural heritage Org;2003.p.56-57.

Tasdemir D, Bun R, Franzblau SG, Sezgin Y,Calis I.Evaluation of antiprotozoal and antimicrobial activitzy of the resinglycoside and other metabolites of scrophularia. Phytomedicin 2008;15:209-15

Bas E, Recio MC, Manez S,Giner RM, Escandell JM, Lopez-Gines C,et al.Inhibitlon of the inflammatory response to expermintal delyed type hydro sensitivity reaction in mice by scopholiside.

73-Freandez M.Anti bacterial activity of phenolic and fraction of Scorphulularia frutescens and Scrophularia sambucifolia. Ethnopharmacol J 1996; 53:4-11.

Naserifar R., Delimi Asl A., Ahmadi N. Investigating the effect of different concentrations of Scophularia Straiata aqueous extract on Leishmania major in peritoneal macrophages of BALB/c mice and in vitro conditions, research journal of Shahid Beheshti Faculty of Medicine and Therapeutic Services, Volume 36, Special Issue 1F Winter 2013, 18-12. (In Persian)

Ghasemi-Dehkordi N. Iranian herbal pharmacopoeia. Tehran: Ministry of Heaith and Medical Education. Food and Drug Administration:2003

Hosseini A., Jafari F., Asghari G., Hijazi H. Investigating the effect of hydroalcoholic extracts and aqueous extracts of turmeric and licorice on Leishmania major parasite in laboratory conditions, Journal of Isfahan Medical School, 9th year, number 169, 1390. (In Persian)

Mir Heidar H. Education plants, plants used in the prevention and treatment of diseases 3 ed.office of Islamic culture;1997.

Barati M., Sharifi A., Sharififar F. Investigating the anti-leishmanial effect of the extracts of sedum kohi, anguza, and cotton boll on promastigotes of Leishmania major, Army University of Medical Sciences Scientific Research Journal, 8th year, No. 3, 166-172. (In Persian)

Sundra S,Chakravarty J, Agarwal D, Rai M, Murray HW.Single-dose liposomal amphotericin B for visceral Leishmaniasis in India. New Engl J Med2010;362:504-12.

Natera S, Machuca C,Padron-Nieves M, Romero A, Diaz E,Ponte-Sucre A.Leishmania spp.:proficiency of drug-resistant parasites. Int J Antimicrob Agent 2007;29:637-42.

Bagharian A., Abbaspour H., Saeedi Sar S., Mirzaei M., Mirzaei H., Mirzaei H., The effect of garlic extract on Leishmania major amastigotes, "in vitro and in vitro study", scientific research quarterly of Shahid University of Medical Sciences Beheshti, Volume 28, Number 4, 1393, 181-183. (In Persian)

Yousefi R, Ghaffarifa F, Dalimi Asl A The Effect of Alkanna tincturia and Peganum harmala Extracts on Leishmania major ( MRHO/ IR/75/ER) in vitro. Iranian J parasitol: vol.4, NO.1, 2009,pp.40-47.

Heyidari F, Ghaffarifar F, Soflaei S, Dalimi Asl A. Comparison between in vitro Effects of Agueous Extract of Artemisia Seiberi and Artemisinin on Leishmania major.




How to Cite

Gholizadeh, H., Dalimi, A., & Ghaffarifar, F. (2024). A review of the effect of medicinal plant extracts on Leishmania major in vitro and in vivo conditions in Iran . Afghanistan Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2(1), 85–102. https://doi.org/10.60141/AJID/V.2.I.1.10