Orchids have been used as a source of medicine for millennia to treat different diseases and ailments including tuberculosis, paralysis, stomach disorders, chest pain, arthritis, syphilis, jaundice, cholera, acidity, eczema, tumour, piles, boils, inflammations, menstrual disorder, spermatorrhea, leucoderma, diahorrhea, muscular pain, blood dysentery, hepatitis, dyspepsia, bone fractures, rheumatism, asthma, malaria, earache, sexually transmitted diseases, wounds and sores. Besides, many orchidaceous preparations are used as emetic, purgative, aphrodisiac, vermifuge, bronchodilator, sex stimulator, contraceptive, cooling agent and remedies in scorpion sting and snake bite. Some of the preparations are supposed to have miraculous curative properties but rare scientific demonstration available which is a primary requirement for clinical implementations. Incredible diversity, high alkaloids and glycosides content, research on orchids is full of potential. Meanwhile, some novel compounds and drugs, both in phytochemical and pharmacological point of view have been reported from orchids. Linking of the indigenous knowledge to the modern research activities will help to discover new drugs much more effective than contemporary synthetic medicines. The present study reviews the traditional therapeutic uses of orchids with its recent advances in pharmacological investigations that would be a useful reference for plant drug researches, especially in orchids.
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