Phytotherapy in treatment of Parkinson's disease: a review

Pharm Biol. 2019 Dec;57(1):355-362. doi: 10.1080/13880209.2019.1618344.


Context: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder due to gradual loss of dopaminergic nerves in the substantia nigra (SN) in the midbrain. PD leads to certain motor disorders including resting tremor, muscle stiffness and slow movement. Medicinal plants have shown positive pharmacological effects in treating different models of PD. Objective: Tendency to use natural products, especially plants, for the treatment of PD has been growing. This article reviews the basic aspects of medicinal plants and their bioactive compounds that could be used to treat PD. Methods: Reliable articles indexed in databases ISI, SID, PubMed, PubMed Central, Scopus and Web of Science were used. A total of 12 plant-derived active ingredients and 18 herbal extracts were included. Different compounds have so far been isolated from plants that affect PD especially by targeting pathways associated with the pathogenesis of the disease. Results: Although some herbal extracts such as Hibiscus asper Hook. f. (Malvaceae), Ginkgo biloba L. (Ginkgoaceae), Carthamus tinctorius L (Asteraceae) and certain active ingredients, such as berberine and curcumin, have shown positive effects in animal models of PD, potential active ingredients and mechanisms of action should be investigated in additional studies. Discussion and conclusions: Despite the wide variety of plants in the world, a limited number of them have been studied for anti-Parkinsonian activity, and therefore, there are numerous perspectives in this field for future studies on plants and their bioactive compounds.

Keywords: Dopaminergic receptors; L-DOPA; curcumin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carthamus tinctorius / chemistry*
  • Ginkgo biloba / chemistry*
  • Hibiscus / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Preparations / isolation & purification
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Preparations

Grants and funding

This study was funded by the Research and Technology Deputy of Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences.