J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Mar 14;152(2):256-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.01.022. Epub 2014 Jan 30.
Sideritis scardica Griseb., an endemic species of Balkan peninsula: traditional uses, cultivation, chemical composition, biological activity.
Todorova M, Trendafilova A.

Sideritis scardica Griseb. is an endemic species in the Balkan Peninsula. It is used in traditional medicine as a loosening agent in bronchitis and bronchial asthma; against the common cold and lung emphysema; in the treatment of inflammation, gastrointestinal disorders and coughs; and as an active constituent of dietary supplements for the prevention of anemia. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the traditional use, phytochemistry, biological activity, cultivation, and extraction of Sideritis scardica and to highlight the gaps in our knowledge which deserves further research.

The present review is based on information collected from scientific journals, books, and electronic search. These sources include Scopus, Pubmed, Web of Science, and Google scholar as well as local books on ethnopharmacology and botany of this plant.

The reported data on phytochemical studies, biological activity, cultivation, extraction, and traditional uses have been reviewed. Variability in essential oil composition of wild growing and cultivated taxa depending on ecological conditions was discussed. Flavonoids, phenylethanoids, diterpenoids, aliphatic compounds, etc. identified so far have been summarized. A comparative study on the effectiveness of different methods, solvents, and parameters of extraction has also been discussed. A broad range of activities of plant extracts and fractions as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, antioxidant, gastroprotective, antiglioma, and triple monoamine reuptake inhibition as well as cultivation of the species as an approach for conservation of the natural habitats and provision of herb with high and permanent quality has also been presented.

Sideritis scardica has become very popular and widely advertised herb in Europe. Although some of ethnobotanical uses have been proved through in vitro experiments, further studies of the individual compounds or chemical class of compounds responsible for the pharmacological effects and the mechanisms of action are necessary. In addition, the toxicity and the side effects from the use of Sideritis scardica as well as clinical trails need attention. The variability in the chemical composition of this medicinal plant depending on the origin requires development of a protocol for its standardization. For the practice it is important to improve cultivation conditions in order to increase the accumulation of biologically active compounds and to obtain herb with permanent and good quality.