Pharmaceutical Biology (2020-01-01)

Chinese medicinal plants for the potential management of high-altitude pulmonary oedema and pulmonary hypertension

  • Tingting Wang,
  • Jun Hou,
  • Wenjing Xiao,
  • Yaolei Zhang,
  • Longfu Zhou,
  • Li Yuan,
  • Xiaoqiang Yin,
  • Xin Chen,
  • Yonghe Hu

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 58, no. 1
pp. 815 – 827


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Context Despite the abundance of knowledge regarding high-altitude pulmonary edoema (HAPE) and high-altitude pulmonary hypertension (HAPH), their prevalence continues to be on the rise. Thus, there is an urgent need for newer safe, effective, and relatively economic drug candidates. China is particularly known for the use of medicinal plants. Objective This review summarizes the medicinal plants used for HAPE and HAPH in the past 30 years, as well as some potential plants. Methods Publications on HAPE and HAPH from 1990 to 2020 were identified using Web of Science, PubMed, SCOPUS, Springer Link, Google Scholar databases, Chinese Clinical Trial Registry and CNKI with the following keywords: ‘medicinal plants,’ ‘hypoxia,’ ‘high altitude pulmonary edema,’ ‘high altitude pulmonary hypertension,’ ‘pathophysiology,’ ‘mechanisms,’ ‘prevention,’ ‘treatment,’ ‘human,’ ‘clinical,’ ‘safety,’ and ‘pharmacokinetics.’ Results We found 26 species (from 20 families) out of 5000 plants which are used for HAPE and HAPH prevention or treatment. Rhodiola rosea Linn. (Crassulaceae) is the most widely utilized. The most involved family is Lamiaceae, which contains 5 species. Discussion and Conclusions We mainly reviewed the medicinal plants and mechanisms for the treatment of HAPE and HAPH, and we also assessed related toxicology experiments, pharmacokinetics and bioavailability. Potential medicinal plants were also identified. Further research is needed to determine the pharmacological effects and active ingredients of these potential medicinal plants.