Our study's objective was to systematize knowledge and traditional usage of plants against respiratory infections among the population in Serbia, based on literature data, and compare these results with published ethnomedicinal studies conducted in other territories of Balkan region. The study aimed to produce a review that can be a basis for further investigation, which may eventually lead to anti-viral agents' development. The ethnobotanical surveys we comprised in this review include 18 localities dispersed across the Balkan Peninsula, including the rural regions of Greece, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro. These surveys identified 213 plants from 57 families represented in the folk medicine of the studied region. The primary indications of reported plant taxa in ethnobotanical studies in the Balkan Peninsula were cough; common cold and cold prevention; pneumonia and pulmonary diseases, bronchitis, asthma, bronchial catarrh, chest pain; fever, headache, influenza; sore throat, laryngitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, and inhalation; respiratory infections and respiratory diseases in general, and tuberculosis. Presented knowledge on the traditional use of plants against respiratory infections may serve as a basis and helpful guide for selecting plants that deserve new pharmacological and clinical studies, which may eventually lead to the development of efficient antimicrobial and anti-viral medicinal products.
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