: In traditional systems of medicine, many plants have been documented to be useful for the treatment of various respiratory disorders including asthma. In the last two decades the use of medicinal plants and natural products has been increased dramatically all over the world. More than 500 medicinal plant species have been used ethnopharmacologically and traditionally to treat the symptoms of asthmatic and allergic disorders worldwide. Current synthetic drugs used in pharmacotherapy of asthma are unable to act at all the stages and targets of asthma. However some herbal alternatives employed in asthma are proven to provide symptomatic relief and assist in the inhibition of disease progression also. The herbs have shown interesting results in various target specific biological activities such as bronchodilation, mast cell stabilization, anti-anaphylactic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-allergic, immunomdulatory and inhibition of mediators
(such as leukotrienes, lipoxygenase, cyclooxygenase, platelet activating, phosphodiesterase and cytokine), in the treatment of asthma. This paper is an attempt to classify these pharmacological and clinical findings based on their possible mechanism of action reported. It also signifies the need for development of polyherbal formulations containing various herbs acting at particular sites of the pathophysiological cascade of asthma for prophylaxis as well as for the treatment of asthma.
Key words: Asthma, Current therapy, Herbal therapy, Poly herbal formulations, Ayurvedic drugs, Medicinal plants.