Interest of botanicals for COVID-19


COVID‐19 is spreading worldwide, leading a pandemic. This review highlighted that curcumin could be a new treatment option to combat the COVID‐19. Curcumin, an active constituent of Curcuma longa (turmeric), has some useful clinical effects such as antiviral, antinociceptive, anti‐inflammatory, antipyretic, and antifatigue effects that could alleviate symptoms of the infected patient with COVID‐19. Curcumin could reduce inflammatory cytokines via inhibiting TLR/MAPK/NF‐κB signaling. Curcumin might attenuate acute respiratory distress syndrome and pulmonary fibrosis due to anti‐inflammatory properties.

Babaei F, Nassiri-Asl M, Hosseinzadeh H. Curcumin (a constituent of turmeric): New treatment option against COVID-19. Food Sci Nutr. 2020 Sep 6;8(10):5215-5227. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.1858. PMID: 33133525; PMCID: PMC7590269.

Tea and Coffee

The global spread of COVID 19 is ongoing and the natural polyphenols are catching more attention in the management of this pandemic. The protease inhibitor is one of the key challenges. Metabolic profiling of leaves methanolic extract of Ficus microcarpa (Moraceae) revealed nine compounds mainly phenolics and the docking studies of these compounds against SARS-CoV-2 main protease showed that quercetin 3,7-O-α-L-dirhamnoside and rutin possessed significant binding stability at the N3 binding site in different activity degrees, which is comparable with COVID-19 main protease inhibitor, darunavir. These results highlight the potential of Ficus microcarpa metabolites against SARA-CoV-2. (Hassan et al., 2020).

Constantly, a review proposed that the intake of polyphenols present in coffee and tea may have potential positive effects as an adjuvant therapy in patients with metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. However, this seems not to be elucidated enough. Further studies are warranted to confirm these beneficial properties (Semiz et al., 2020).

Hassan HA, Abdelmohsen UR, Aly OM, Desoukey SY, Mohamed KM, Kamel MS. Potential of Ficus microcarpa metabolites against SARS-CoV-2 main protease supported by docking studies. Nat Prod Res. 2020 Oct 30:1-5. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2020.1839452. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33121282.

Semiz S, Serdarevic F. Prevention and Management of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome in the Time of COVID-19: Should We Add a Cup of Coffee? Front Nutr. 2020 Oct 6;7:581680. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2020.581680. PMID: 33123550; PMCID: PMC7573071.


Like other coronaviruses (CoV2) infection, prenatal COVID infection is anticipated to affect fetal development by maternal inflammatory response on the fetus and placenta. This in silico study demonstrated that the essential nutrient Choline has effect on neuroprotective immunity for the prevention of SARS CoV2 infections. The virtual screening, molecular docking and molecular dynamics techniques showed a strong inhibitory possibility of choline for SARS 3CL protease which is a key enzyme responsible for replication and transcription function for SARS CoV2 (Chowdhury et al., 2020).

The study suggested Choline as a strong candidate inhibitor for SARS-CoV2 which would provide a lead for the prenatal drug development for the treatment of COVID-19.

Chowdhury P, Pathak P. Neuroprotective Immunity by Essential Nutrient “Choline” for the Prevention of SARS CoV2 Infections: An In Silico Study by Molecular Dynamics Approach. Chem Phys Lett. 2020 Oct 3;761:138057. doi: 10.1016/j.cplett.2020.138057. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33041350; PMCID: PMC7532804.

Alpha-cyclodextrin and hydroxytyrosol against SARS-CoV-2 transmission: A pilot study

An open non-controlled interventional study was to evaluate the efficacy of alpha-cyclodextrin and hydroxytyrosol in improving defenses against SARS-CoV-2 among healthy volunteers at a higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection (n=50) and positive individuals for SARS-CoV-2 (n=6). All subjects used the spray containing hydroxytyrosol and alpha-cyclodextrin 4 times (4 puffs per dose) a day for 15 days.

Results showed that the 50 volunteers at a higher risk did not become positive in 15 days for SARS-CoV-2 after the two-week administration.

In the cohort of six positive patients, two patients were administered the spray and became negative after five days, despite the viral load was higher in the treated subjects than the untreated patients who became negative after ten days. In addition, the in silco prediction using D3DOCKING revealed the possible interactions among hydroxytyrosol and alpha-cyclodextrin with the protein Spike and the human proteins ACE2 and TMPRSS2. No side effects were recorded during the study.

This report suggested a possible role of alpha-cyclodextrin and hydroxytyrosol in improving defenses against SARS-CoV-2 (Ergoren et al., 2020).

Ergoren MC, Paolacci S, Manara E, Dautaj A, Dhuli K, Anpilogov K, Camilleri G, Suer HK, Sayan M, Tuncel G, Sultanoglu N, Farronato M, Tartaglia GM, Dundar M, Farronato G, Gunsel IS, Bertelli M, Sanlidag T. A pilot study on the preventative potential of alpha-cyclodextrin and hydroxytyrosol against SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Acta Biomed. 2020 Nov 9;91(13-S):e2020022. doi: 10.23750/abm.v91i13-S.10817. PMID: 33170176.

Curcuma Longa, Tea (Camellia sinensis L), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L) and COVID-19

In perception to novel coronavirus disease (COVID 19) pandemic, different ayurvedic therapeutic agents (Curcuma Longa L, Green tea and Piper nigrum) were suggested to be able to inhibit entry of virus in host cell, transmission of pathogen and improve the immunity allowing the survival of animal from being infected. (Kumar et al., 2020). Tea (Camellia sinensis L)was known as an important source of nutritional immunity which can enhance innate immune response for combating against infectious diseases like COVID 19. Drawing from discoveries on in-vitro experiments, animal models and human trials, tea polyphenols, micronutrients, and vitamins has the potential to modulate and enhance innate immune response. Tea infusion is rich in polyphenols; epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and theaflavin (TF), major green and black tea polyphenols, respectively, as an innate immunity modulator. Tea infusions are also rich in alkaloids; caffeine and its intermediates, theophylline and theobromine, which have anti-inflammatory properties (Chowdhury et al., 2020; Kumar et al., 2020).

Another natural ingredient, glycyrrhizin (GI), the main component of Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (licorice) root, was also discussed in a short excursus aiming to highlight a possible positive effect on COVID-19 infections in combination with spironolactone (SP). The mechanisms of action of licorice were the stimulation of interferon gamma secretion, anti-inflammatory effect, partial block of TMPRSS2 due to the reduction of androgen secretion by testis, ovary, adrenals and control of the hypotensive and hyperkalemic effect of SP. This study propose that the possible synergism association of GI and SP may be considered for Covid-19 infections (Armanini et al., 2020).

This present scenario highlight the interests of the natural ingredients to reinforce the immune system in the context of combating against SARS-CoV-2 infection. This will further justify the need for in-vivo studies and clinical trials for developing it as a nutraceuticals.

Armanini D, Fiore C, Bielenberg J, Sabbadin C, Bordin L. Coronavirus-19: Possible Therapeutic Implications of Spironolactone and Dry Extract of Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Licorice). Front Pharmacol. 2020 Oct 22;11:558418. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2020.558418. PMID: 33192504; PMCID: PMC7642094.

Chowdhury P, Barooah AK. Tea Bioactive Modulate Innate Immunity: In Perception to COVID-19 Pandemic. Front Immunol. 2020 Oct 28;11:590716. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.590716. PMID: 33193427; PMCID: PMC7655931.

Kumar G, Kumar D, Singh NP. Therapeutic Approach against 2019-nCoV by Inhibition of ACE-2 Receptor. Drug Res (Stuttg). 2020 Nov 12. doi: 10.1055/a-1275-0228. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33184809.

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