Herbal Researches Worldwide

Battle With Covid-19


Hope For Faster Recovery Overcoming Lung Injuries

Chili Peppers are the principle ingredient of meals cooked in every household in Indo-Pacific region. Chili plants belong to genus Capsicum. Scientists have found that Chili peppers are so hot, pungent and tasteful for one of it’s bioactive compound called ‘Capsaicin’ (trans-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide, C18H27NO) which has numerous medicinal properties.

Berlin based Charité university’s researchers (Skrzypski et al.) have found that Capsaicin is capable of burning and killing pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor cells whereas Madrid based Alcala University’s researchers (Ines Diaz-Laviada et al.) found that Capsaicin is capable of killing prostate’s P53 tumor cells.

In a few pilot studies conducted for evaluating Capsaicin’s potential utility in treating COVID-19 symptomatic patients, its found that Chili Peppers for their exclusive property of fast activation, sensitization and immediate di-sensitization of Calcium ion-channels – TPRA1 and TPRV1 in our mouth cavity, when consumed with Nrf2 activating fruits, spices and vegetables viz. Garlic (Lahsun), Green Broccoli, Cauliflower (Gobhi), Jackfruit (Jaiphal), Peanuts (Moongfali), Turmeric (Haldi), Spinach (Palak) etc., actually helps in faster recovery of COVID-19 infected patients. Its unfortunate that WHO and ICMR haven’t paid much attentions to healing benefits offered by such food items supplementing healing and recovery.

Its to be underlined that Curcumin found in Turmeric (Haldi) is considered one of the best safe Nrf2 activators for the human body.

Nrf2 is well known for protecting lungs from the injuries caused by many viral diseases. In human lungs, liver, and kidneys where antioxidant detox is performed, nature provides Nrf2 in abundance. The viruses like SARS-CoV-2 tend to hit Nrf2 expression in lungs, liver and kidney and thereby reduce its count which leads to increase in the severity of the disease COVID-19.

References: Sagar S, Rathinavel AK, Lutz WE, et al. Bromelain Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Infection in VeroE6 Cells. Preprint. bioRxiv. 2020;2020.09.16.297366. Published 2020 Sep 16. doi:10.1101/2020.09.16.297366

Felton GE. Fibrinolytic and antithrombotic action of bromelain may eliminate thrombosis in heart patients. Med Hypotheses. 1980 Nov;6(11):1123-33. doi: 10.1016/0306-9877(80)90134-6. PMID: 6256612.



The Lung Healer Slowing Down Viral Replication

Pomegranate (Anar) is a very popular fruit in India which has been traditionally used in the folk medicines due to its beneficial health properties and treatment of different chronic diseases like diabetes type 2 and cardiovascular diseases. 

Since a long time scientists have been studying medical benefits of pomegranate against different lung-based diseases and found (Pooja Sharma et al. from Birmingham) that the juice and peel extracts of Pomegranate has enough protective properties for asthma, lung fibrosis and lung cancer. Pomegranate peel extracts are particularly rich with tannins (punicalagin, punicalin, gallic and ellagic acid) and flavonoids.

In a computational molecular docking study using AutoDock, a team of Iranian researchers (Mojtaba Yousefi et al.) have found two constituents of pomegranate peel extracts (PoPEx) particularly the ‘punicalagin’ and ‘punicalin’ may interact with SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein’s binding with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) which is the well-known receptor paving way to virus’s entry to human cells and to an extent may block and slow down the replication speed of the virus.

References: Yousefi, M., Sadriirani, M., PourMahmoudi, A. et al. Effects of pomegranate juice (Punica Granatum) on inflammatory biomarkers and complete blood count in patients with COVID-19: a structured summary of a study protocol for a randomized clinical trial. Trials 22, 246 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05194-9



Clinical Repurposing In COVID-19 Management

Ashwagandha scientifically known as Withania somnifera, is a well-known medicinal plant used in Ayurvedic and folk medicines for over 3,000 years. Ashwagandha contains bioactive compunds like withaferin-A (Wi-A), withanolide (Wi-A), withanone (Wi-N) extracted from its root and leaves. Such compounds may have potential to inhibit TMPRSS2 protein that is required for spreading out infection caused by SARS-CoV-2.

It’s to be noted that virus SARS-CoV-2 employs TMPRSS2 protein for ‘S’ protein priming for its entry into other cells (Markus Hoffmann et al.) and thereby and spreading out infection.  In the molecular docking analysis its seen that although both Wi-A and Wi-N could bind and interact with TMPRSS2 protein, Withanone (Wi-N) shows stronger affinity for interactions with TMPRSS2 than withanolide (Wi-A) and was also able to induce changes in the allosteric site of TMPRSS2 similar to the ones reported for Camostat mesylate (Kumar V et al.). The researchers also observed in Wi-N treated cells a transcriptional downregulation of the Virus.

In the absence of proven clinical trials much cant be predicted on efficacy of withanone (Wi-N) induced inhibition but early screening and molecular docking outcomes are seem encouraging.

References: Hoffmann M, Kleine-Weber H, Schroeder S, Krüger N, Herrler T, Erichsen S, Schiergens TS, Herrler G, Wu NH, Nitsche A, Müller MA, Drosten C, Pöhlmann S. SARS-CoV-2 Cell Entry Depends on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and Is Blocked by a Clinically Proven Protease Inhibitor. Cell. 2020 Apr

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