Potential cure vs COVID-19? 10 Herbal Medicines in PH with Immunomodulatory and Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Activities Identified – Manila Bulletin

Medical experts and chemists nationwide have identified at least 10 herbal medicines that possess phytochemicals with potential anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) activities and have immunomodulatory properties that can boost one’s immune system against coronavirus disease (COVID -19).

(Philippine Journal of Science Facebook page)

In a 17-page review article published in the October 2021 issue of the Philippine Journal of Science (PJS), Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit of Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU); Armando M. Guidote Jr. of the Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry (PIPAC), Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Vaccine Expert Group, and six other experts said that the 10 herbs had been selected from 100 of the best-studied medicinal plants with antiviral and immunomodulatory properties from three volumes of the “Philippine Herbal Encyclopedia”.

“These are the Philippine medicinal plants with the largest number of botanical, pharmacological and phytochemical publications, and with the longest documented history of use,” they said.

These plants were:

Allium spp. bulbs (bawang)

Andrographis paniculata (Burm.f.) Nees leaves (sinta)

Coconut nucifera L. (niyog) oil

Leaves of Euphorbia hirta L. (tawa-tawa)

Leaves of Euphorbia neriifolia L. (sorosoro),

Moringa oleifera Lam. leaves (malunggay)

Leaves of Ocimum basilica L. (balanoy)

Seeds of Piper nigrum L. (paminta)

Leaves of Vitex negundo L. (lagundi),

Zingiber officinale Roscoe rhizome (luya)

“The general and specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 antiviral activities and immunomodulatory properties of the phytochemicals these plants contained were investigated. While many compounds evaluated individually using in vitro and in silico techniques suggest potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 or immunomodulatory effects, this review sought to identify herbal medicines that contain these compounds and that after the literature, have the best potential application against COVID-19”, read the review article titled “Philippine Medicinal Plants with Potential Immunomodulatory and Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Activities”.

The experts clarified that the objective of their article is not to analyze the immunomodulatory and antiviral mechanisms of COVID-19, but to recommend the medicinal plants of the country that can be used in clinical studies against COVID-19 in depending on their phytochemical constituents.

“While herbal remedies are recognized for their particular benefits, their effective and safe use against COVID-19 must be carefully studied to avoid conflicting results,” they said.

They said that only a few herbal remedies have actually gone through clinical trials against COVID. “It is hoped that this review will help identify those who have scientific evidence to consider.”

Herbal immunomodulators have been described as plants capable of stimulating or suppressing innate or adaptive responses of the immune system.

“Medicinal plants are multi-component agents capable of modulating the complex immune system to defend against viral infections rather than acting directly against the virus,” the experts explained.

They noted that phytochemical constituents that have been identified in herbal medicines that exhibit favorable immunomodulatory properties include anthraquinones, flavonoids, terpenoids, alkaloids, polyphenols, polysaccharides, proteins, fatty acids, and sulfur compounds. .

“Among these classes of compounds, flavonoids and their glycosides have the highest number of documented cases.”

Experts also cited that many identified herbal remedies also have beneficial effects against comorbidities that are known risk factors for COVID-19.

These include A. sativum (bawang) and A. paniculata (sinta) for cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes mellitus; C. nucifera and Z. officinale for chronic kidney disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes mellitus; E. hirta (tawa-tawa) and O. basilicum (balanoy) for cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes mellitus; E neriifolia (sorosoro) for chronic respiratory diseases; M. oleifera (malunggay) for cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease; and P. nigrum (paminta) and V. negundo (lagundi) for chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes mellitus.

“These are important additional benefits not found in many drug candidates,” the group said.

They recommended the establishment of a strategy based on prioritized plant sources, “given the urgency of a response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

“Plant sources must have a good margin of safety, be available and affordable, and contain identified active constituents that can be standardized accordingly. However, it is important that clinical studies are carried out on standardized herbal preparations.

Sheriah Laine M. de Paz-Silava of University of the Philippines (UP) Manila, Irene M. Villaseñor of UP Diliman, Rene Angelo S. Macahig of Andrew Moore and Associates Ltd., Singapore also contributed to the article. synthesis; Mario A. Tan of the University of Santo Tomas; and Isidro C. Sia of Integrative Medicine for Alternative Health Systems (INAM) Philippines Inc.

The PJS is the oldest peer-reviewed scientific journal in the country. The first issue of PJS was published in 1906.

The scientific journal is published by the Department of Science and Technology – Institute of Scientific and Technological Information (DOST-STII).

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Alvin J. Chase