Preventing influenza with these 5 South African medicinal plants

A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that five different medicinal plants from South Africa might help prevent influenza. Instead of using antiviral drugs that are often linked to various side effects, the authors believe that these plants will be more effective at preventing the viral infection.

  •  The study aimed to analyze the effectiveness of the five South African medicinal plants, which had fewer side effects compared to various antiviral drugs.
  •  The researchers studied the in vitro anti-influenza activity of the extracts of five plants, namely Clerodendrum glabrum (tinderwood), Cussonia spicata (spiked cabbage tree), Pittosporum viridiflorum (cheesewood), Rapanea melanophloeos (Cape beech), and Tabernaemontana ventricosa (forest toad-tree). These species are traditionally used to treat various inflammatory and respiratory diseases.
  • The methanol, ethanol (100 percent and 30 percent), acetone, hot and cold water extracts of the five powdered plants were acquired via standard methods.
  • The MTT colorimetric assay on MDCK cells determined cytotoxicity. Concentrations below CC50 values were tested for antiviral activity against influenza A virus (IAV) in various combination treatments.
  • Using the applied methods, the findings from the study revealed that out of the five South African medicinal plants, the most effective results against IAV were achieved using the P. viridiflorum methanol 100 percent, and 30 percent ethanol and acetone leaf extracts; and R. melanophloeos methanol leaf extract for all kinds of combined treatments.
  • The authors reported that C. glabrum, C. spicata, and T. ventricosa, leaf extracts were ineffective in vitro for the study.

Based on the findings, the isolation and identification of effective active compounds from the P. viridiflorum and R. melanophloeos extracts can be used to develop effective cures for influenza.

Find the full text of study at this link.

Read more articles about South African medicinal plants and other natural cures at

Journal Reference: 

Mehrbod P, Abdalla MA, Njoya EM, Ahmed AS, Fotouhi F, Farahmand B, Gado DA, Tabatabaian M, Fasanmi OG, Eloff JN, et al. SOUTH AFRICAN MEDICINAL PLANT EXTRACTS ACTIVE AGAINST INFLUENZA A VIRUS. BMC COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE. 27 March 2018;18(112). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-018-2184-y

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