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      South African medicinal plant extracts active against influenza A virus


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          Influenza infection remains a major health threat for animals and humans which crucially requires effective antiviral remedies. The usage of herbal medications as readily available alternatives for their compatibility with the body and fewer side effects compared to synthetic chemical treatments has become popular globally. The aim of this study was to investigate and screen in vitro anti-influenza activity of extracts of five South African medicinal plants, namely Tabernaemontana ventricosa, Cussonia spicata, Rapanea melanophloeos, Pittosporum viridiflorum and Clerodendrum glabrum, species which are used traditionally for the treatment of several diseases such as inflammatory and respiratory diseases.


          Methanol, ethanol (100% and 30%), acetone, hot and cold water extracts of the powdered plants leaves were obtained by standard methods. The cytotoxicity was determined by the MTT colorimetric assay on MDCK cells. The concentrations below CC 50 values were tested for antiviral activity against influenza A virus (IAV) in different combination treatments. The effect of extracts on viral surface glycoproteins and viral titer were tested by HI and HA virological assays, respectively.


          Based on the applied methods, the most effective results against IAV were obtained from Rapanea melanophloeos methanol leaf extract (EC 50 = 113.3 μg/ml) and Pittosporum viridiflorum methanol, 100% and 30% ethanol and acetone leaf extracts (EC 50 values = 3.6, 3.4, 19.2, 82.3 μg/ml, respectively) in all types of combined treatments especially in pre- and post-penetration combined treatments with highly significant effects against viral titer ( P ≤ 0.01).


          The outcomes offer for the first time a scientific basis for the use of extracts of Rapanea melanophloeos and Pittosporum viridiflorum against IAV. It is worth focusing on the isolation and identification of effective active compounds and elucidating the mechanism of action from these species. However, Tabernaemontana ventricosa, Cussonia spicata and Clerodendrum glabrum leaf extracts were ineffective in vitro in this study.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1186/s12906-018-2184-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references49

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          Beitrag zur kollektiven Behandlung pharmakologischer Reihenversuche

          G. Kärber (1931)
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            Delayed Clearance of Viral Load and Marked Cytokine Activation in Severe Cases of Pandemic H1N1 2009 Influenza Virus Infection

            Abstract Background. Infections caused by the pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza virus range from mild upper respiratory tract syndromes to fatal diseases. However, studies comparing virological and immunological profile of different clinical severity are lacking. Methods. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 74 patients with pandemic H1N1 infection, including 23 patients who either developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or died (ARDS-death group), 14 patients with desaturation requiring oxygen supplementation and who survived without ARDS (survived-without-ARDS group), and 37 patients with mild disease without desaturation (mild-disease group). We compared their pattern of clinical disease, viral load, and immunological profile. Results. Patients with severe disease were older, more likely to be obese or having underlying diseases, and had lower respiratory tract symptoms, especially dyspnea at presentation. The ARDS-death group had a slower decline in nasopharyngeal viral loads, had higher plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and were more likely to have bacterial coinfections (30.4%), myocarditis (21.7%), or viremia (13.0%) than patients in the survived-without-ARDS or the mild-disease groups. Reactive hemophagocytosis, thrombotic phenomena, lymphoid atrophy, diffuse alveolar damage, and multiorgan dysfunction similar to fatal avian influenza A H5N1 infection were found at postmortem examinations. Conclusions. The slower control of viral load and immunodysregulation in severe cases mandate the search for more effective antiviral and immunomodulatory regimens to stop the excessive cytokine activation resulting in ARDS and death.
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              In vitro antiplasmodial activity of medicinal plants native to or naturalised in South Africa.

              The increasing prevalence and distribution of malaria has been attributed to a number of factors, one of them being the emergence and spread of drug resistant parasites. Efforts are now being directed towards the discovery and development of new chemically diverse antimalarial agents. The present study reports on the in vitro antiplasmodial activity of 134 plant taxa native to or naturalised in South Africa, representing 54 families, which were selected semi-quantitatively using weighted criteria. The plant extracts were tested for in vitro activity against a Plasmodium falciparum strain D10 using the parasite lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) assay. Of the 134 species assayed, 49% showed promising antiplasmodial activity (IC(50)< or = 10 microg/ml), while 17% were found to be highly active (IC(50)< or = 5 microg/ml). Several plant species and genera were shown for the first time to possess in vitro antiplasmodial activity. These results support a rational rather than random approach to the selection of antiplasmodial screening candidates, and identify a number of promising taxa for further investigation as plant-based antimalarial agents.

                Author and article information

                +254 20 76 25998 , folorunso.fasina@fao.org
                BMC Complement Altern Med
                BMC Complement Altern Med
                BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
                BioMed Central (London )
                27 March 2018
                27 March 2018
                : 18
                : 112
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2107 2298, GRID grid.49697.35, Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, , University of Pretoria, ; Pretoria, South Africa
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0000 9562 2611, GRID grid.420169.8, Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses Department, Pasteur Institute of IRAN, ; Tehran, Iran
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2107 2298, GRID grid.49697.35, Phytomedicine Programme, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, , University of Pretoria, ; Pretoria, South Africa
                [4 ]GRID grid.463291.b, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, ; Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria
                [5 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2107 2298, GRID grid.49697.35, Department of Production Animal Studies, , University of Pretoria, ; Pretoria, South Africa
                [6 ]Department of Animal Health, Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Ibadan, Nigeria
                [7 ]ECTAD, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Block P, Level 3, United Nations Complex, UN Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya
                Author information
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 22 June 2017
                : 22 March 2018
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100006312, South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement;
                Award ID: N00882
                Award Recipient :
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Complementary & Alternative medicine
                potential medicinal plants,influenza a virus,antiviral activity,south africa,rapanea melanophloeos,pittosporum viridiflorum


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