echinacea against the novel coronavirus pneumonia

Views: 5     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-03-30      Origin: Site

In the fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19), precision-targeted treatments with chemical drugs are rapidly effective, but sometimes there are unavoidable serious side effects. Therefore, in the process of treatment and prevention of the new crown virus, China has adopted a treatment plan that integrates traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine, and the effect is remarkable.

In this context, a variety of International Chinese herbal medicines have also been proposed to have antiviral activity, which is expected to become a new choice for effective prevention or friendly treatment of the new crown. European and American scientists have carried out research on echinacea extract and oleander extract.


(Echinacea purpurea (Linn.) Moench)

In 2020, a team working with Spiez Labs (Switzerland) published an article proposing that Echinaforce, a drug made from echinacea extract, has in vitro antiviral activity against coronavirus and can prevent novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19).

This led to the sale of some related drugs in pharmacies, and echinacea became the focus. Previously, in Europe, echinacea was commonly used to prevent colds.

In the article, the researchers used different cell lines, pretreated viral particles and cells, and assessed their remaining infectivity with limited dilutions. In addition, post-infected cells are exposed to echinacea extract to assess its potential as a prevention and treatment of coronavirus.

Finally, Echinaforce has inactivated effects on four human coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-1, and SARS-CoV-2) in vitro. However, its mechanism of action and the active substances that cause activity are still unknown, therefore, its effectiveness against COVID-19 still needs further research.


(Nerium oleander L.)

In mid-August 2020, oleander extract was promoted on the Internet that it might be useful for the treatment of COVID-19, which was a concern for the scientific community.

Because oleander is a poisonous plant, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of oleander to treat any disease. Organizations such as the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Plant Council of America (ABC), and many other media outlets have warned the public of the potential risks of ingesting oleander plants and their constituents, oleandrin.

How to quickly identify the active ingredient of the extract?

As an important technical means to detect and identify the components of Chinese herbal medicines, thin layer chromatography can well isolate and analyze the component differences between related or similar species. For further research by the assistant scientists, CAMAG and the International HPTLC Association provide relevant thin layer chromatography identification methods.

In the case of echinacea, accurate and effective identification is an important research prerequisite to ensure that the correct source of plant species and sites can be used in the study. The International HPTLC Association provides an effective hptLC identification method that can be used to distinguish different parts of echinacea from the roots of the same genus Echinacea angustifolia (Echinacea pallida).

Echinacea thin layer chromatography result map

For valuable but toxic plants such as oleander, how can we rationally develop and use them to prevent toxic side effects? Screening for toxic ingredients is naturally the first step.

Thin layer chromatography identification methods can also play a role in this regard.

The CAMAG Application Laboratory team and the HPTLC Association have published a new thin oleander method. Based on the chemical pattern obtained under several detection methods, this method can quickly identify different parts of oleander and can detect oleandrin and other cardiac glycoside compounds.

Oleander thin layer chromatography result map

Authentication method template acquisition

After introducing the research progress of European and American scientists on echinacea and oleandrin, this paper also provides a template for the thin layer identification method mentioned in the article for everyone to exchange and learn.

"Thin layer chromatography identification method of echinacea/oleander and oleandrin"

"Application of Oleander and Oleandrin"

About the International HPTLC Association

Founded in 2012 by 15 scientists from 7 countries around the world, the International HPTLC Association is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, with chapters in several countries and currently has more than 150 members from 18 countries.

The association aims to promote the use of HPTLC in the fields of Herbal Medicine, Food, Pharmaceutical, Chemical, Cosmetics and Environmental Analysis, and to contribute to the research and development of high-efficiency thin layer chromatography technology with HPTLC users from academia, industry, research, regulatory and standard-setting bodies.


[1] J. Signer, H. R. Jonsdottir, W.C. Albrich, M. Strasser, R. Züst, S. Ryter, R. Ackermann-Gumann, N. Lenz, D. Siegrist, A. Suter, R. Schoop, O.B. Engler. In vitro virucidal activity of Echinaforce, an Echinacea purpurea preparation, against coronaviruses, including common cold coronavirus 229E and SARS-CoV-2. Virol J, 17 (136)

[2] K. S. Plante, J. A. Plante, D. Fernandez, D. Mirchandani, N. Bopp, P. V. Aguilar, K. J. Sastry, R. A. Newman, S.C. Weaver. Prophylactic and therapeutic inhibition of in vitro SARS-CoV-2 replication by oleandrin, bioRxiv preprint.

[3] T. Akhtar, N. Sheikh, and M. H. Abbasi. Clinical and pathological features of Nerium oleander extract toxicosis in wistar rats. BMC Res Notes, 7 (947), pp 1-6

[4] T. Farkhondeh, M. Kianmehr, T. Kazemi, S. Samarghandian. Toxicity effects of Nerium oleander, basic and clinical evidence: A comprehensive review. Hum Exp Toxicol, 39 (6), pp 773-784

[5] B. Halford, What is oleandrin, the compound touted as a possible COVID-19 treatment?

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