Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro.

August 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Herbs, Science

Elderberry

The following information gives a clear indication of the usefulness of Elderberry for prevention of the H1Ni virus.

A ionization technique in mass spectrometry called Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry (DART TOF-MS) coupled with a Direct Binding Assay was used to identify and characterize anti-viral components of an elderberry fruit (Sambucus nigra L.) extract without either derivatization or separation by standard chromatographic techniques. The  elderberry extract inhibited elderberry extract inhibited  Human Influenza http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrezA (H1N1) infection in vitro with an IC(50) value of 252+/-34mug/mL. The Direct Binding Assay established that flavonoids from the elderberry extract bind to H1N1 virions and, when bound, block the ability of the viruses to infect host cells. Two compounds were identified, 5,7,3′,4′-tetra-O-methylquercetin (1) and 5,7-dihydroxy-4-oxo-2-(3,4,5-trihydroxyphenyl)chroman-3-yl-3,4,5-trihydroxycyclohexanecarboxylate (2), as H1N1-bound chemical species. Compound 1 and dihydromyricetin (3), the corresponding 3-hydroxyflavonone of 2, were synthesized and shown to inhibit H1N1 infection in vitro by binding to H1N1 virions, blocking host cell entry and/or recognition. Compound 1 gave an IC(50) of 0.13mug/mL (0.36muM) for H1N1 infection inhibition, while dihydromyricetin (3) achieved an IC(50) of 2.8mug/mL (8.7muM). The H1N1 inhibition activities of the elderberry flavonoids compare favorably to the known anti-influenza activities of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu((R)); 0.32muM) and Amantadine (27muM).

Phytochemistry. 2009 Aug 12.

Colds and influenza: a review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical, and nutritional considerations.

August 26, 2009 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Nutrients, Science

coldflu

The school season has started therefore the cold and flu season is upon us.  The following information on herbs and vitamins is worth reviewing for the prevention of winter illnesses.

The common cold is the leading cause of doctor visits in the United States and annually results in 189 million lost school days. In the course of one year the U.S. population contracts approximately 1 billion colds. Influenza infection is still a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, accounting for 20-25 million doctor visits and 36,000 deaths per year in the United States. Conventional therapies for colds and flu focus primarily on temporary symptom relief and include over-the-counter antipyretics, anti-inflammatories, and decongestants. Treatment for influenza also includes prescription antiviral agents and vaccines for prevention. This article reviews the common cold and influenza viruses, presents the conventional treatment options, and highlights select botanicals (Echinacea spp., Sambucus nigra, larch arabinogalactan, Astragalus membranaceous, Baptisia tinctoria, Allium sativa, Panax quinquefolium, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Andrographis paniculata, olive leaf extract, and Isatis tinctoria) and nutritional considerations (vitamins A and C, zinc, high lactoferrin whey protein, N-acetylcysteine, and DHEA) that may help in the prevention and treatment of these conditions.

Altern Med Rev. 2007 Mar;12(1):25-48.

St John’s wort for major depression.

August 26, 2009 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

St. John's

St. John’s Wort has been used in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.  The following study shows it to be effective in the treatment of major depression as well.

In some countries extracts of the plant Hypericum perforatum L. (popularly called St. John’s wort) are widely used for treating patients with depressive symptoms. OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether extracts of hypericum are more effective than placebo and as effective as standard antidepressants in the treatment of major depression; and whether they have fewer adverse effects than standard antidepressant drugs.

Patients given hypericum extracts dropped out of trials due to adverse effects less frequently than those given older antidepressants (odds ratio (OR) 0.24; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.46) or SSRIs (OR 0.53, 95% CI, 0.34-0.83). AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: The available evidence suggests that the hypericum extracts tested in the included trials a) are superior to placebo in patients with major depression; b) are similarly effective as standard antidepressants; c) and have fewer side effects than standard antidepressants. The association of country of origin and precision with effects sizes complicates the interpretation.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Oct 8;(4):CD000448.

Antimicrobial activity of Gentiana

August 20, 2009 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

  • File:Gentiana lutea 230705.jpg

Serbian researchers have found impressive antimicrobial activity of Gentiana.  We will be watching this research closely.

Methanolic extracts of flowers and leaves of Gentiana lutea L., together with the isolated compounds mangiferin, isogentisin and gentiopicrin, were used to investigate the antimicrobial activity of the plant. A variety of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria as well as the yeast Candida albicans has been included in this study. Both extracts and isolated compounds showed antimicrobial activity with MIC values ranging from 0.12-0.31 mg/ml. Our study indicated that the synergistic activity of the pure compounds may be responsible for the good antimicrobial effect of the extracts. Quantification of the secondary metabolites was performed using hplc.

Soldiering on With Herbs

August 19, 2009 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Nutrients, Science

File:US 3rd Infantry regiment drill team.jpg

A new book based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health explores the use of dietary supplements by military personnel. One of the best things about this book? It’s available online in its entirety, HERE. It reports on research conducted by a committee chosen to “identify those that may be of benefit or might pose serious hazards.” the committee selected supplements to review “based on their frequency of use, potential for adverse events, and interest for the military.” The supplements considered in the book are caffeine, chromium, creatine, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), Ephedra, garlic, Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate (HMB), melatonin, quercetin, sports bars, sports drinks, tyrosine, and valerian. Overall, the book takes a skeptical view of these supplements, mostly because of insufficient high quality research. Here are some highlights: Read more

Vitamin D and the control of the skin’s immune response

August 6, 2009 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Nutrients, Science

Vt. DThis article illustrates the possible importance of Vitamin D in the management of infectious and inflammatory skin diseases.

Schauber J, Gallo RL.

Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany. juergen.schauber@med.uni-muenchen.de

The surface of our skin is constantly challenged by a wide variety of microbial pathogens, still cutaneous infections are relatively rare. Within cutaneous innate immunity the production of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) is a primary system for protection against infection. Many AMPs can be found on the skin, and these include molecules that were discovered for their antimicrobial properties, and other peptides and proteins first known for activity as chemokines, enzymes, enzyme inhibitors and neuropeptides. Cathelicidins were among the first families of AMPs discovered on the skin. They are now known to have two distinct functions; they have direct antimicrobial activity and will initiate a host cellular response resulting in cytokine release, inflammation and angiogenesis. Dysfunction of cathelicidin is relevant in the pathogenesis of several cutaneous diseases including atopic dermatitis where cathelicidin induction is suppressed, rosacea, where cathelicidin peptides are abnormally processed to forms that induce cutaneous inflammation and a vascular response, and psoriasis, where a cathelicidin peptide can convert self-DNA to a potent stimulus of an autoinflammatory cascade. Recent work has unexpectedly identified vitamin D3 as a major factor involved in the regulation of cathelicidin expression. Therapies targeting the vitamin D3 pathway and thereby cathelicidin may provide new treatment modalities in the management of infectious and inflammatory skin diseases.

Exp Dermatol. 2008 Aug;17(8):633-9. Epub 2008 Jun 28.

Schauber J, Gallo RL.

Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany. juergen.schauber@med.uni-muenchen.de

The surface of our skin is constantly challenged by a wide variety of microbial pathogens, still cutaneous infections are relatively rare. Within cutaneous innate immunity the production of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) is a primary system for protection against infection. Many AMPs can be found on the skin, and these include molecules that were discovered for their antimicrobial properties, and other peptides and proteins first known for activity as chemokines, enzymes, enzyme inhibitors and neuropeptides. Cathelicidins were among the first families of AMPs discovered on the skin. They are now known to have two distinct functions; they have direct antimicrobial activity and will initiate a host cellular response resulting in cytokine release, inflammation and angiogenesis. Dysfunction of cathelicidin is relevant in the pathogenesis of several cutaneous diseases including atopic dermatitis where cathelicidin induction is suppressed, rosacea, where cathelicidin peptides are abnormally processed to forms that induce cutaneous inflammation and a vascular response, and psoriasis, where a cathelicidin peptide can convert self-DNA to a potent stimulus of an autoinflammatory cascade. Recent work has unexpectedly identified vitamin D3 as a major factor involved in the regulation of cathelicidin expression. Therapies targeting the vitamin D3 pathway and thereby cathelicidin may provide new treatment modalities in the management of infectious and inflammatory skin diseases.

Novel antiviral agents: a medicinal plant perspective

August 1, 2009 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

virusThe following review gives valuable information on the use of medicinal plants in the treatment of viruses.

Several hundred plant and herb species that have potential as novel antiviral agents have been studied, with surprisingly little overlap. A wide variety of active phytochemicals, including the flavonoids, terpenoids, lignans, sulphides, polyphenolics, coumarins, saponins, furyl compounds, alkaloids, polyines, thiophenes, proteins and peptides have been identified. Some volatile essential oils of commonly used culinary herbs, spices and herbal teas have also exhibited a high level of antiviral activity. However, given the few classes of compounds investigated, most of the pharmacopoeia of compounds in medicinal plants with antiviral activity is still not known. Several of these phytochemicals have complementary and overlapping mechanisms of action, including antiviral effects by either inhibiting the formation of viral DNA or RNA or inhibiting the activity of viral reproduction. Assay methods to determine antiviral activity include multiple-arm trials, randomized crossover studies, and more compromised designs such as nonrandomized crossovers and pre- and post-treatment analyses. Methods are needed to link antiviral efficacy/potency- and laboratory-based research. Nevertheless, the relative success achieved recently using medicinal plant/herb extracts of various species that are capable of acting therapeutically in various viral infections has raised optimism about the future of phyto-antiviral agents. As this review illustrates, there are innumerable potentially useful medicinal plants and herbs waiting to be evaluated and exploited for therapeutic applications against genetically and functionally diverse viruses families such as Retroviridae, Hepadnaviridae and Herpesviridae

J Appl Microbiol. 2003;95(3):412-27.