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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 303-304

COVID-19 and herbal medicine? Challenge in hand

1 Biomedical Research Institute, Darfur College; Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan
2 Biomedical Research Institute, Darfur College, Khartoum, Sudan; Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
3 Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, Darfur College, Nyala, Sudan

Date of Submission20-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance02-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication16-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Hassan Hussein Musa
Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Khartoum, Khartoum
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/MJBL.MJBL_38_20

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How to cite this article:
Musa HH, Musa TH, Musa IH. COVID-19 and herbal medicine? Challenge in hand. Med J Babylon 2020;17:303-4

How to cite this URL:
Musa HH, Musa TH, Musa IH. COVID-19 and herbal medicine? Challenge in hand. Med J Babylon [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 25];17:303-4. Available from: https://www.medjbabylon.org/text.asp?2020/17/3/303/295140

Dear Editor,

The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infected millions of peoples. It caused death for hundreds of thousands, and it is representing a global public health challenge to identify effective drugs for prevention and treatment. Although SARS-CoV-2 virology provides a significant number of potential drug targets, currently, there are no proven effective therapies for this virus. The clinical trials launched to investigate possible cures for COVID-19 highlight the need and capability to produce high-quality evidence even in the middle of a pandemic.[1] This needs not only time to be achieved but also is highly costly for people in developing countries.

The medicinal plant has a long history in disease control and public health management; many communities are believed that can give remarkable outcome, and combat many diseases, including COVID-19. Medicinal plants are prescribed widely, even when their biologically active compounds are unknown because of their safety, effectiveness, and availability.[2] In this Letter, we think that there is an urgent need for alternative novel drugs. Analysis of the ethyl acetate fraction of Acacia nilotica pods revealed its high contents of both hydrolysable and condensed tannins.[3] A. nilotica has been used for the treatment of various diseases, such as diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoid, abdominal aches, toothaches, sore throat, colds, bronchitis, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, antioxidant activities, and anticancer activities [4] [Figure 1]. A. nilotica revealed significant activity against the chloroquine-sensitive strain of Plasmodium falciparum,[3] three bacterial ( Escherichia More Details coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and  Salmonella More Details typhi), two fungal strain (Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger),[5] and hepatitis C virus [6] and inhibited HIV-1-induced cytopathogenicity.[7] A study in Sudan showed that EtOAc fraction of A. nilotica was significantly inhibited the growth rate of Leishmania donovani and Leishmania major promastigote with IC50 of 40 and 10 μg/ml, respectively. EtOAc fraction caused substantially higher levels of interleukin (IL)-6 coupled with lowering tumor necrosis factor-alpha and IL-β levels in the infected macrophages of both Leishmania species.[7]
Figure 1: Acacia nilotica tree with pods

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In Sudan, A. nilotica was conventionally used to treat patients with a respiratory infection. Further, many families are always kept at home for any emergency respiratory infection. In recent COVID-19 pandemic, some recovered patients quarantined at home were used A. nilotica and this raised question that A. nilotica might help save severely ill patients.[8] Up to date, 8416 COVID-19 cases were reported in Sudan, with 513 deaths and 3204 recovered cases. Therefore, we urge scientists to work further in A. nilotica to prove its treatment efficiency as a drug, which might be a significant health challenge in hand, especially for the poor communities in the developing countries.

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  References Top

Sanders JM, Monogue ML, Jodlowski TZ, Cutrell JB. Pharmacologic treatments for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A review. JAMA 2020;323:1824-36. [doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6019].  Back to cited text no. 1
Musa HH, Ahmed AA, Fedail JS, Musa TH, Sifaldin AZ. Gum Arabic attenuates the development of nephropathy in type 1 diabetes rat. Gums and Stabilisers for the Food Industry 18: Hydrocolloid functionality for affordable and sustainable global food solutions. R Soc Chem 2016;245-55.  Back to cited text no. 2
El-Tahir A, Satti GM, Khalid SA. Antiplasmodial activity of selected Sudanese medicinal plants with emphasis on Acacia nilotica. Phytother Res 1999;13:474-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Raphael DE, Annie B. African pharmacopoeia: Dictionary and multilingual monographs of the medicinal potential of African plants: West Africa. Vol. 1. Geneve: Traditions et M decine T & M; 2012. p. 912.  Back to cited text no. 4
Banso A. Phytochemical and antibacterial investigation of bark extracts of Acacia nilotica. J Med Plants Res 2009;3:82-5.  Back to cited text no. 5
Hussein G, Miyashiro H, Nakamura N, Hattori M, Kakiuchi N, Shimotohno K. Inhibitory effect of Sudanese medicinal plant extracts on hepatitis C virus protease. Phytother Res 2000;14:510-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
Hussein G, Miyashiro H, Nakamura N, Hattori M, Kawahata T, Otake T, et al. Inhibitory effect of Sudanese medicinal plant extracts on HIV replication and HIV-1 protease protease. Phytother Res 1999;13:31-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
Mustafa NK, Mukhtar MM, Dawi AF, Khalid S. Immunomodulatory effect of Acacia nilotica pods on Leishmania parasitized THP-1 macrophage cells. Planta Med 2019;85:1533-4.  Back to cited text no. 8


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