- ஆரோக்யம்



 By: Dr. Sarasa Bharati,MD,Ph.D,

Director Laboratory Services & Academics Adviser

Frontier Lifeline Hospital & Frontier Mediville

 Viruses  were first identified as “filterable” particles by Loeffler and Yersmin in 1898 and yet remain untreatable even today by any of the modern techniques or medicines. Vaccines to prevent occurrence of many lethal viruses are certainly available, however the fact remains that there is no definite cure for any virus. The only reliable defense consists of the Immune system present in the body.  This system has high efficiency and specificity against most pathogens and is responsible for maintenance of good health provided that it remains in perfect balance.

In recent years there has been an increasing imbalance in immune response allowing the emergence of a large number of disorders such auto immune diseases, immuno suppressor diseases and inappropriate reactions to infections. These then require some form of support such that the control could be restored to the immune system.

Infections affect humans who have decreased immunity in general, apart from other risk factors.   Viral spread has brought this lack of immunity to the fore front especially recently with the advent of the Corona Virus which has no cure as of now from Modern Medicines.

It is then in this context, we have to turn to alternative therapies. In India, a country steeped with abundant knowledge in the use of herbs, plants and trees  to help aid the sick and the ailing, three compounds stand apart requiring to be researched into for use against viruses in addition to simultaneously improving the Immune System a great deal.  These compounds are Turmeric, Neem and Ginger. These compounds have been in use for more than 5000 years in India without adhering to any definite rules or regulations regarding medicinal preparations or their issues to patients.  The knowledge in Ayurveda and Siddha medicines have been passed on from generations of “Vaidyas” often by word of mouth alone.  Dr. Anupama of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, states that these compounds have never been standardized in India., for example Turmeric is used for many different conditions and it is a time tested herb “Unfortunately our science does not fit into complete randomized control trials. This is alternative medicines biggest challenge”.

Turmeric (curcuma Longa) is apart of the ginger family (Zingiberacece) which grows ubiquitously in India,  Several molecules  constitute the Rhizome, such as Curcuminoids, sequiterpenas and steroids. The Principal component being Curcumin, the bright yellow pigment called “Manjal” in Tamil. This is the major bioactive substance which is endowed with many major activities .

A large number of studies have been attempted and carried out using various different aspects of the molecule and the literature  abounds  with nearly 11,000 articles all of  which are replete with multivarious desirable activities of manjal in general and its medicinal values in particular Nevertheless, the National center for Complementery and Integrative  Health says that there is not enough reliable evidence in humans to recommend turmeric or curcumin  for any condition.However,results  obtained invitro/ using both animals and human epithelial cell cultures  are astonishing and compelling.The active ingredients in turmeric are antioxidative, antibacterial,  antiviral, anti-inflammatory,antiparasitic anti fungal

With regard to antiviral studies, curcumin has been found to have an effective anti viral activity against several different viruses such as the ZIKA Virus (ZIkv) the pox viruses , Chicken Gunya Antiviral activity of Curcumin have been researched into in the following


Name of the Virus Particles Productivities inhibition Author
HBV – Hepatna Viridae Replication Inhibitor CCC DNA Inhibitor Kun etal, 2009, 2011; Rechtma etal, 2010; Nei etal, 2017
HCV Flavi viridae Entry inhibitor Anggakusuma etal, 2014


HIV Retro viridae Protease inhibitor

Integrase inhibitor

Tatprotein inhibitor

Sui etal, 1993

Mazumder etal, 1995

Barthelemy 1998

Balasubramaniam etal, 2004

Ali and Banergea 2016


HPV Papillomaviridae Gene expression inhibition Maher eta,l 2011

Mishra etal, 2015

Herpes viridae Gene expression inhibition Kutlucy etal 2008
IAV orthomyxo viridae Entry inhibitor Chen etal 2010


 JEV Flavi viridae Particle production


Entry inhibitor

Chen et al 2013

Padilles 2004

MNV Calci viridae Entry inhibitor Yang M etal 2016


RSV Entry inhibitor

Replication and budding inhibition

Yang XX etal 2016

Yang etal 2017

Obata etal 2017

RVFV Phenui viridae Replication inhibitor


Narayanan etal 2012
ZIKV Flavi viridae Entry inhibitor Maince etal 2017

Summarizing the anti viral activity, it can be seen that the major effect of Curcumin is to prevent replication and budding of viruses in the Human epithelial cell cultures.It also increases the epithelial barrier function Other scientists were able to demonstrate the ability its effects  on, cell membrane. Similar results were seen by others working on Dengue virus (JEV,  ZIKV, HCV) and influenza virus of all varieties.  In all these treatment with Curcumin, not only viral inhibition Interestingly cells already infected with this virus, showed accumulation of virus inside the cells and these were recognized as debris of viral proteins.  There was also a total reduction of the viral particles (Dutta Etal 2009, Paditta 2014) and similar results were also seen in the Rift Valley Fever Virus (Narayana Etal 2012)

Curumins activities  have a two fold  effect 1. It is an excellent immune booster

2It can prevent replication and budding of viruses while increasing the cell membranes barrier function

Despite its excellent tolerability with low or minimum toxicity even at high oral doses of  upto 12 gms per day, its clinical corelation  has not been found to besatisfactory using the present day techniques. This is the result of two disadvantages present in curcumin. (1) the poor absorption leading to low serum concentration (2) it is very rapid metabolization of the absorb molecule, that is within one to 2 ½ hours giving limited time for adequate destruction of virus.   However these are challenges which can be handled with newer techniques which will allow slower absorption and relatively longer duration before metabolization.

A study has already been made in this regard with the use of nano particles, either as Nano crystals or nano carriers which should overcome the disadvantage of low serum level and fast bio degradation.

Dr. Young from Ohio University  who just added castor oil to curcumin, before administrating it to the Human lung epithelial cells found a tenfold increase in Bio availability and was able to demonstrate high activity in the attachment of curcumin which appeared to latch itself on tothe viral membrane enzymes, essential for replication,  thus inhibiting replication either directly or by suppressing signals responsible for stimulating replication. The killed virus and the debris stand as proof of ability for its use in Therapy.

Further work is necessary to overcome any disadvantages in the use of nano particles themselves etc. However due to the great potential in therapy for a development and refining of curcumin formulation for anti viral therapy, it becomes urgent now as never before to fully look into the context of using modulation to assist and obtain the utmost from curcumin to help save humanity. Any research in this direction to achieve the goal of either killing the virus or even inhibiting replication would fulfill the most immediate need to overcome tragic human deaths.

Neem (azadirachta indica ) is a tree found all over India and it has got very great effect upon bacteria, viruses  fungi and parasitic. It is most importantly an anti oxidant and it not only protects itself from multitude of pests but also protects Humans, animals and plants from multitudes of pesticidal  ingredients.

Neem and its constituents play an important role in the scavenging of pre radical generation and inhibition of pathogens.  A number of pharmacological studies have shown that the major chemicals are 4 to 5 and minor 20 to 25 chemicals which are called limonoids or triterpenes  These have anti bacterial, anti viral, anti fungal, anti arthritis, anti pyretic, hypoglycemic, anti gastric ulcer and anti tumor activity activity as seen in the volumes of literature on the uses of Azadirachtin the best known limonoid- salannin,mekantriol and mimbin among many others

Neem can be used either as Neem leaf or the neem fruit or its seed or neem bark. Neem bark extracts have shown significant blockage of  viral entry into cells. There is also a direct anti viral activity against the HSV-1  coxsacchie virus and a host respiratory viruses. (this probably explains the principle of allowing hot water in steam inhalation in which the boiling water is soaked with neem leaves). Scientists working with neem leaf extracts have shown early inhibition of replication and inactivation of the virus neems ability to breakdown microbes cell wall has been documented  the ability being attributed to its very rich source of antioxidants

Neem appears to have to two methodologies.

The first is to boost immunity by stimulating the B and T cells both of  which end up with killing the virus initiated by the entry of the toxic neem chemicals in to the cell

Neem also boosts the bodys macropage  response which in turn  stimulates the lymphatic system  into increased production of leukocytes

Neem leaf extracts given to HIV patients  for a thirty day period in clinical studies have shown  an increase  in the CD+ cell  counts, an increase in Hb , an increase in platelets and a 3Kg increase in body Wt as well. Further the anti vral studies by many researchers have confirmed the ability by demonstrating itsearly presence in the viral genome inhibiting viral replication

Despite all these studies we  still have to await the scientific presentation of clinically proven data of each of the definitive molecules in the leaf, fruit seed or bark to be able to scientitifically  use for medical treatment

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