Review of Antiviral Activities Present in some Indian Medicinal Plants – Can they be used against SARS-CoV-2?

  • Ahmad Najmi Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhopal, Saket Nagar, Bhopal 462020, Madhya Pradesh, India.
  • Danish Javed Department of AYUSH, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhopal, Saket Nagar, Bhopal 462020, Madhya Pradesh, India.
  • Avik Ray Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhopal, Saket Nagar, Bhopal 462020, Madhya Pradesh, India.
  • Balakrishnan Sadasivam Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhopal, Saket Nagar, Bhopal 462020, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Keywords: Indian medicinal plants, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, infectious disease, antiviral


COVID-19 has quickly emerged as a global concern, affecting the lives of millions across the globe. It has got a different impact in different nations based on their cultural norms, mitigation strategies and healthcare architecture. In India, quite a vast majority depends on traditional Indian medicine for treatment of human illnesses due to low-cost, easier availability favorable side-effect profile. These medicines are made from herbal plants. Researchers have identified various properties of plant materials such as anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-cancerous and many more. Novels antiviral may be developed from these resources. The present study reviews the antiviral properties of ten Indian medicinal plants, namely Ailanthus excelsa, Alstonia scholaris, Nigella sativa, Adhatoda vasica, Albizia lebbeck, Andrographis paniculate, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Moringa oleifera, Ocimum basilicum and Tinospora cordifolia. Probable therapeutic roles of these plants against SARS-CoV-2 should also be explored.



Download data is not yet available.


1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India. The controller of publications, Delhi-110054, Part-1, Vol-III, 1st ed. 2001 pp. 15-16.
2. Indian Pharmacopoeia. Government of India 2. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Controller of Publications, New Delhi, A-53-54, A-95-97, A-109.
3. Kumar D, Bhat ZA, Singh P, Khatanglakar V, Bhujbal SS. Antiasthmatic and antiallergic potential of methanolic extract of leaves of Ailanthus excelsa. Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia. 2011 Feb;21(1):139-45.
4. Ogura M, Cordell GA, Kinghorn A, Farnsworth NR. Potential anticancer agents VI. Constituents of Ailanthus excelsa. Lloydia 1977;40:579-84.
5. Polonsky J. Quassinoid bitter principle—II. Fortschr Chem Org Naturst 1985;47:237.
6. Joshi BC, Pandey A, Sharma RP, Khare A. Quassinoids from Ailanthus excelsa. Phytochemistry. 2003;62(4):579‐584.
7. Rashed K, Said A, Ahmed M. Antiviral Activity and Phytochemical Analysis of Ailanthus Excelsa Roxb Bark. Journal of Forest Products and Industries 2013;2(3):30-3.
8. Arora A, Rai Y. A review: phytochemistry, ethanobotanical and pharmacological activities of Alstonia scholaris R. Br (Apocynaceae). Int J Adv Res 2015;3:584–590.
9. Pandey K, Shevkar C, Bairwa K, Kate AS. Pharmaceutical perspective on bioactives from Alstonia scholaris: ethnomedicinal knowledge, phytochemistry, clinical status, patent space, and future directions. Phytochem Rev Springer, Published online 14 feb, 2020.
10. Zhang L, Zhang CJ, Zhang DB, Wen J, Zhao XW, Li Y, et al. An unusual indole alkaloid
with anti-adenovirus and anti-HSV activities from Alstonia scholaris. Tetrahedron Lett
11. Panda SK, Padhi L, Leyssen P, Liu M, Neyts J, Luyten W. Antimicrobial, Anthelmintic, and Antiviral Activity of Plants Traditionally Used for Treating Infectious Disease in the Similipal Biosphere Reserve, Odisha, India. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:658. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00658
12. Nguyen PQ, Ooi JS, Nguyen NT, et al. Antiviral Cystine Knot α-Amylase Inhibitors from Alstonia scholaris. J Biol Chem. 2015;290(52):31138‐31150. doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.654855
13. Chopra R, Nayar S, Chopra I. In: Glossary of Indian medicinal plants. New Delhi, India: CSIR, 1956. p. 175.
14. Nadkarni K. Crocus sativus, Nigella sativa. In: Nadkarni KM, editor. Indian materia medica. Bombay, India: Popular Prakashan, 1976. p. 386-411.
15. Attar-ur-Rahman, Malik S, Cunheng H, Clardy J. Isolation and structure of determination of nigellicine, a novel alkaloid from the seeds of Nigella sativa. Tetrahedron Lett 1985;26:2759-62.
16. Salem ML, Hossain MS. Protective effect of black seed oil from Nigella sativa against murine cytomegalovirus infection. Int J Immunopharmacol. 2000;22(9):729‐740. doi:10.1016/s0192-0561(00)00036-9
17. Kawther S. Zaher, W.M. Ahmed and Sakina N. Zerizer, Observations on the Biological Effects of Black Cumin Seed (Nigella sativa) and Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) Global Veterinaria 2008;2(4):198-204.
18. Oyero OG, Toyama M, Mitsuhiro N, et al. SELECTIVE INHIBITION OF HEPATITIS C VIRUS REPLICATION BY ALPHA-ZAM, A NIGELLA SATIVA SEED FORMULATION. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2016;13(6):144‐148. Published 2016 Sep 29. doi:10.21010/ajtcam.v13i6.20
19. Santosh Kumar Singh, Dr. Jay Ram Patel, Arvind Dangi, Deepak Bachle and Rahul Kumar Kataria, A complete over review on Adhatoda vasica a traditional medicinal plant, Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies 2017; 5(1): 175-180
20. Rachana, Mamta Pant and Sujata Basu, Cytoprotective Activity of Adhatoda Vasica Extract and Vasicine Against Tobacco Smoke Induced Cytotoxicity, Journal of Pharmaceutical Technology, Research and Management Vol. 1 May 2013 pp. 109–117
21. Rana Adhikary et al, Immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties of methanolic extract of Adhatoda vasica Nees leaf after particulate antigen stimulation in miceJournal of Pharmacy Research 2014,8(10),1520-1537
22. Sulekha Chaudhary et al Experimental Model of Albizia lebbeck in Bronchial Asthma The Indian Journal of Chest Diseases & Allied Sciences ,2018;Vol.60
23. Maya C. Et. Al., Comparative Immunomodulator Activity Of Leaves And Bark Of Albizia Lebbeck (Linn.) Benth. Int. J. Res. Dev. Pharm. L. Sci.March-April 2012, 1(1), 21-23
24. Meshram et al.: Central analgesic activity of Albizia lebbeck leaves Z. Naturforsch. 2015; 70(1-2)c: 25–30
25. Chandrabhan Seniya et al./Analyzing the interaction of an herbal compound Andrographolide from Andrographis paniculata as a folklore against swine flu (H1N1), Asian Pac J Trop Dis 2014; 4(Suppl 2): S624-S630

26. Wang et al. A New Diterpenoid from the Aerial Parts of Andrographis paniculata Natural Product Communications Vol. 9 (1) 2014
27. Churiyah et al. Antiviral and immunostimulant activities of Andrographis paniculata hayati j biosci journal of biosciences april 2015 Vol. 22 no. 2, p 67-72
28. N. A. Mamedov and D. Egamberdieva, Phytochemical Constituents and Pharmacological Effects of Licorice: A Review, Chem Pharm Bull 53:694–695
29. Gerold H. et al, Antiviral activity of Glycyrrhizic acid and its derivatives against SARS Corona Virus, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2005, Vol.48, N0-4,1256-1259
30. Aishwarya. S, Evangeline Shantha, Nantha Devi. E, Sagaya Jansi R, Molecular Docking of Glycyrrhiza glabra against the Conserved Target M1, NA and NS1 Proteins of Influenza A Viral Strains Identified through Pangenome Analysis, bioRxiv preprint doi: available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.
31. D. Biswas et al. / Moringa oleifera Lam. and derived phytochemicals as promising antiviral agents: A review, South African Journal of Botany xxx (2019) xxx
32. C.L. Martínez-González et al, Moringa oleifera, a species with potential analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 87 (2017) 482–488
33. Anamika G, Manish K, Rahul K, Vijay K and Rao V. (2010). Immunomodulatory effect of Moringa oleifera Lam. extract on cyclophosphamide induced toxicity in mice. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. 48(11):1157-60.
34. Behbahani M, Mohabatkar H, Soltani M (2013) Anti-HIV-1 Activities of Aerial Parts of Ocimum basilicum and its Parasite Cuscuta campestris. J Antivir Antiretrovir 5: 057-061. doi:10.4172/jaa.1000064
35. Eftekhar et al. Immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of hydro-ethanolic extract of Ocimum basilicum leaves and its effect on lung pathological changes in an ovalbumin-induced rat model of asthmaBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2019) 19:349
36. Chiang LC, Ng LT, Cheng PW, Chiang W, Lin CC: Antiviral activities of extracts and selected pure constituents of Ocimum basilicum. Clinical and experimental pharmacology & physiology 2005, 32(10):811-816.
37. R. Pruthvish and S.M.Gopinatha, Antiviral prospective of Tinospora cordifolia on HSV-1, Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci (2018) 7(1): 3617-3624
38. Sultan Alsuhaibani and Masood A. Khan, Immune-Stimulatory and Therapeutic Activity of Tinospora cordifolia: Double-Edged Sword against Salmonellosis, Hindawi Journal of Immunology Research Volume 2017, Article ID 1787803, 9 pages
39. P.K. Raveendran Nair et al, Immune stimulating properties of a novel polysaccharide from the medicinal plant Tinospora cordifolia, International Immunopharmacology 4 (2004) 1645–1659.
40. Vellingiri B, Jayaramayya K, Iyer M, et al. COVID-19: A promising cure for the global panic [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 4]. Sci Total Environ. 2020;725:138277.
How to Cite
Najmi A, Javed D, Ray A, Sadasivam B. Review of Antiviral Activities Present in some Indian Medicinal Plants – Can they be used against SARS-CoV-2?. Int Arch BioMed Clin Res [Internet]. 2020Dec.30 [cited 2022Aug.9];6(4):RA1-RA5. Available from:
REVIEW ARTICLES ~ Pharmacology