doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.42 Published online 26 March 2012
Crude extract of the leaf and bark of native tree Eugenia jambolona has been reported to destroy the deadly avian influenza virus H5N1. The plant-derived extract can be used as an alternative to chemically synthesised antivirals.
E. jambolona is an evergreen tree known as 'jamun' in India. Its medicinal value is recognised in Indian traditional system of medicine Ayurveda for treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. "Ours is the first report on antiviral activity of jamun extract against influenza virus," says one of the researchers Richa Sood.
The researchers tested the methanolic extract of the leaves and bark of jamun against the virus grown in chicken eggs and also in a type of cells called Madin Darby Canine Kidney cells. The extract completely inhibited the virus in in-vitro experiments. The eggs inoculated with the virus and treated with the extract did not get infected. This indicated 'marked antiviral activity' of the extract.
The researchers have not identified the active principles in the crude extract responsible for the antiviral activity. The jamun extract contains a number of polyphenols and flavonoids and the scientists believe the antiviral activity could be due to 'any of the compounds or their combination'. Their findings could provide the scientific basis for clinical trials to explore the therapeutic and prophylactic use of jamun extract "for managing avian influenza infection in poultry farms and potential avian human transmission".
The authors of this work are from: High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India.