Published online Oct 21, 2021. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v27.i39.6551
Peer-review started: March 16, 2021
First decision: May 1, 2021
Revised: May 1, 2021
Accepted: September 14, 2021
Article in press: September 14, 2021
Published online: October 21, 2021
Information about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is still evolving since its appearance in December 2019 and has affected the whole world. Particularly, a search for an effective and safe treatment for COVID-19 continues. Botanical mixtures contain secondary metabolites (such as flavonoids, phenolics, alkaloids, essential oils etc.) with many therapeutic effects. In this study, the use of herbal treatments against COVID-19 was evaluated. Medical synthetic drugs focus mainly on respiratory symptoms, however herbal therapy with plant extracts may be useful to relieve overall symptoms of COVID-19 due to the variety of bioactive ingredients. Since COVID-19 is a virus that affects the respiratory tract, the antiviral effects of botanicals/plants against respiratory viruses have been examined through clinical studies. Data about COVID-19 patients revealed that the virus not only affects the respiratory system but different organs including the gastrointestinal (GI) system. As GI symptoms seriously affect quality of life, herbal options that might eliminate these problems were also evaluated. Finally, computer modeling studies of plants and their active compounds on COVID-19 were included. In summary, herbal therapies were identified as potential options for both antiviral effects and control of COVID-19 symptoms. Further data will be needed to enlighten all aspects of COVID-19 pathogenesis, before determining the effects of plants on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
Core Tip: To stop the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, extensive search is ongoing to develop effective and safe drugs against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. COVID-19 in a major way affects the respiratory system, but many patients also have gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Plants have beneficial effects on various systems with their varied array of metabolites. In our study, the potential effects of herbal treatments against COVID-19 were examined. Their antiviral effects, their effects on the respiratory system, GI system, and other COVID-19 symptoms were investigated.