The Antiviral, Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Natural Medicinal Herbs and Mushrooms and SARS-CoV-2 Infection.
The 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, producing the disease COVID-19 is a pathogenic virus that targets mostly the human respiratory system and also other organs. SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans, however there have been previous outbreaks of different versions of the beta coronavirus including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV1) from 2002 to 2003 and the most recent Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) which was first identified in 2012. All of the above have been recognised as major pathogens that are a great threat to public health and global economies. Currently, no specific treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection has been identified; however, certain drugs have shown apparent efficacy in viral inhibition of the disease. Natural substances such as herbs and mushrooms have previously demonstrated both great antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity. Thus, the possibilities of natural substances as effective treatments against COVID-19 may seem promising. One of the potential candidates against the SARS-CoV-2 virus may be Inonotus obliquus (IO), also known as chaga mushroom. IO commonly grows in Asia, Europe and North America and is widely used as a raw material in various medical conditions. In this review, we have evaluated the most effective herbs and mushrooms, in terms of the antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects which have been assessed in laboratory conditions.