Traditional Chinese medicine herbal extracts of Cibotium barometz, Gentiana scabra, Dioscorea batatas, Cassia tora, and Taxillus chinensis inhibit SARS-CoV replication
Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine
Development of anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) agents is pivotal to prevent the reemergence of the life-threatening disease, SARS. In this study, more than 200 extracts from Chinese medicinal herbs were evaluated for anti-SARS-CoV activities using a cell-based assay that measured SARS-CoV-induced cytopathogenic effect (CPE) in vitro on Vero E6 cells. Six herbal extracts, one each from Gentianae Radix (龍膽 lóng dǎn; the dried rhizome of Gentiana scabra),
... oscoreae Rhizoma (山藥 shān yào; the tuber of Dioscorea batatas), Cassiae Semen (決明子 jué míng zǐ; the dried seed of Cassia tora) and Loranthi Ramus (桑寄生 sāng jì shēng; the dried stem, with leaf of Taxillus chinensis) (designated as GSH, DBM, CTH and TCH, respectively), and two from Rhizoma Cibotii (狗脊 gǒu jǐ; the dried rhizome of Cibotium barometz) (designated as CBE and CBM), were found to be potent inhibitors of SARS-CoV at concentrations between 25 and 200 μg/ml. The concentrations of the six extracts needed to inhibit 50% of Vero E6 cell proliferation (CC 50 ) and 50% of viral replication (EC 50 ) were determined. The resulting selective index values (SI = CC 50 /EC 50 ) of the most effective extracts CBE, GSH, DBM, CTH and TCH were > 59.4, > 57.5, > 62.1, > 59.4, and > 92.9, respectively. Among these extracts, CBM and DBM also showed significant inhibition of SARS-CoV 3CL protease activity with IC 50 values of 39 μg/ml and 44 μg/ml, respectively. Our findings suggest that these six herbal extracts may have potential as candidates for future development of anti-SARS therapeutics.