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'Dung Of The Devil' Plant Roots Point To New Swine Flu Drugs

Date:
September 10, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists have discovered that roots of a plant used a century ago during the great Spanish influenza pandemic contains substances with powerful effects in laboratory experiments in killing the H1N1 swine flu virus that now threatens the world.

Scientists in China have discovered that roots of a plant used a century ago during the great Spanish influenza pandemic contains substances with powerful effects in laboratory experiments in killing the H1N1 swine flu virus that now threatens the world. The plant has a pleasant onion-like taste when cooked, but when raw it has sap so foul-smelling that some call it the "Dung of the Devil" plant.

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In the study, Fang-Rong Chang and Yang-Chang Wu and colleagues note that the plant, Ferula assa-foetida, grows mainly in Iran, Afghanistan and mainland China. People used it as a possible remedy during the1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed between 20 to 100 million people. Until now, however, nobody had determined whether the plant does produce natural antiviral compounds.

Chang and Wu identified a group of chemical compounds in extracts of the plant that showed greater potency against influenza A (H1N1) than a prescription antiviral drug available for the flu. "Overall, the present study has determined that sesquiterpene coumarins from F. assa-foetida may serve as promising lead components for new drug development against influenza A (H1N1) viral infection," the authors write.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lee et al. Influenza A (H1N1) Antiviral and Cytotoxic Agents from Ferula assa-foetida. Journal of Natural Products, 2009; 090819140720088 DOI: 10.1021/np900158f

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "'Dung Of The Devil' Plant Roots Point To New Swine Flu Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090909103009.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, September 10). 'Dung Of The Devil' Plant Roots Point To New Swine Flu Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090909103009.htm
American Chemical Society. "'Dung Of The Devil' Plant Roots Point To New Swine Flu Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090909103009.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

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