Ashwagandha could be effective against Covid: IIT-D, NIAIS&T-Japan

Ashwagandha, herbal ingredient widely used in rejuvenation therapies in Ayurveda, could be an effective cure for Covid-19 pandemic, says a joint study by Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan.

According to a report in the New Indian Express, the researchers discovered that Withanone (Wi-N), a natural compound derived from Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE), an active ingredient of New Zealand propolis, has the potential to interact with and block the activity of Mpro.

The findings will save time and cost required for screening of anti-Covid-19 drugs and will also offer some preventive and therapeutic value for the management of the fatal 19 pandemic.

“The drug development may take a while and in the current scenario, these natural resources (Ashwagandha and Propolis) may offer some preventive or even therapeutic value. However, although they are easily available and affordable, one has to be cautious about the content of bioactive ingredients. CAPE, while is a major component of propolis, its amount and stability are critical factors that could be managed by generating its complex with cyclodextrins,” a scientist told the daily.

Prof. D. Sundar, coordinator of DAILAB, IIT-D and Head of the Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology said, “The traditional medicine system ‘Ayurveda’ has been practised for thousands of years in India. Unlike modern medicine, the mechanism of action of natural drugs has not been resolved so far. IIT-Delhi and AIST researchers have been working together for more than a decade and trying to contribute to strengthening this avenue by merging the traditional knowledge with modern technologies.”


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