Aronia Melanocarpa against influenza viruses

Aronia Melanocarpa Juice, Pomegranate, and Green Tea against Covid-19 and Influenza Viruses.


Respiratory viruses initially infect the nose and oropharyngeal regions, where they amplify, cause symptoms and can be transmitted to new hosts. Preventing the initial infection, or reducing viral loads in case of infection, could alleviate symptoms and help prevent transmission into the lower airways or to nearby individuals. In this study we investigated the potential of plant derivatives to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. It was found that aronia juice (Aronia melanocarpa), pomegranate juice (Punica granatum) and green tea (Camellia sinensis) have virucidal activity against both viruses; our studies also suggest that rinsing the oral cavity may reduce the viral loads present, and thus decrease virus transmission.


Respiratory influenza and coronavirus viruses pose a major threat to global health, and are a considerable burden socially and economically, as well as a huge burden on healthcare, as seen with the current pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The long incubation of SARS-CoV-2 - which can last up to 14 days - the subclinical course and the high transmissibility before the onset of symptoms have led to an unprecedented spread across the globe. Respiratory viruses initially infect the upper airways, i.e. the nose area and the oropharyngeal cavity, where they increase in potency, cause respiratory symptoms and from where they spread to new hosts. Recent studies indicate that gargling with commercially available products reduces the spread of viruses and potential infection. But some natural products also exert direct antiviral activity, and may improve the symptoms of respiratory infections.
Pomegranate and aronia extracts have been shown in vitro to exert antiviral activity against influenza viruses; elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) syrup has been shown to improve symptoms in influenza patients, and a meta-analysis (a statistical term for summarising data from different primary research tools in scientific disciplines) showed that gargling with green tea reduced the incidence of influenza infections. Natural products with a broad spectrum of antiviral activity would therefore be extremely useful in reducing the spread of respiratory viruses in the population, as they are inexpensive and easy to distribute.
In this study, we examined in vitro the virucidal activity of green tea and juices obtained from plants, with a view to using oral rinses against the development of respiratory viruses SARS -CoV-2, influenza A and adenovirus type 5 (AdV5). We found that the influenza A virus is highly susceptible to being inactivated by all the substances tested. The SARS-CoV-2 virus was less susceptible, but was still inactivated by aronia juice, and was sensitive to green tea and pomegranate juice. AdV5 was resistant to most products, but the viral count was reduced by aronia juice.
These results underline the potential of food products derived from common plants in the prevention of respiratory virus infections and diseases; among those tested in our work, aronia juice proved to be the most effective natural product.


We examined and compared the virucidal activities of four natural beverages (aronia juice, elderberry extract, pomegranate juice, green tea) on three respiratory viruses; we observed that aronia juice, green tea, and pomegranate juice reduced the viral count, with aronia juice being the most effective of these products.
Aronia juice inactivated the infectivity to 96%, while pomegranate juice and green tea reduced the viral titer to a lesser degree.
The administration of aronia juice, pomegranate juice and green tea therefore offers the possibility of reducing the spread of respiratory viruses, alleviating symptoms in the event of infection and contributing to prevention.
In summary, the influenza A virus is highly susceptible to all products tested, while the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be inactivated by chokeberry juice to a greater degree than by pomegranate juice and green tea.
Since both viral replication and symptoms and transmission take place in the nose and oro-pharyngeal cavity, reducing viral titration as much as possible could be a proactive strategy to prevent infection, dissemination, disease and spread. Herbal products are common, and available food preparations could be used as useful 'oral rinses'. Conventional antiseptic mouthwashes containing membrane-damaging agents (ethanol, chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride, hydrogen peroxide, iodopovidone) are used both privately and in clinical care as prophylaxis and therapy, and have been used to combat viral infections. In contrast to these chemical preparations, green tea and vegetable juices can not only be used more frequently but can also be swallowed. It has already been shown that gargling with tea or plant extracts and then swallowing them reduces the incidence of viral infections, viral load and symptoms. Similarly, products containing active antiviral substances such as aronia or pomegranate juices may have 'clinical' use against influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses.
In the case of SARS-CoV-2, the virus can be transmitted before the onset of symptoms, which is particularly dangerous. Oral rinses and gargles with the tested products are far less problematic in long-term use, and could be suitable for anyone for pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis to the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but especially would be useful for those at increased risk of infection or serious illness, including health service workers, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.
In addition, the ability to swallow the rinsing substance is important in many situations, for example on a plane, in a train or car, in clinics, at school, and could even be part of a healthy diet. And in addition to reducing the risk of transmission in schools and among children, healthy and nutritionally valuable food products would be used instead of aggressive disinfectants or restrictive measures.

Authors: Carina Conzelmann, Tatiana Weil, Rüdiger Groß, Janis A. Müller, Jan Münch, Peggy Jungke, Maren Eggers, Bruno Frank

Institute of Molecular Virology of the University of Ulm, Medical Faculty of the University of Dresden, University of Stuttgart, Prof. G. Enders' Analytical Laboratory, Stuttgart

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