Thai herbs may help ward off symptoms of Covid-19

Thai herbs may help ward off symptoms of Covid-19

Herbal health show: A woman shows a herb, extracts of which are produced in capsule form at a Thai herbs fair organised by the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine at MBK Center in the capital. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Herbal health show: A woman shows a herb, extracts of which are produced in capsule form at a Thai herbs fair organised by the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine at MBK Center in the capital. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Public Health Ministry and its research partners will further study the medicinal properties of herbs found in preliminary studies to be effective against the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19 in patients with mild symptoms.

The herbs to go under the microscope are green chiretta (Andrographis paniculata) and fingerroot (Boesenbergia rotunda), said Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday.

The Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTTAM) found in a recent study that green chiretta is effective in suppressing SARS-CoV-2 and stopping the virus from replicating, he said.

Most of the Covid-19 infected patients with mild symptoms who were given herbal medicines made of green chiretta have recovered well after the treatment, while few side effects were observed, said Mr Anutin.

Reassuring presence: A little girl lies in her mother’s arms while undergoing an oral Covid-19 swab test at Wat Nimmanoradee temple in Bangkok’s Phasicharoen district yesterday. City Hall is continuing to test people in communities across the capital for Covid-19. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

A joint study carried out by Mahidol University's Excellence Centre for Drug Discovery and Thailand Centre of Excellence for Life Sciences, meanwhile, found that six out the 122 herbs it tested could form the basis for new Covid-19 treatments, said Mr Anutin.

Of these six, fingerroot was found to be most effective in suppressing the virus from replicating when used in a dose low enough not to be toxic to healthy human cells, he said.

The collaboration will continue to further develop these herbal medicines for mass production, he said.

In light of these findings, Dr Amporn Benjapolpitak, director-general of the DTTAM, told a health fair yesterday she wanted to inform the public of the potential benefits of traditional medicines during the crisis.


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