Potential of selected Lamiaceae plants in anti(retro)viral therapy

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Abstract

Constant search for new drugs with antiviral properties often extends to products of natural origin. Lamiaceae is one of the most important herbal families, well known for various biological and medicinal effects of a variety of aromatic spices, including thyme, mint, oregano, basil, sage, savory, rosemary, self-heal, hyssop, lemon balm and many others. The paper provides a review of antiviral potential of previously mentioned plants which has been demonstrated so far, with special emphasis on anti-HIV properties. Relevant articles were compiled by searching plant names combined with keywords describing antiviral activity. The antiviral effect is direct, with prominent activity against enveloped viral species. Initial stages of the viral life cycle are the most affected, as these plants appear to be targeting mainly viral structures responsible for attachment to target cells. In case of HIV, there is some activity against key enzymes in the viral life cycle. Even in the case of drug resistance, there is an equal susceptibility to applied herbal preparations. Some in vivo experiments suggest that use of Lamiaceae representatives could help in prevention and treatment of some viral diseases. A possible reduction of side effects of diseases and conventional drug therapy are also some aspects worth further investigations.

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