Natural herbs as immunity booster against infectious diseases like Covid-19.- A systematic review

Paper Details

Review Paper 01/08/2020
Views (302) Download (18)

Natural herbs as immunity booster against infectious diseases like Covid-19.- A systematic review

Abdul Jabbar, Hira Sajjad, Farheen Zulfiqar, Mahnoor, Khadijah Abid, Sana Noreen, Muhammad Zahid Iqbal, Muhammad Ashraf, Muhammad Qasim
Int. J. Biosci.17( 2), 305-313, August 2020.
Certificate: IJB 2020 [Generate Certificate]


Immune system is a biological structure in humans. Its function is to protect human body and to fight against bacteria, viruses and environmental agents. Viral diseases like COVID-19 can only be prevented by a strong immune system. So far no effective drug or vaccine has been developed against COVID-19, but inclusion of natural herbs in diets may boost immunity. This review is conducted to shed light on importance of natural herbs and their role in improving immunity against COVID-19. Findings revealed that a variety of natural herbs like Rhus coriaria (Sumac), Zingiber officinale (Ginger), Allium sativum (Garlic), Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi), Cassia angustifolia (Sennamakkahi) Licorice, Camella sinesis (Green tea), Citrus and Limon have been claimed to be very effective in boosting the immunity against infectious diseases like COVID-19.


Abdullah TH, Kandil O, Elkadi A, Carter J. 1988. Garlic revisited: therapeutic for the major diseases of our times. Journal of the National Medical Association 80(4), 439.

Abuajah CI, Ogbonna AC, Osuji CM. 2015. Functional components and medicinal properties of food: a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology 52(5), 2522-2529.

Abu-Reidah IM, Ali-Shtayeh MS, Jamous RM, Arráez-Román D, Segura-Carretero A. 2015. HPLC–DAD–ESI-MS/MS screening of bioactive components from Rhus coriaria L. (Sumac) fruits. Food Chemistry 166, 179-191.

Akinyemi AJ, Thome GR, Morsch VM, Stefanello N, Goularte JF, Belló-Klein A, Oboh G, Schetinger MRC. 2015. Effect of dietary supplementation of ginger and turmeric rhizomes on angiotensin-1 converting enzyme (ACE) and arginase activities in L-NAME induced hypertensive rats. Journal of Functional Foods 17, 792-801.

Azhir D, Zakeri A, Kargare-Rezapour A. 2012. Effect of ginger powder rhizome on homural immunity of broiler chickens. European Journal of Experimental Biology 2(6), 2090-2092.

Baba E, Acar Ü, Öntaş C, Kesbiç OS, Yılmaz S. 2016. Evaluation of Citrus limon peels essential oil on growth performance, immune response of Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus challenged with Edwardsiella tarda. Aquaculture 465, 13-18.

Bagwe A, Bangi S, Nete S, Maiti S, Ragade V. 2019. World Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Calder PC, Kew S. 2002. The immune system: a target for functional foods? British Journal of Nutrition 88(S2), S165-S176.

Carratu B, Sanzini E. 2005. Biologically-active phytochemicals in vegetable food. Annalidell ‘Istituto Superiore di Sanita 41(1), 7-16.

Chan W-JJ, mcLachlan AJ, Luca EJ, Harnett JE. 2019. Garlic (Allium sativum L.) in the management of hypertension and dyslipidemia–A systematic review. Journal of Herbal Medicine 100292.

Colín-González AL, Santana RA, Silva-Islas CA, Chánez-Cárdenas ME, Santamaría A, Maldonado PD. 2012. The antioxidant mechanisms underlying the aged garlic extract-and S-allylcysteine-induced protection. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2012.

Deng X, Stachlewitz RF, Liguori MJ, Blomme EA, Waring JF, Luyendyk JP, Maddox JF, Ganey PE, Roth RA. 2006. Modest inflammation enhances diclofenac hepatotoxicity in rats: role of neutrophils and bacterial translocation. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 319(3), 1191-1199.

Fadlalla I, Mohammed B, Bakhiet A. 2010. Effect of feeding garlic on the performance and immunity of broilers. Asian Journal of Poultry Science 4(4), 182-189.

Gharaei A, Shafie M, Mirdar Harijani J, Hasanein P, Arshadi A. 2020. Immune Responses and Haematological Parameters Changes of Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) under Effects of Dietary Administration of Sumac (Rhus coriaria L.). Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology 22(1), 173-186.

Han YA, Song CW, Koh WS, Yon GH, Kim YS, Ryu SY, Kwon HJ, Lee KH. 2013. Anti‐inflammatory effects of the Zingiber officinale roscoe constituent 12‐dehydrogingerdione in lipopolysaccharide‐stimulated Raw 264.7 cells. Phytotherapy Research 27(8), 1200-1205.

Ho S-C, Chang K-S, Lin C-C. 2013. Anti-neuroinflammatory capacity of fresh ginger is attributed mainly to 10-gingerol. Food Chemistry 141(3), 3183-3191.

Huang C-F, Lin S-S, Liao P-H, Young S-C, Yang C-C. 2008. The immunopharmaceutical effects and mechanisms of herb medicine. Cellular and Molecular Immunology 5(1), 23-31.

Josling P. 2001. Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Advances in Therapy 18(4), 189-193.

Katayama M, Fukuda T, Okamura T, Suzuki E, Tamura K, Shimizu Y, Suda Y, Suzuki K. 2011. Effect of dietary addition of seaweed and licorice on the immune performance of pigs. Animal Science Journal 82(2), 274-281.

Kosar M, Bozan B, Temelli F, Baser K. 2007. Antioxidant activity and phenolic composition of sumac (Rhus coriaria L.) extracts. Food Chemistry 103(3), 952-959.

Kossah R, Nsabimana C, Zhang H, Chen W. 2013. Evaluation of antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Syrian Sumac fruit extract. Journal of Natural Products 6(2013), 96-102.

Kumar NV, Murthy PS, Manjunatha JR, Bettadaiah B. 2014. Synthesis and quorum sensing inhibitory activity of key phenolic compounds of ginger and their derivatives. Food Chemistry 159, 451-457.

Mao Q-Q, Xu X-Y, Cao S-Y, Gan R-Y, Corke H, Li HB. 2019. Bioactive compounds and bioactivities of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Foods 8(6), 185.

Mekonen DG, Yismaw AE, Nigussie TS, Ambaw WM. 2019. Proportion of Preterm birth and associated factors among mothers who gave birth in Debretabor town health institutions, northwest, Ethiopia. BMC Research Notes 12(1), 2.

Mohan L, Amberkar M, Kumari M. 2011. Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi)—an overview. Int J Pharm Sci Rev Res 7(1), 51-53.

Mondal S, Mirdha BR, Mahapatra SC. 2009. The science behind sacredness of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.). Indian Journal of Physiol Pharmacol 53(4), 291-306.

Nile SH, Park SW. 2015. Chromatographic analysis, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and xanthine oxidase inhibitory activities of ginger extracts and its reference compounds. Industrial Crops and Products 70, 238-244.

Onyeagba R, Ugbogu O, Okeke C, Iroakasi O. 2004. Studies on the antimicrobial effects of garlic (Allium sativum Linn), ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and lime (Citrus aurantifolia Linn). African Journal of Biotechnology 3(10), 552-554.

Prakash P, Gupta N. 2005. Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 49(2), 125.

Sakhr K, El Khatib S. 2020. Physiochemical properties and medicinal, nutritional and industrial applications of Lebanese Sumac (Syrian Sumac-Rhus coriaria): A review. Heliyon 6(1), e03207.

Sakure S, Negi VD, Mitra SK, Nandakumar KS, Chakravortty D. 2008. Vaccine with herbal adjuvant-A better cocktail to combat the infection. Vaccine 26(25), 3387-3388.

Salman H, Bergman M, Bessler H, Punsky I, Djaldetti M. 1999. Effect of a garlic derivative (Alliin) on peripheral blood cell immune responses. International Journal of Immunopharmacology 21(9), 589-597.

Sana Noreen, Bahisht Rizwan, Aiman Ijaz, Muhammad Imran, Sameen Azhar, Tehreem Nisar. 2020. Health perspectives of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra Linne.). International Journal of Biosciences 16(3), 571-578.

Schett G, Sticherling M, Neurath MF. 2020. COVID-19: risk for cytokine targeting in chronic inflammatory diseases? Nature Reviews Immunology 20(5), 271-272.

Sharangi A. 2009. Medicinal and therapeutic potentialities of tea (Camellia sinensis L.)–A review. Food Research International 42(5-6), 529-535.

Sharma L. 2020. Dietary management to build adaptive immunity against COVID-19. Journal of Peer Scientist 2(2), e1000016.

Sharma R, Sharma A, Kumari A, Kulurkar PM, Raj R, Gulati A, Padwad YS. 2017. Consumption of green tea epigallocatechin-3-gallate enhances systemic immune response, antioxidative capacity and HPA axis functions in aged male swiss albino mice. Biogerontology 18(3), 367-382.

Stoner GD. 2013. Ginger: is it ready for prime time? Cancer Prevention Research 6(4), 257-262.

Suk S, Kwon GT, Lee E, Jang WJ, Yang H, Kim JH, Thimmegowda N, Chung MY, Kwon JY, Yang S. 2017. Gingerenone A, a polyphenol present in ginger, suppresses obesity and adipose tissue inflammation in high‐fat diet‐fed mice. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 61(10), 1700139.

Sultana S, Ahmad M, Zafar M, Khan MA, Arshad M. 2012. Authentication of herbal drug Senna (Cassia angustifolia Vahl.): A village pharmacy for Indo-Pak Subcontinent. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 6(30), 2299-2308.

Townsend EA, Siviski ME, Zhang Y, Xu C, Hoonjan B, Emala CW. 2013. Effects of ginger and its constituents on airway smooth muscle relaxation and calcium regulation. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 48(2), 157-163.

Walstab J, Krüger D, Stark T, Hofmann T, Demir I, Ceyhan G, Feistel B, Schemann M, Niesler B. 2013. Ginger and its pungent constituents non‐competitively inhibit activation of human recombinant and native 5‐HT3 receptors of enteric neurons. Neurogastroenterology & Motility 25(5), 439-e302.

Wang L, Yang R, Yuan B, Liu Y, Liu C. 2015. The antiviral and antimicrobial activities of licorice, a widely-used Chinese herb. Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B 5(4), 310-315.

Wei C-K, Tsai Y-H, Korinek M, Hung P-H, El-Shazly M, Cheng Y-B, Wu Y-C, Hsieh T-J, Chang F-R. 2017. 6-paradol and 6-shogaol, the pungent compounds of ginger, promote glucose utilization in adipocytes and myotubes, and 6-paradol reduces blood glucose in high-fat diet-fed mice. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18(1), 168.

Whitfield A. how to hack your immune system with herbs, foods and immune supporting lifestyle strategies.

Zhang M, Viennois E, Prasad M, Zhang Y, Wang L, Zhang Z, Han MK, Xiao B, Xu C, Srinivasan S. 2016. Edible ginger-derived nanoparticles: A novel therapeutic approach for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and colitis-associated cancer. Biomaterials 101, 321-340.

Zou Z, Xi W, Hu Y, Nie C, Zhou Z. 2016. Antioxidant activity of Citrus fruits. Food chemistry 196, 885-896.