The use of herbal-based medicine and medicinal plants to treat many diseases is growing worldwide as they has few or no adverse effects. The following sections describe some species of medicinal plants from various families that have been investigated for anti-dengue activity (Table 1). In addition, we describe species used as traditional treatment for dengue together with their isolated compound.
Alternanthera philoxeroides belongs to family Amaranthaceae. A. philoxeroides is also called “Alligator Weed”, and is an immersed aquatic plant. It originated from South America but is currently invading Australia.
The effect of A. philoxeroides extracts against dengue virus was investigated in vitro . An MTT assay was carried out to determine the cytotoxicity of A. philoxeroides on C6/36 cell lines. Coumarin extract of A. philoxeroides showed lowest toxicity on cells (TD50 = 535.91), whereas a petroleum ether extract of A. philoxeroides had the strongest inhibitory effect on dengue virus (ED50 = 47.43).
Andrographis paniculata belongs to family Acanthaceae. It is an erect annual herb native to India and Sri Lanka and cultivated widely in Southern and Southeastern Asia. In Malaysia, it is called “Hempedu Bumi”, which has a bitter taste.
The maximum nontoxic dose (MNTD) of methanolic extract of A. paniculata against Vero E6 cells in vitro was investigated . A. paniculata recorded the maximal dose, which was not toxic to cells at 0.050−1. The methanolic extract of A. paniculata showed the highest antiviral inhibitory effect on DENV-1 by antiviral assay based on cytopathic effects.
Azidarachta indica belongs to the family Meliaceae. It is fast-growing tree with a final height in the range of 15–20 m. It is native to India and Pakistan and grows throughout tropical and semi-tropical regions.
The in vitro and in vivo inhibitory potential of aqueous extract of Azidarachta indica (neem) leaves on the replication of DENV-2 was evaluated . Cytotoxicity studies were carried out to determine the MNTD in a virus inhibition assay. The aqueous extract of neem leaves (NL) completely inhibited 100–10,000 tissue culture infective dose (TCID)50 of virus as indicated by the absence of cytopathic effects at its maximum non-toxic concentration of 1.897 mg mL−1. An in vivo study on the inhibitory effects on virus of NL aqueous extract in day-old suckling mice was carried out by intracerebral inoculation. It was shown that the aqueous extract inhibited the virus at non-toxic doses in the range of 120–30 mg mL−1 as indicated by the absence of 511-bp dengue group specific amplicons upon RT-PCR.
Boesenbergia rotunda belongs to family Zingiberaceae. It is a medicinal and culinary herb known as Chinese ginger. It is found throughout China and Southeast Asia.
The activity of some compounds extracted from B. rotunda for the inhibition of dengue virus protease has been tested on DENV-2 . The cyclohexenyl chalcone derivatives of B. rotunda, 4-hydroxypanduratin A (1) and panduratin A (2) showed good competitive inhibitory activities towards DENV-2 NS3 protease with K
i values of 21 μM and 25 μM, respectively. The small value of K
i shows the potential of 4-hydroxypanduratin A to inhibit DENV-2 NS3 protease in vitro.
Carica papaya belongs to family Caricaceae. It is an erect, fast-growing and unbranched tree or shrub indigenous to Central America and cultivated in Mexico and most tropical countries for its edible fruits.
C. papaya leaf has been used traditionally in the treatment of DF . The leaf has been investigated for its potential against DF. The aqueous extract of leaves of this plant exhibited potential activity against DF by increasing the platelet (PLT) count, white blood cells (WBC) and neutrophils (NEUT) in blood samples of a 45-year-old patient bitten by carrier mosquitoes . After 5 days of oral administration of 25 mL aqueous extract of C. papaya leaves to the patient twice daily, the PLT count increased from 55 × 103/μL to 168 × 103/μL, WBC from 3.7 × 103/μL to 7.7103/μL and NEUT from 46.0 to 78.3 %. Increased platelets could lead to reduced bleeding, thus avoiding progression to the severe illness of DHF.
Cladogynos orientalis belongs to family Euphorbiaceae. It is a white-stellate-hairy shrub about 2 m high found in Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Thailand.
The in vitro activity of Cladogynos orientalis—a Thai medicinal plant—against dengue virus was evaluated . The dichloromethane ethanol extract of C. orientalis was tested for anti-dengue activities against DENV-2 in Vero cells by the MTT method. The results showed that the ethanol extract of C. orientalis at a concentration of 12.5 μg mL−1 exhibited inhibitory activity on DENV-2 with 34.85 %. In addition, C. orientalis at a concentration of 100 μg mL−1 exhibited an inactivated viral particle activity of 2.9 %.
Cladosiphon okamuranus belongs to family Chordariaceae. It is a brown seaweed found naturally in Okinawa, Japan.
A sulfated polysaccharide named fucoidan (3) from Cladosiphon okamuranus was found to potentially inhibit DENV-2 infection . The virus infection was tested in BHK-21 cells in a focus-forming assay. Fucoidan reduced infectivity by 20 % at 10 μg mL−1 as compared with untreated cells. However, a carboxy-reduced fucoidan in which glucuronic acid was converted to glucose attenuated the inhibitory activity on DENV2 infection.
Cryptonemia crenulata belongs to family Halymeniaceae. It is a marine species found throughout the Atlantic Islands, North America, Caribbean Islands, Western Atlantic, South America, Africa, Indian Ocean Islands, Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands.
The sulfated polysaccharides from Cryptonemia crenulata, i.e., galactan (4), were selective inhibitors of DENV-2 multiplication in Vero cells with IC50 values of 1.0 μg mL−1, where the IC50 values for the reference polysaccharides heparin and DS8000 were 1.9 and 0.9 μg mL−1, respectively . However, the compound has lower antiviral effect against DENV-3 and DENV-4, and was totally inactive against DENV-1. The inhibitory effect of C2S-3 against DENV-2 was slightly higher when treatment was by adsorption (EC50 = 2.5 ± 0.1 μg mL−1) with respect to treatment only during internalization (EC50 = 5.5 ± 0.7 μg mL−1) . Thus, the inhibitory effect was increased when C2S-3 was included at both stages of adsorption and internalization.
Cymbopogon citratus belongs to family Poaceae. It is a grass species known as lemon grass and is a tropical plant from Southeast Asia.
The antiviral activity of Cymbopogon citratus was determined based on cytopathic effects shown by the degree of inhibition of DENV-1 infected Vero E6 cells . The methanolic extract of C. citratus showed a slight inhibition effect on DENV-1. This result was further confirmed with an inhibition assay by the MTT method. However, C. citrates showed no significant inhibition. Moreover, C. citratus showed the lowest of MNTD at concentration of 0.001 mg mL−1. C. citratus was found to be quite a cytotoxic plant as it showed maximum cytotoxicity at 0.075 mg mL−1.
Euphorbia hirta belongs to family Euphorbiaceae. It is a common weed in garden beds, garden paths and wastelands and is found throughout Java, Sunda, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
The water decoction of leaves from Euphorbia hirta, locally known as gatas–gatas, is used in the Philippines as a folk medicine to treat DF . Internal haemorrhaging will stop and dengue fever will be cured after 24 h. However, the mechanism of action is still unknown and the antiviral properties and its ability to increase blood platelets are currently investigated. The tea obtained from boiled leaves of E. hirta is used to cure DF .
Flagellaria indica belongs to family Flagellariaceae. It is robust perennial climber that grows in many of the tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World, India, Southeast Asia, Polynesia and Australia.
Flagellaria indica was investigated for its anti-dengue properties in Vero cells . The antiviral assay results show that 45.52 % inhibition of DENV-2 was observed in vitro in the presence of 12.5 μg mL−1 of ethanol extract of the plant. By conducting MTT assays, the cytotoxicity of F. indica was determined. The CC50 of ethanol extract of F. indica were 312 μg mL−1. Thus, this study indicates that F. indica has a significant potential effect on DENV.
Gymnogongrus griffithsiae belongs to family Phyllophoraceae. It is a red seaweed found in Ireland, Europe, Atlantic Islands, North America, South America, Caribbean Islands, Africa, Southwest and Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand.
The inhibitory properties against DENV-2 of the sulfated polysaccharide from Gymnogongrus griffithsiae, kappa carrageenan (5) was evaluated in Vero cells . The compound effectively inhibits DENV-2 multiplication at the IC50 value of 0.9 μg mL−1, which is the same as the IC50 value for the commercial polysaccharides DS8000. However, the compound has lower antiviral effect against DENV-3 and DENV-4, and was totally inactive against DENV-1.
Gymnogongrus torulosus belongs to family Phyllophoraceae. It is a red seaweed found in Australia and New Zealand.
Gymnogongrus torulosus was investigated for its in vitro antiviral properties against DENV-2 in Vero cells . Galactan (4) extracted from this plant was active against DENV-2, with IC50 values in the range of 0.19–1.7 μg mL−1.
Hippophae rhamnoides belongs to family Elaeagnaceae. It is a deciduous shrub occurring throughout Europe including Britain, from Norway south and east to Spain, and in Asia to Japan and the Himalayas.
The anti-dengue activity of extracts of Hippophae rhamnoides leaves was investigated against dengue virus type-2 (DENV-2) in infected blood-derived human macrophages . The findings showed that cells treated with H. rhamnoides leaf extracts was able to maintain cell viability of dengue-infected cells on par with Ribavirin, a commercial anti-viral drug along with a decrease and increase in TNF-α and IFN-γ, respectively. Moreover, H. rhamnoides leaf extract proved its anti-dengue activity as indicated by a decrease in plaque numbers after the treatment of infected cells.
Houttuynia cordata belongs to family Saururaceae. It is herbaceous perennial flowering plants growing between 20 and 80 cm, and is native to Japan, Korea, Southern China and Southeast Asia.
Ethanol extract from Houttuynia cordata revealed an anti-dengue activity with 35.99 % inhibition against DENV-2 in Vero cells at a concentration of 1.56 μg mL−1 . Aqueous extract of H. cordata showed effective inhibitory action against DENV-2 through direct inactivation of viral particles before infection of the cells . A concentration of 100 μg mL−1 also effectively protects the cells from viral entry and inhibits virus activities after adsorption. HPLC analysis of H. cordata extract indicated that hyperoside (6) was the predominant bioactive compound, and was likely to play a role in this inhibition.
Leucaena leucocephala belongs to family Fabaceae. It is a species of Mimosoid tree indigenous throughout Southern Mexico and Northern Central America and the West Indies from the Bahamas and Cuba to Trinidad and Tobago.
Galactomannans (7) extracted from seeds of Leucaena leucocephala have demonstrated activity against yellow fever virus (YFV) and DENV-1 in vitro and in vivo . Galactomannans are polysaccharides consisting of a mannose backbone with galactose side groups, more specifically their structure consists of a main chain of (1 → 4)-linked β-d-mannopyranosyl units substituted by α-d-galactopyranosyl units . L. leucocephala show protection against death in 96.5 % of YFV-infected mice. In vitro experiments with DENV-1 in C6/36 cell culture assays showed that the concentration producing a 100-fold decrease in virus titer of DENV-1 was 37 mg L−1.
Lippia alba and Lippia citriodora
Lippia alba and Lippia citriodora belong to family Verbenaceae. They are flowering plants native to Southern Texas, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.
Essential oils from Lippia alba and Lippia citriodora showed a considerable inhibitory effect on dengue virus serotype replication in Vero cells . A 50 % reduction in virus plaque number values was found with L. alba oil at between 0.4–32.6 μg mL−1 whereas for L. citriodora oil, the IC50 values were between 1.9 and 33.7 μg mL−1. L. alba essential oil was more effective against DENV-2 than other serotypes, while for L. citriodora essential oil, the virucidal action against DENV-1, 2 and 3 were similar but lower than against DENV-4. Essential oil of L. alba was observed to produce a 100 % reduction of YFV yield at 100 μg mL−1 .
Meristiella gelidium belongs to family Solieriaceae. It is a marine species found in Atlantic Islands, North America, Caribbean Islands and South America.
The antiviral activity of kappa carragenan (5) in Meristiella gelidium was evaluated against DENV-2 . The IC50 of carragenans isolated from M. gelidium was in the range of 0.14–1.6 μg mL−1. The results show that the extract and the fraction derived from M. gelidium were more effective inhibitors of DENV-2 when compared with reference polysaccharides (heparin and DS 8000).
Mimosa scabrella belongs to family Fabaceae. It is a fast-growing, 15–20 m high and up to 50 cm diameter tree native to the cool, subtropical plateaus of Southeastern Brazil.
Galactomannans (7) extracted from seeds of Mimosa scabrella have demonstrated activity against YFV and DENV-1 in vitro and in vivo . M. scabrella showed protection against death in 87.7 % of YFV-infected mice. In vitro experiments with DENV-1 in C6/36 cell culture assays showed that a concentration of 347 mg L−1 produced a 100-fold decrease in virus titer of DENV-1.
Momordica charantia belongs to family Cucurbitaceae. It is also known as bitter melon or peria (Malaysia), a tropical and subtropical vine found throughout Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
The MNTD of the methanolic extract of Momordica charantia against Vero E6 cells was investigated in vitro . M. charantia recorded a maximal dose that was not toxic to cells of 0.20 mg mL−1. The methanolic extract of M. charantia showed inhibitory effect on DENV-1 by antiviral assay based on cytopathic effects.
Ocimum sanctum belongs to family Labiatae. It is an aromatic herb and shrub native to the tropical regions of Asia and the Americas.
Tea, which is traditionally prepared by using Ocimum sanctum boiled leaves, acts as a preventive medicament against DF . The MNTD of methanolic extract of O. sanctum against Vero E6 cells in vitro was investigated . However, no significant difference in MNTD for O. sanctum was recorded. The methanolic extract of O. sanctum showed a slight inhibitory effect on DENV-1 based on cytopathic effects.
Piper retrofractum belongs to family Piperaceae. It is a flowering vine native to Southeast Asia and cultivated in Indonesia and Thailand mostly for its fruit.
In vitro anti-dengue activity of Piper retrofractum in Vero cells was investigated . The inhibitory activity against DENV-2 infected cells was determined on dichloromethane ethanol extract by the MTT method. The ethanol extract of P. retrofractum exhibited an inactivated viral particle activity or 84.93 % at a concentration of 100 μg mL−1. Previous study has shown that an aqueous extract of long pepper, P. retrofractum, gives the highest level of activity against mosquito larvae .
Psidium guajava belongs to family Myrtaceae. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree indigenous to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. It is cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions around the world.
Psidium guajava leaf extract has been tested in vitro and showed to inhibit the growth of dengue virus . Water boiled with guava leaves was used to avoid bleeding in DHF, and increased platelet counts to 100.000/mm3 within a period of approximately 16 h . P. guajava ripe fruit or juice has healing properties in cases of DF by improving the declining levels of platelets .
Quercus lusitanica belongs to family Fagaceae. It is a species of oak native to Morocco, Portugal and Spain.
Quercus lusitanica extract was found to have a good inhibitory effect on the replication of DENV-2 in C6/36 cells . The methanol extract of the seeds completely inhibited (10–1,000 fold) the TCID50 of virus at its maximum non-toxic concentration of 0.25 mg mL−1 as indicated by the absence of cytopathic effects. A low dose of Q. lusitanica (0.032 mg mL−1) showed 100 % inhibition with 10 TCID50 of virus. Proteomics techniqueswere used to demonstrate that the effect of Q. lusitanica was to downregulate NS1 protein expression in infected c6/36 cells after treatment with the extract.
Rhizophora apiculata belongs to family Rhizophoraceae. It is a mangrove tree up to 20 m tall that grows in Australia (Queensland and Northern Territory), Guam, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Maldives, Thailand and Vietnam.
Anti-dengue properties of the ethanolic extract of Rhizophora apiculata in DENV-2 in Vero cells have been reported . R. apiculata exhibited inhibitory activity and an inactivated viral particle activity of 56.14 % and 41.5 % at concentrations of 12.5 and 100 μg mL−1, respectively.
Tephrosia crassifolia, Tephrosia madrensis and Tephrosia viridiflora
Tephrosia crassifolia, Tephrosia madrensis and Tephrosia viridiflora belong to family Fabaceae. Genus Tephrosia is an herb, undershrub or shrub, distributed mainly in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
Three species from this family (Tephrosia crassifolia, Tephrosia madrensis and Tephrosia viridiflora) were investigated . The flavonoids isolated from T. madrensis, glabranine (8) and 7-O-methyl-glabranine (9) exert strong inhibitory effects on dengue virus replication in LLC-MK2 cells. Methyl-hildgardtol A isolated from T. crassifolia exhibited a moderate to low inhibitory effect, while hildgargtol A from T. crassifolia and elongatine from T. viridiflora had no effect on viral growth.
Uncaria tomentosa belongs to family Rubiaceae. It is a woody vine growing in the tropical jungles of Central and South America.
Uncaria tomentosa is a large wood vine native to the Amazon and Central American rainforests . It is used widely as traditional medicine by native people of the Peruvian rainforest . The antiviral activity of U. tomentosa was revealed by viral antigen (DENV-Ag) detection in monocytes by flow cytometry in C6/36 cells . The most effective activity emerged from the alkaloidal fraction of U. tomentosa. The pentacyclic oxindole alkaloid-enriched fraction of U. tomentosa was observed as most effective at decreasing DENV-Ag detection in monocytes at concentrations of 1 μg mL−1, whereas the crude hydro-ethanolic extract demonstrates inhibitory activity at concentrations of 10 μg mL−1.
Zostera marina belongs to family Zosteraceae. It is an aquatic plant known as eelgrass and is native to North America and Eurasia.
A compound from the temperate marine eelgrasss Zostera marina has been identified as possessing anti-dengue virus activity in a focus-forming unit assay in LLC-MK2 cells . The anti-adhesive compound p-sulfoxy-cinnamic acid, zosteric acid, ZA (10), derived from Z. marina showed a modest IC50 of approximately 2.3 mM against DENV-2. The other compound with related chemistries, CF 238, showed the most activity, with IC50 values of 24, 46, 14 and 47 μM against DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4, respectively.