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Challenge Hepatitis C with Herbs as Drugs | OMICS International
ISSN: 2573-4555
Journal of Traditional Medicine & Clinical Naturopathy
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Challenge Hepatitis C with Herbs as Drugs

Mathewa S1, Fatimab K2 and Qadric I3*
1Center of Excellence in Genomic Medicine, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2IQ Institute of Infection and Immunity, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
3King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Corresponding Author : Ishtiaq Qadri
King Fahd Medical Research Center
King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Tel: 03344231780
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: September 30, 2015; Accepted: October 07, 2015; Published: December 17, 2015
Citation: Mathewa S, Fatimab K, Qadric I (2016) Challenge Hepatitis C with Herbs as Drugs. J Tradi Med Clin Natur 5:184. doi: 10.4172/jtmcn.1000184
Copyright: © 2016, Qadric I, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is a major concern for most of the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). At present, standard therapy followed is pegylated interferon α with ribavirin but it has significant side effects and was moderately effective. Therefore, there is a necessity to introduce new drugs that interact various stages of HCV life cycle. Several herbs have been isolated for treating against HCV, and are effective in preventing HCV viral diseases. Our review précises about various mode of action of certain herbs that showed inhibition activity against HCV.

Anticarcinogenic; Artemisinin; Traditional remedies
Treating liver disease with herbs has a long tradition especially in both Asian and European medicine. Though herbal extracts promoted for gastrointestinal or bilary disorders contain potent alkaloids that are harmful, they are also recognized for disease elimination with proven antioxidative, antifibrotic, antiviral, or anticarcinogenic properties [1]. According to the WHO, the number of people infected with hepatitis C virus has exceeded 220 million and still exploding enormously, though the cure in current medicine is the standard therapy of interferon and ribavirin [2]. The success behind these therapies is less than 50% and at most times its unaffordable [2]. Fighting back HCV with herbs as drug is a ray of hope for patients who are unable to tolerate the treatment, unaffordable or else not eligible for the current interferon and ribavirin therapy. The key differences between traditional and modern medicine is the knowledge about its protection, formulation, regulation, testing, dosage, consultation as well as training required for it. Modern medicines derived from natural products, many of which were first used in traditional remedies such as etoposide (derived from mandrake plant) and vinca alkaloids (derived rosy periwinkle) are used as anticancer drugs and originally known for various remedies in Chinese, Japanese as well as India. Artemisinin (derived from sweet wormwood) and quinine (cinchona tree) are famous antimalarial drugs, a very traditionally remedies used for treating fevers and shivers. Cromoglycate (khella plant), hirudin (leeches), lovastatin (mushroom and red yeast rice), opiates (unripe poppy seeds) are known for their herbal action such as asthma, anticoagulant, lower cholesterol and analgesics and are originally used as remedies in Egypt, China, Japan, Eastern Europe, India and North Africa.
But determining whether herbal remedies are effective and safe for hepatitis C will be a step high to take a more traditional approach to their research. Current techniques have facilitated researchers to discover active compounds of herbs as antiviral agents. Among the herbs against HCV core, glycyrrhizin inhibited the activity of the core protein at protein level and mRNA [3,4] as well as Silybum marianum was tested by western blotting inhibiting HCV core protein [5]. Our in silico study targeting the HCV cores from India, have shown flavonoid components EGCG followed by silybin and naringenin has best interaction to collide the core residues [6]. Methanolic and chloroform extracts from Quercus infectoria , Boswellia carterii , Embelia schimperi, Trachyspermum ammi, Syzygium aromaticum , Piper cubeba and Acacia nilotica are known to target against NS3 protease [7]. Recently Viola yedoensis is investigated and isolated coumarins have significantly inhibited NS3/4A protease thereby serving as a template for antiviral drugs [8]. One of our in silico inhibition of HCV NS3 helicase has shown better interaction with flavonoids quercetin and catechins [9] and also its reported fluoroquinolones inhibit HCV replication possibly by targeting the HCV NS3 helicase [10]. Amelanchier alnifolia derived flavonoids is known to be potential inhibitors of active site of NS3/4 protease and helicase [11]. Quercetin is considered as an anti-HCV agent is not only reduced by IRES activity its augmentation by NS5A, thereby reducing viral protein synthesis without any toxic effects [12]. Extract from Eclipta alba and its isolates were studied for their capability to inhibit activity of HCV replicase (HCV NS5B) in vitro as well replication of HCV in a cell culture system having replicating HCV subgenomic RNA replicon [13]. Bioassay-based fractionations of the extracts luteolin apigenin and Wedelolactone, revealed dose dependent inhibition of HCV replicase in vitro as well in the cell culture system [13]. Ruta angustifolia leaves was tested for antiviral activities against HCV in cell culture and its isolated compounds chalepin and pseudane IX inhibited HCV at the post-entry step and decreased the levels of HCV RNA replication and viral protein synthesis NS5A [14]. Study showed persuasive inhibition of luteolin against NS5B polymerase activity [15].
We have tested few herbal compounds in silico and we are taking them in vitro so we can really know if there is any benefit and it can be possible that in the near future some of these herbal therapies may actually benefit patients from HCV. We conclude saying there is broad action of natural herbs as potential HCV antivirals, though many natural compounds don’t target directly be used to develop the current HCV therapy. All though a large number of these natural compounds are available which can be screened through variety of in silico approaches that can test for anti-HCV activities and subsequently taking it into in vitro inhibition activity of a viral protein does not only finally validate that this viral protein is the proper target but further research are clearly necessary to confirm these molecules in vivo.
In conclusion, even if we do not presume that herbs may replace the present anti-HCV therapy, treatments can more likely improved, and perhaps lightened by limiting their cost, improved diet and thereby challenging HCV through an alternative source. Therefore when we are living with a disease infected with hepatitis C, it is natural to want to try any treatment possible to relieve from the disease and improve the quality of life. If both developed and developing countries unite research capacities in equitable collaborations, new scientific methodologies could trigger a revival in global health research and development.
Conflict of Interest
All authors disclose no conflict of interest.
Funding as: “Financial support of this work was provided by the KACST-Large grant 162-34 to Ishtiaq Qadri.

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