Virus-Inhibition by Echinacea purpurea

by Echinacea purpurea

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM: Planta Med 1992;   58:   163-165

Egert D, Beuscher N

The cytopathogenicity of viruses can be measured by dye uptake method in mammalian cells according to N. B. FINTER. By this method and the plaque reduction test several extracts of Echinacea purpurea were studied for their antiviral activities. To demonstrate an effect it is necessary to incubate the cells with the extract to be tested previous to virus infection for at least 4-6 hours. After treatment with juice of Herba recens Echinaceae purpureae and with methanolic and aqueous extracts from the roots of this plant, respectively, mouse L 929 cells are 50-80% resistant to Influenza, Herpes and Vesicular stomatitis viruses. This resistance remains for at least 24 hours. 48 hours later the cells are virus-sensitive again. Incubation of mammalian cells with Echinacea purpurea extracts in presence of hyaluronidase does not result in formation of viral resistance.

The antiviral principle of Echinacea purpurea is resistant to heat treatment (2 hours, 60-80 C). Acidic treatment results in a partial inactivation.

The extracts can be separated by thin-layer chromatography into several UV-absorbing spots. However, the antiviral activity is not associated with one of these spots. It seems to be distributed all over the chromatogramm.

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