Honeysuckle a Promising Flu Remedy?

Honeysuckle_smResearchers at China’s Nanjing University, led by Zhen Zhou, observed that mice were able to resist more than one flu type after consuming honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) tisane.

The study, “Honeysuckle-encoded atypical microRNA2911 directly targets influenza A viruses (IAVs),” was published in Cell Research. It was based on the awareness that honeysuckle has long been used as a home remedy in China, without greater understanding of how it might help fight the virus.

The research team found that microRNA2911 (MIR2911), molecules that help determine gene expression, have the ability to target the virus and prevent it from replicating. It is effective on more than one gene in several variations of the flu including H1N1, H5N1 and H7N9.

MIR2911 was extracted from an infusion of honeysuckle. Ten grams of honeysuckle was boiled in 100 ml of distilled water for 30 minutes. The boiling degrades some miRNAs, but not MIR2911.

There were three ways that the mice received the MIR2911: drinking the infusion, receiving the infusion through a tube into the stomach and receiving synthetic MIR2911 by tube. In all cases, the MIR2911 passed from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream and lungs. The MIR2911 replicated in the lungs to a level high enough to have an impact on the virus. The mice who had MIR2911 introduced or who consumed an infusion of honeysuckle had markedly lower mortality levels from H5N1 virus.

“We suggest that as the first natural product to directly target IAVs, MIR2911 is the ‘virological penicillin’ that serves as a novel therapeutic and preventive agent against not only influenza A but potentially also other types of viruses,” Zhou et al. state in their study.

Source: Cell Research and Beverage Daily