Honeysuckle tea may help fight flu
A compound found in the honeysuckle plant may help fight flu viruses, according to new research.
Scientists at Nanjing University in China aimed to find hard evidence that honeysuckle may be an effective treatment for influenza A viruses (IAV)--a family of viruses that includes Spanish flu and avian flu. Chinese medicine practitioners have been drinking the plant in tea form for years to treat IAV.
The researchers were particularly interested in the effects of a molecule found in honeysuckle called MIR2911. To concentrate the molecule, they first mashed and boiled the honeysuckle in water. Next, they fed the honeysuckle liquid to mice, which delivered MIR2911 to the mice's blood and lung tissue.
The researchers observed that the MIR2911 molecule seemed to target two genes, called PB2 and NS1; these genes have previously been shown to be essential for the spread of influenza. By targeting these specific genes, MIR2911 seemed to repress IAV, researchers said.
The study's findings, published in the journal Cell Research, suggest that honeysuckle may serve as a natural treatment for an array of flu viruses, and potentially other viruses such as H1N1 and Ebola. Researchers added, however, that further studies are needed in order to truly determine the effects of honeysuckle on humans.