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Ashwagandha and Anti-Covid-19 Drug

  • 19 May 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, researchers of IIT-Delhi in collaboration with Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have found that the ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha has “therapeutic and preventive value” against Covid-19 infection.

Key Points

  • The publication of the coronavirus genome and structure have triggered drug designing, devising and development using informatics and experimental tools across the world.
  • Researchers from IIT-Delhi and AIST have used Ashwagandha and propolis based compounds to target the main coronavirus’s enzyme, known as the Main protease or Mpro.
    • Mpro plays a key role in mediating viral replication.
    • Enzymes are biological molecules (typically proteins) that regulate the rate of virtually all of the chemical reactions that take place within living organisms. E.g digestion.
    • Replication is the process by which a DNA molecule is copied to produce two identical DNA molecules.
      • In replication whenever a cell divides, the two new daughter cells contain the same genetic information, or DNA, as the parent cell.
  • The researchers have found that Withanone (Wi-N), a natural compound derived from Ashwagandha and Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE), an active ingredient of New Zealand propolis, have the potential to interact with and block the activity of Mpro.
  • Recently, the Indian government has also set up a task force to launch its clinical research studies on some Ayurvedic medicines that can be used to boost the immune system and control coronavirus.
  • The government has also launched the ‘AYUSH Sanjivani’ App.
  • The app intends to generate data on usage of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-rigpa and Homoeopathy) advocacies and measures among the population and its impact in prevention of Covid-19.


  • Ashwagandha (scientific name- Withania somnifera) is a medicinal herb. It is reputed as an immunity enhancer.
  • It is classified as an adaptogen, which means that it can help the body to manage stress.
  • Ashwagandha also boosts brain function and lowers blood sugar, and helps fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Ashwagandha has shown clinical success in treating both acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain and damage throughout your body.
    • An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.


  • Propolis or bee glue is a resinous mixture (a sticky chemical compound) that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with gums gathered from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources.
  • Propolis is used against infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungus etc.
  • It is used for boosting the immune system and for treating gastrointestinal problems.

Source: IE

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