Research, Case Studies & Testimonials

Honeysuckle contains novel ‘virological penicillin’ molecule

Published On: Thursday, May 28, 2015
Category: Chinese Medicine

Chinese researchers have discovered what they call the first ‘virological penicillin’


Chinese researchers have discovered what they call the first ‘virological penicillin’, a molecule called MIR2911, which is found in the Chinese herb honeysuckle (Jin Yin Hua, Flos Lonicerae). Honeysuckle is well-known in traditional Chinese medicine to be effective against influenza, and several previous studies have confirmed that the herb, usually consumed in the form of a tea, can suppress the replication of the influenza virus. However, the active antiviral components and the mechanism by which they block viral replication have remained unclear. MIR2911 (honeysuckle-encoded atypical microRNA2911) has now been identified as the active component that directly targets influenza viruses, including the swine flu H1N1, and the highly pathogenic avian H5N1 and H7N9 infections. MIR2911 was selectively retained in a boiled decoction of honeysuckle that was fed to mice, and shown to be delivered by this means to their plasma and lung tissue. MIR2911 represses influenza viruses by targeting two genes (PB2 and NS1) that are known to be required for influenza virus replication. The authors suggest that MIR2911 may have a broad spectrum of activity not only against influenza A, but potentially also against other types of viruses.

Honeysuckle-encoded atypical microRNA2911 directly targets influenza A viruses. Cell Res. 2014 Oct 7. doi: 10.1038/cr.2014.130.

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