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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 112-118

Visaghna herbs and metals as neutralizing antibodies in the prevention and treatment of infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome-Coronavirus-2

Department of Rasashastra, Faculty of Ayurveda, IMS, BHU, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission09-Aug-2020
Date of Decision08-Sep-2020
Date of Acceptance07-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication28-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Manoj Kumar Dash
Department of Rasashastra, Faculty of Ayurveda, IMS, BHU, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/joa.joa_207_20

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Introduction: The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV2 is a viral respiratory disease threatening worldwide public health, social stability, and financial development. Pathological hallmark for SARS-CoV-2 is an ineffective innate immune reaction. i.e., immune cells recognize it as dangerous toxins in place of self-antigen. Published data on neutralizing antibodies suggests their role in the prevention and treatment of infection SARS-CoV-2 through passive immunity in COVID-19. Objective: The present paper discusses the role of vishghna dravya in either flushing out or neutralization of toxins from the body. Material & Method: We developed the screening system based on Ayurveda & Modern pharmacology from different databases. Reported plants and minerals were retrieved from ancient texts. Furthermore, pharmacology method was used to preliminarily uncover the molecule mechanism. Results: Nine herbs and five metallic bhasmas having Vishaghna property were systematically reviewed, out of which four herbs and five metallic bhasmas have been reported to possess neutralizing antibody potential. Vishagna dravya works on concept of Samana pratyarbdha, the inherent qualities of the predominant mahabhutas. Madhura rasa (six), Katu Rasa (Five), Tikta Rasa (seven), Kasaya Rasa (two) have Prithvi, Vayu, Akash & Agni Mahabhuta that may exert neutralizing effect by making the cells more strong, inhibits the absorption of virus & increasing the various metabolic activities. Conclusion: To meet this challenge, this article discusses some published Ayurveda herbs and Nano metals which may neutralize the virus toxin for the prevention and treatment of infection by SARS-CoV-2.

Keywords: Bhasma, COVID-19, immunity, Mahabhuta, neutralizing antibodies, Vishaghna

How to cite this article:
Dash MK, Joshi N, Gautam D N. Visaghna herbs and metals as neutralizing antibodies in the prevention and treatment of infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome-Coronavirus-2. J Ayurveda 2020;14:112-8

How to cite this URL:
Dash MK, Joshi N, Gautam D N. Visaghna herbs and metals as neutralizing antibodies in the prevention and treatment of infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome-Coronavirus-2. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Sep 28];14:112-8. Available from: http://www.journayu.in/text.asp?2020/14/4/112/304904

  Introduction Top

The world has been experiencing a huge outbreak caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection that begins from China. It is characterized by its fast spread and virulent human-to-human transmission, resulting in 21,026,758 confirmed cases including 755,786 deaths, in at least 227 countries, territories, or areas as of August 14, 2020.[1] As no vaccine or treatment is established till now to control the spread of infection by SARS-CoV-2 and the global COVID-19 pandemic, researchers across the globe are exploring various possibilities in medical interventions, including neutralizing antibodies.[2] The SARS-CoV-2 infection causes pneumonia and respiratory tract infection with clinical features of fever and cough in the majority of cases, while others experience shortness of breath, muscle pain, fatigue, confusion, headache, sore throat, etc., In advanced cases, acute respiratory distress syndrome, leading to respiratory or multiorgan failure, has also been observed.[3] The disease becomes fatal for elderly people with underlying comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease, and may result in severe and fatal respiratory diseases.[2]

Ayurveda has a unique concept of immunity as Vyadhikshamatva. Acharya Chakrapani has interpreted Vyadhikshamatva as Vyadhibalavirodhitva, which means antagonist to the strength and virulence of the disease and Vyadhiutpadata-Pratibandhatva, that is, the capacity to inhibit and bind the causes and factors of the diseases.[4] According to Ayurveda, Visha has property that it spreads immediately throughout the body. Visha causes immediate loss of life. There are two types of visha such as plant toxins and animal toxins.[5] The most interesting fact is that animal toxins canter at plant toxins and vice versa.[6] The scientific explanation for this concept is that the toxic proteins of plants and animal toxins act as naturally neutralizing antibodies to each other. Thus, they can be used as passive immunity. Vishaghna dravyas described in Ayurveda have been used to counteract the permanent Visha and also against the exclusive concept of Vishakanya. These may produce natural neutralizing antibodies against toxic weapons and incompatible food by the enemy against the king. Vishaghna dravyas have been used by the king to remain safe from the harmful toxins to fight against infection for a long period. Vishaghna dravyas may be correlated with the concept of passive immunity in which our body is protected from disease by antibodies formed outside the body.[7]

In Ayurvedic literature, anti-toxic activity has been described by the term called Vishghna and certain herbs such as Shirish and Nirvisha possess Vishghna (anti-toxic) potential, although their specific mode of action is not explained.[8] In addition, any specific studies regarding the role of these herbs, to bind with antibodies or acting on virus toxins in

SARS-COV-2 or any other viruses, is not found in any of the search engines, but some of these herbs and nano metals contain biologically active substances with anti-toxic potential. Curcuma longa L., Rubia cordifolia L., Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth., Vitex negundo L., and certain metals/minerals in nano form such as nanogold, nanosilver, and nano calcium carbonate are found to possess secondary metabolites and other active compounds that have direct neutralizing properties against the toxins. Apart from thatn the above-mentioned drugs along with some other herbs possess antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immune cell activation activity that may be beneficial in combating the SARS-CoV-2 infection [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3].
Table 1: Plants may be used for neutralizing antibody formation to protect from severe acute respiratory syndrome-CoV-2 infection

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Table 2: Bhasmas may be used for neutralizing antibody formation to protect from severe acute respiratory syndrome-CoV-2 infection

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Table 3: Maha bhuta predominance of drugs already researched to protect from severe acute respiratory syndrome-CoV-2 infection having Vishaghna property

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  Materials and Methods Top

The authors searched the Ayurveda medicinal texts, journals, and search engines for the latest information concerning the pandemic. The search phrases used were “SARS-CoV-2,” “COVID-19,” “causes,” “types,” “pathogenesis,” “Visa dravya,” “Neutralizing antibodies,” “Plants,” and “nano metals.” Plant names had been confirmed by “The Plant List” (www.theplantlist.org). Ingredients of herb-mineral origin had been searched from various authoritative texts and worldwide-accepted scientific databases regarding their use for management of CoVID 19 associated illnesses and their antiviral properties.

Ayurveda view on COVID-19

Regarding the types of diseases, it is extensively divided into endogenous or exogenous. In the endogenous disease condition, the pathogenesis begins within the body and then manifests as a disease, whereas in exogenous disease conditions, it involves some external reason such as a virus, followed by vitiation of Dosha (bio-humours) and disturbances in all of the seven Dhatus, leading to numerous complications.[26] This complete process of pathogenesis is described as samprapti (etiopathogenesis). An exogenous disease named Swasanaka or Karkataka Jwara shares similar clinical features as that of COVID-19 pneumonia. It is a Sannipata state where a simultaneous aggravation of all vitiated three Dosha (bio-humors) is seen.[27]

Vishghna property from the perspective of coronavirus infection

Visha is defined as a poison of plant or animal origin, especially one produced by or derived from micro-organisms and acting as an antigen in the body. Drugs that act against the toxic effect of substances are called Vishghna, unlike the ten properties of toxic substances, i.e, Laghu, Rukshya, Asukari, Visada, Vikasi, Tikshna, Vyavayi, Sukshma, Ushna, Anirdesarasa.[28] The substances in which Rasa, Guna, Veerya, and Vipaka opposite to the above is used are called Vishghna dravya.[29] Visaghna dravya is supposed to neutralize any toxicological effect caused by any invisible pathogen may it be a virus, bacteria, or any other pathogen. The action of Vishaghna dravya is due to their prabhava which itself is believed to be dependent on Panch mahabhutas with which the drug is composed of.[30] Maha bhutas is always cognizable by its karma through the samavayi relationship it has with rasa. The action of a vihsaghna dravya is due to the predominance of particular rasa present wherein particular mahabhuta exerts its effect that helps in neutralizing effect. Most of the ingredients of Vishaghna dravya have Madhura, Katu, tikta, and Kasaya rasa. Prithvi Mahabhuta present in Madhura Rasa helps the cells be more strong and tough, which makes difficult for the virus to enter into the cell plasma membrane, organelles, and nucleus.[31] Vayu mahabhuta present in katu, tikta, and kashaya rasa inhibits the absorption of the useful components of virus toxins.[32] Agni mahabhuta in katu Rasa can be considered the various metabolic activities in the mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell.[33] Akasha mahabhuta in tikta rasa can be considered for the cavities or space present inside the cell to accommodate various organelles and the various channels present in the plasma membrane for the movement of ions, nutrients, etc.[34] Vishghana dravya mediates its effect either by preventing the absorption of the virus toxin through Vayu mahabhuta forming neutralizing antibodies, by inhibition of the conversion of the toxin to more toxic metabolites through Agni mahabhuta, and by inhibiting the active transport of metabolic poisons into the cells through Akasha mahabhuta. The anti-toxic property of Vishaghna drugs may be correlated with the neutralization of the virus protein. Any agantuja vyadhi (exogenous disease) is converted into nija vyadhi (endogenous disease) after the involvement of dosha for which the line of treatment is based on the correction of Agni. Hence, in treating SARS-CoV-2 infection, a combination of deepan, pachan, and Rasayana drugs along with Vishghna dravya may be useful that may result in antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immune cell activation, and anti-toxic activity needed for the control and cure of viral infection.

Neutralizing antibody theory from the perspective of coronavirus infection

When a virus gets entry into the cell, the defense mechanism becomes active to destroy it. In other words, the virus is taken as an antigen by the host cell. For the full invasion of the virus into the cell, it needs the proteasome enzyme complex.[35] On the invasion of the virus, various structural and biochemical changes take place in the host cell. The effect of the virus to a specific receptor site on the host cell membrane is referred to as cytopathic effects where the proteins of the virus alter cellular signaling pathways, resulting in cell death. The virus remains harmless, if, by any means, this protease enzyme complex is neutralized, and this virus cannot fully invade the cell.

Ayurveda herbs already researched for COVID-19 possessing Vishaghna property

Vishaghna dravyas used in Ayurveda are used for neutralizing the toxin, denaturalizing the toxin, and help to release the toxin from the body to outside. Published data are available regarding their role in the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection.[36] In the prospect of neutralizing antibody formation, detoxification action of herbs has been described in [Table 1]. Curcumin from Curcuma longa L. significantly neutralizes subsequent infections of a mouse macrophage cell line in a time- and dose-dependent manner.[37] It neutralizes both the oxidative and nitrosative stresses to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Curcumin has proven to inhibit Ebola virus protein found on the surface of the Ebola virion and is, therefore, responsible for mediating attachment and entry of the virus into host cells.[38] It is the primary target for host neutralizing antibodies and is used for the design of vaccines and entry inhibitors. Curcumin has a strong interaction with the protein involved in the entry step of the hepatitis C virus (HCV), neutralizing antibody AP33 in complex with HCV epitope.[39] The fraction consisting of ar-turmerone, isolated from C. longa L., neutralized both the hemorrhagic activity and the lethal effect of venom in mice.[40] Curcumin along with hydroxychloroquine neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus infection, explaining the potential to synthesis SARS-CoV receptor binding domain-based vaccine for stopping of infection by SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV.[41] The antioxidant activity of phenolic compound curcumin can play an important role in neutralizing reactive oxygen species (ROS) against potato virus Y. (Potato virus).[42] Curcumin has been shown to improve systemic markers of oxidative stress; it can modulate the activity of GSH, catalase, and superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzymes actively in the neutralization of free radicals.[43] Rubia cordifolia L. prevents the increase in ROS production by its capacity to neutralize free radicals. It decreases the hydroxyl radical and lipid peroxidation level and increases the mitochondrial enzymes and respiratory chain enzymes significantly.[44] Antioxidant activity against lead nitrate and radiation-induced toxicity has been reported from Rubia cordifolia.[45] Alizarin biomarker of Rubia cordifolia is responsible for antigenotoxic activities.[46] Significant anti-inflammatory activity of water extracts of Rubia cordifolia in rats with carrageenan paw edema has been seen at a dose of 10 and 20 mL/kg comparable to phenylbutazone (100 mg/kg).[47] The anti-adipogenic activity of 2-carbomethoxy-2,3-epoxy-3-prenyl-1, and 4-naphthoquinone isolated from the roots of Rubia cordifolia L. and its effects on cell viability, apoptosis, and adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were investigated.[48] Alcoholic extracts of the whole plant of Rubia cordifolia show enhanced immune-modulating activity (cell mediated and humoral) due to alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, and phenols of the plant. The alcoholic root extract of Rubia cordifolia protects against radiation-induced lipid peroxidation, hemopoietic injury, and genotoxicity. Purpurin (anthraquinone derivatives) constituents of Rubia cordifolia show antigenotoxic activity. R. cordifolia has been shown to exert cell/neuroprotective properties via preventing the depletion and increasing GSH (glutathione) levels by inducing GCLC (c-glutamylcysteine ligase) expression, reducing oxidant levels by direct scavenging, and decreasing inducible nitric oxide synthase expression.[49] R. cordifolia extracts were also evaluated for antioxidant and lipid peroxidation inhibitory activities by 1, 1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydroxyl and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances method, respectively.[50] Lipid peroxidation in the kidney and liver tissues was also considerably reduced in Rubia cordifolia extract-treated animals. The hepatoprotective activity of an aqueousmethanol extract of Rubia cordifolia (Rubiaceae) was investigated against acetaminophen- and CCl4-induced hepatic damage. R. cordifolia also inhibited the lipoxygenase enzyme pathway and production of cumene hydroperoxides as an anti-inflammatory reaction. Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth. has been found to significantly neutralize the Echoes carinatus S. (Viperidae) venom enzymes that are responsible for local tissue damage and hemostatic alterations.[51] The alcoholic extract of A. lebbeck has antihistaminic property, by neutralizing the histamine directly or due to corticotrophic action as evidenced by raised cortisol levels in plasma. Albizia species have shown promising antimalarial activity and anti-trypanosomal activity.[52] Crude hexane, benzene, chloroform, ethyl acetate, and methanol solvent extracts of A. lebbeck have the potential to be used as an eco-friendly approach for the control of the A. stephensi, A. aegypti, and C. quinquefasciatus.[53]

The extract of V. negundo has been found to significantly antagonize the Vipera Russell and Naja kaouthia venom-induced lethal activity both in in vitro and in vivo studies. It also significantly neutralizes the V. Russell venom-induced hemorrhage, coagulant, denitrogenating, and inflammatory activity.[54]

Nanoparticles with Vishaghna (neutralizing toxin) property against viral infection

Although nanoparticles are generally considered a discovery of modern science, they have a very long history. Published data showed that bhasma is a therapeutic form of nano-size particles after evaluation through various tools and techniques. From long back, Ayurveda utilizes Swarna, Rajata, Tamra, vanga, Mukta, and muktashukti bhasmas for their Vishaghna properties. Recent studies have shown the role of nanogold, nanosilver, nano copper, nano tin, and nano calcium carbonate as a neutralizing antibody against certain infections. Researches showed their role as a therapeutic agent for neutralizing antibodies proliferation,[55] increased the neutralizing potency,[56] neutralization to a specific site to prevent the virus for attachment,[57] neutralizing antibody inhibition of HIV-1 replication, neutralizing monoclonal antibody formation which does not specifically recognize antigens produced by bacteria.[58] It is possible that it would reach the affected site and acts as a depot for the formation of neutralizing agent required for the prevention of virus replication.

  Results Top

Nine herbs and five metallic bhasmas having Vishaghna property were systematically reviewed, out of which four herbs and five metallic bhasmas have been reported to possess neutralizing antibody potential. Madhura rasa (six), Katu Rasa (Five), Tikta Rasa (seven), Kasaya Rasa (two) herbs were reported Prithvi, Vayu, Akash & Agni Mahabhuta can have neutralizing effectby virusproteins and attachment.

  Discussion Top

SARS-CoV-2 infection is making people panic globally. Vaccines from inactive or active virus and natural antibodytherapies from Vishaghna dravya may be the most capable agents to counteract the SARS-CoV-2, and following COVID-19 disease. Both these are essential for the development of an antibody against SARS-CoV-2 infection. An antibody is a molecule formed by the immune system in reply to an infection that prevents infecting healthy cells. The vaccinated antibody will make the immune system fight against infections in the future. But to treat those who may have a lack of immunity Vishghna dravyas may be effective. The antibody formed due to Vishaghna dravya may be called as natural artificial antibodies, canter at SARS-CoV-2 infection by inhibiting the virus protein present in circulation or extracellular fluid. Thus, the need the hour is to develop infection blocking natural antibody against the harmful effects of the virus to prevent infection. The above review concludes that the SARS-CoV-2 produces a harmful toxin in the host and herbs and bhasmas having Vishghna property that may form the infection blocking anti-body against the harmful toxins, may be beneficial. It is very clear from the earlier studies that antibodies for neutralizing the toxins of the virus act mainly through inactivation of the viral proteins that mediate the entry against virus attachment to cells. Antibodies for virus neutralization remain in the circulation as well as in extracellular fluid without getting metabolized or phagocytosed. Similarly, it may be presumed that antibodies developed after administration of vishagna dravya remain in the circulation without being metabolized or phagocytosed and as per the concept of Samana pratyarbdha, the inherent qualities of the predominant mahabhutas remains as it is. The Prithvi mahabhuta helps in the inhibition of virus into the cell plasma membrane, organelles, nucleus. Vayu and Akasha Mahabhuta helps in the inactivation of the viral proteins and attachment. The major portion of the Vishghna dravyas is derived from primary metabolites such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats as well as the secondary metabolites such as alkaloids, glycosides, lignin, tannin, and fiber. Antibodies or cell proteins formed due to Vishghna dravyaare secondary metabolites that do not get assess into the cell the host cell like Viruddha ahaara concept in Ayurvedathatremains unaffected, not poisonous and may not cause any fatal diseases. Regular intake of herbs and bhasmas in therapeutic doses having known antitoxic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and immune cells activation activity and their molecular targets may develop the antibodies/cellular proteins that inhibit the entry of toxins into the cell. Along with Vishghna dravyas, herbs and metals having molecular targets on RNA-dependent RNA polymerase; 3CL protease inhibitor; Tumor necrosis factor; papain-like proteinase; Early growth response protein 1; Nonreceptor tyrosine-protein kinase; Cyclooxygenase; Cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase; Janus

Kinase-enzyme; Matrix metalloprotease; Nuclear factor-kappa B; Angiotensin-converting enzyme-2; Ribose nucleic acid; Complement component 3 and 5; P38 mitogen-activated protein kinases; Aryl hydrocarbon receptor; SOD; catalase; glutathione peroxidase; lipopolysaccharides; myeloperoxidase; the treatment approach will be effective in the prevention and treatment of the disease.

  Conclusion Top

It is difficult, rather very difficult to give a conclusion that the above Ayurveda herbs and nano-size bhasmas will form neutralizing antibodies to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Based on literature published in the last couple of months, a concept has been developed that immune cells recognize this infection as harmful toxins. Hence, drugs that possess neutralizing antibody effect may produce therapeutic efficacy to prevent this global pandemic. A multidisciplinary research is required to validate the concept of natural neutralizing antibodies against SARS-COV viral infections.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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