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In vitro study of the antiviral activity of Zingiber officinale
Aims: In the past, herbs were the only source of most drugs; ethnopharmacological research may represent a crucial step in the development of drugs from natural sources. Trial and error have led to the correlation of a particular herb with the amelioration and/or complete curing of certain diseases. Ginger (Zingiber officinale, Zingiberaceae) has been widely used as a dietary spice, and as a traditional oriental drug. The rhizome of ginger contains pungent vanillyl ketones, including -gingerol and -paradol, which have been credited with therapeutic and preventive health benefits, including anti-cancer activity.
The current work seeks to identify novel lead compounds with antiviral effect on hepatitis C virus (HCV). A lyophilized juice extract from Zingiber officinale at different concentrations (5, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150 and 200µg/ml) were tested in vitro as anti-HCV using the hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cell line infected with HCV. Inhibition of viral replication was detected by amplification of viral RNA segments using the reverse transcriptase (RT)-RNA technique. The test compound was Zingiber officinale considered to be active by inhibiting the viral replication inside the HCV-infected HepG2 cells, as evidenced by the disappearance of the (+) and/or (-) strands of viral RNA- amplified products detected by RT-RNA (compared with the positive control). Results: The inhibitory dose was found to be effective at 100µg/ml. Newer insight into molecular basis of the efficacy of Zingiber officinale as anti-HCV will help us to formulate an alternative cheap natural drug to avoid the high cost and adverse effect of synthetic drugs.
References:  Eddouks, M. et al. (2002)J. Ethnopharmacol. 82:97–103.
 Habib S.H. et al. (2008) Clinics 63:807–813.