Tag Archives: herbalism

Phytotherapy against COVID-19 and risks of intoxication

J. Pharm. Pharmacogn. Res., vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 357-386, May-June 2022.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.56499/jppres21.1257_10.3.357

Original Article

Phytotherapy in response to COVID-19 and risks of intoxication: A field study in the city of Meknes (Morocco)

[Fitoterapia en respuesta al COVID-19 y riesgos de intoxicación: un estudio de campo en la ciudad de Meknes (Marruecos)]

Mariame Najem*, Jamal Ibijbijen, Laila Nassiri

Environment and Valorisation of Microbial and Plant Resources Unit, Faculty of Sciences, Moulay Ismail University of Meknes, P.O.B: 11201 Meknes, Morocco.

*E-mail: ma.najem@edu.umi.ac.ma, mariamenajem@gmail.com


Context: The contagious global pandemic of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has prompted many Moroccans to turn to traditional phytoremedies.

Aims: To highlight the ethnopharmacological information and the risks of intoxication related to the use of herbal medicine to combat COVID-19.

Methods: Through a semi-structured questionnaire and using the “Free listing” technique, an ethnobotanical survey was conducted among 36 herbalists of the Meknes prefecture to collect ethnopharmacological data on species used in the fight against COVID-19. Then, many databases were used to document their pharmacological and toxicological activities.

Results: A total of 36 species in 22 families were reported to be used to prepare traditional recipes against COVID-19. According to the relative frequency index of citation, the species Artemisia herba-alba Asso, Eucalyptus globulus Labill, Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L.M. Perry, Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck, and Zingiber officinale Roscoe. were recommended by all respondents and recorded the highest usage values. Based on the value of the plant parts index, leaves were the most used part (PPV = 0.37). Most of the remedies were prepared as infusions and administered orally. The bibliographic research revealed that the plants used have several biological activities and are frequently used to treat respiratory diseases. However, some of them have been reported to be toxic.

Conclusions: Recommended species are endowed with innumerable biological activities. They can be a promising alternative to combat COVID-19. However, their toxic effects require pharmacotoxicological studies to ensure the safety and efficacy of these natural remedies.

Keywords: COVID-19; ethnobotany; herbalism; Morocco; Meknes; phytotherapy; toxicity.


Contexto: La contagiosa pandemia mundial del coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) ha llevado a muchos marroquíes a recurrir a los fitorremedios tradicionales.

Objetivos: Resaltar la información etnofarmacológica y los riesgos de intoxicación relacionados con el uso de fitoterápicos para combatir el COVID-19.

Métodos: A través de un cuestionario semiestructurado y utilizando la técnica de “Listado Libre”, se realizó un relevamiento etnobotánico entre 36 herbolarios de la prefectura de Meknes para recolectar datos etnofarmacológicos sobre especies utilizadas en la lucha contra COVID-19. Luego, se utilizaron muchas bases de datos para documentar sus actividades farmacológicas y toxicológicas.

Resultados: Se informó que un total de 36 especies en 22 familias se utilizaron en la preparación de recetas tradicionales contra COVID-19. Según el índice de frecuencia relativa de citación, las especies Artemisia herba-alba Asso, Eucalyptus globulus Labill, Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L.M. Perry, Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck y Zingiber officinale Roscoe. son recomendados por todos los encuestados y registró los valores de uso más altos. Sobre la base del índice del valor de las partes de la planta, las hojas son la parte más utilizada (VPP = 0,37). La mayoría de los remedios se prepararon como infusiones y se administraron por vía oral. La investigación bibliográfica reveló que las plantas utilizadas tienen varias actividades biológicas y se utilizan con frecuencia en el tratamiento de enfermedades respiratorias. Sin embargo, se ha informado que algunos de ellos son tóxicos.

Conclusiones: Las especies recomendadas están dotadas de innumerables actividades biológicas, pueden ser una alternativa prometedora para combatir el COVID-19. Sin embargo, sus efectos tóxicos requieren estudios farmacotoxicológicos para garantizar la seguridad y eficacia de estos remedios naturales.

Palabras Clave: COVID-19; etnobotánica; fitoterapia; herboristería; Marruecos; Meknes; toxicidad.

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Citation Format: Najem M, Ibijbijen J, Nassiri L (2022) Phytotherapy in response to COVID-19 and risks of intoxication: A field study in the city of Meknes (Morocco). J Pharm Pharmacogn Res 10(3): 357–386. https://doi.org/10.56499/jppres21.1257_10.3.357

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