Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3761

Full Length Research Paper

SARS Cov-2 Structure, biology, immunology and clinical course: Exploring the value of traditional medicine in limiting COVID-19 individual risk and disease outcomes

Erasto V. Mbugi
  • Erasto V. Mbugi
  • Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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Joseph Otieno
  • Joseph Otieno
  • Institute of Traditional Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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Ted Mselle
  • Ted Mselle
  • Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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Sauli E. John
  • Sauli E. John
  • Tanzania Foods and Nutrition Centre, Tanzania.
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Ruth Boniface
  • Ruth Boniface
  • Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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Florence Urio
  • Florence Urio
  • Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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Baraka S. Mkumbe
  • Baraka S. Mkumbe
  • Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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Samson Hilonga
  • Samson Hilonga
  • Institute of Traditional Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
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Germana H. Leyna
  • Germana H. Leyna
  • Tanzania Foods and Nutrition Centre, Tanzania.
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  •  Received: 01 June 2021
  •  Accepted: 25 August 2021
  •  Published: 31 October 2021

Abstract

Since the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, various approaches have been adopted worldwide by various state health authorities containing the ravaging pandemic. Tanzania adopted additional approach based on Tanzanian Traditional Medicines. This review aimed to explore the suitability of this local approach based on evaluation of the virus biology, pathogenesis and immunology in relation to the traditional medicines, nutritional immunology, steaming practice and nutritional contents of medicinal plants and potential impact of their combinations. Data related to COVID-19, dietary therapy and herbal medicine were systematically searched and gathered in scholarly materials. The search strategy included all terms that contain key words in relation to COVID-19 and treatment using traditional approach. Over 188 published articles on COVID-19 virus that included the virus biology, pathogenesis and immunology in relation to the traditional medicines, nutritional immunology, steaming practice, medicinal plants and nutritional contents of medicinal plants were obtained after individual manual screening. Given the relatively lower cases of the pandemic in Africa and the approach that Tanzania and some other African countries have used, it is undeniable that other factors than host-pathogen interaction determine the severity of the infection by the SARS-CoV-2 to necessitate multiple approaches to contain the disease. The authors conclude that traditional medicines potentially contain variable compounds with immunological, antiviral activity and nutritional value which, combined with steaming practice, can limit the virus impact while providing relief or protection to patients against the disease and be the key local interface remedy in keeping the COVID-19 low in Tanzania and other African countries to contain the pandemic.

Key words: Nutrition therapy, traditional medicine, COVID-19, nutritional immunology, steam therapy.