/ 8 October 2020

A BOTANY professor from the University of the Philippines in Los Baños said two plants, considered by locals as weed, could be harnessed for their potential in treating Covid19 patients.

In a recent webinar entitled “Rummaging nature’s arsenal: Botanicals versus SARS-CoV-2,” Dr. Lourdes Cardenas presented Berberis barandana and Curculigo orchioides as plants that could be used against Covid19.

Cardenas said the Berberis barandana, also called bagis or subit in the Mountain Province, is a common weed with small yellow flowers. This plant is usually cleared out to make way for farming because of its non-assuming appearance and thorny leaves.

The plant contains berberine, an isoquinoline alkaloid, that can act as an antiviral and antimicrobial agent, the professor said.

Meanwhile, Curculigo orchioides contain a compound that can boost the immune system.

“The Curculigo orchioides, named as sulsulitik in Northern Luzon or talaongi in Southern Mindanao, is also a medicinal plant that contains saponin, a compound that can boost the immune system and can be useful in treating weakened Covid19 patients,” Cardenas said.

“It is also considered as a weed by the locals because it commonly grows in grasslands where it is grazed upon by livestock,” she added.

“Fully realizing its medical benefits will require further efforts to confirm their medicinal value, secure ample supply for production and inform the public about their importance,” Cardenas said.