Antiviral effect of flavonoids on human viruses

J Med Virol. 1985 Jan;15(1):71-9. doi: 10.1002/jmv.1890150110.


The effect of several naturally occurring dietary flavonoids including quercetin, naringin, hesperetin, and catechin on the infectivity and replication of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), polio-virus type 1, parainfluenza virus type 3 (Pf-3), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was studied in vitro in cell culture monolayers employing the technique of viral plaque reduction. Quercetin caused a concentration-dependent reduction in the infectivity of each virus. In addition, it reduced intracellular replication of each virus when monolayers were infected and subsequently cultured in medium containing quercetin. Preincubation of tissue culture cell monolayers with quercetin did not affect the ability of the viruses to infect or replicate in the tissue culture monolayers. Hesperetin had no effect on infectivity but it reduced intracellular replication of each of the viruses. Catechin inhibited the infectivity but not the replication of RSV and HSV-1 and had negligible effects on the other viruses. Naringin had no effect on either the infectivity or the replication of any of the viruses studied. Thus, naturally occurring flavonoids possess a variable spectrum of antiviral activity against certain RNA (RSV, Pf-3, polio) and DNA (HSV-1) viruses acting to inhibit infectivity and/or replication.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Flavanones*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Hesperidin*
  • Humans
  • Parainfluenza Virus 3, Human / drug effects
  • Poliovirus / drug effects
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / drug effects
  • Simplexvirus / drug effects
  • Viral Plaque Assay
  • Virus Physiological Phenomena
  • Virus Replication / drug effects
  • Viruses / drug effects*


  • Flavanones
  • Flavonoids
  • Catechin
  • Quercetin
  • Hesperidin
  • naringenin
  • hesperetin