The Role of Adaptogens in Prophylaxis and Treatment of Viral Respiratory Infections

Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2020 Sep 8;13(9):236. doi: 10.3390/ph13090236.


The aim of our review is to demonstrate the potential of herbal preparations, specifically adaptogens for prevention and treatment of respiratory infections, as well as convalescence, specifically through supporting a challenged immune system, increasing resistance to viral infection, inhibiting severe inflammatory progression, and driving effective recovery. The evidence from pre-clinical and clinical studies with Andrographis paniculata, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Glycyrrhiza spp., Panax spp., Rhodiola rosea, Schisandra chinensis, Withania somnifera, their combination products and melatonin suggests that adaptogens can be useful in prophylaxis and treatment of viral infections at all stages of progression of inflammation as well as in aiding recovery of the organism by (i) modulating innate and adaptive immunity, (ii) anti-inflammatory activity, (iii) detoxification and repair of oxidative stress-induced damage in compromised cells, (iv) direct antiviral effects of inhibiting viral docking or replication, and (v) improving quality of life during convalescence.

Keywords: Andrographis; Eleutherococcus; Glycyrrhiza; Panax; Rhodiola; Schisandra; Withania; adaptogens; melatonin; viral infection.

Publication types

  • Review