Possible Use of Phytochemicals for Recovery from COVID-19-Induced Anosmia and Ageusia

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Aug 18;22(16):8912. doi: 10.3390/ijms22168912.


The year 2020 became the year of the outbreak of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which escalated into a worldwide pandemic and continued into 2021. One of the unique symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 disease, COVID-19, is the loss of chemical senses, i.e., smell and taste. Smell training is one of the methods used in facilitating recovery of the olfactory sense, and it uses essential oils of lemon, rose, clove, and eucalyptus. These essential oils were not selected based on their chemical constituents. Although scientific studies have shown that they improve recovery, there may be better combinations for facilitating recovery. Many phytochemicals have bioactive properties with anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects. In this review, we describe the chemical compounds with anti- inflammatory and anti-viral effects, and we list the plants that contain these chemical compounds. We expand the review from terpenes to the less volatile flavonoids in order to propose a combination of essential oils and diets that can be used to develop a new taste training method, as there has been no taste training so far. Finally, we discuss the possible use of these in clinical settings.

Keywords: COVID-19; ageusia; anosmia; anti-inflammatory effects; anti-viral effects; diets; essential oils; phytochemicals; smell training; taste training.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ageusia / drug therapy*
  • Ageusia / metabolism
  • Ageusia / virology*
  • Anosmia / diagnosis
  • Anosmia / drug therapy*
  • Anosmia / metabolism
  • Anosmia / virology*
  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment*
  • Humans
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Phytochemicals / therapeutic use*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification


  • Phytochemicals