A help against cold sores seems to come from jasmine tea! In fact, as shown by a very recent scientific research published in the journal Molecules (Zhu et al, Molecules, 2022), an active ingredient contained in jasmine is able to activate the internal antiviral defenses and thus counteract herpes simplex infection.
How to combat human herpes simplex viruses
The herpes simplex viruses that affect humans are of two types, HSV 1 and HSV 2. The HSV 1 virus affects the oropharyngeal region and causes the famous fever on the lip. Nowadays, the drugs in use are able to modulate the course of the viral infection but are unable to cure it. For this reason, it is necessary to find new treatments for the herpes virus. There are substances, called cytokines, such as interferons, interleukins and tumor necrosis factor alpha, which stimulate the defense mechanisms when a virus infects the body. Tumor necrosis factor alpha, whose abbreviation is TNF a, has been observed to exhibit powerful antiviral action when administered orally. However, these properties cannot be exploited since, when this substance is of exogenous origin, it also brings important side effects and is toxic for the body. These side effects would be avoided by managing to stimulate the endogenous production of TNF a. This is why science is becoming interested in all those natural compounds capable of regulating the production of these antiviral substances. Jasmine is a popular remedy for flu and fever. Therefore, in the study we are talking about today, the researchers tested the antiviral and TNF release stimulating action of jasminin, the active ingredient in jasmine that is also found in jasmine tea.
Jasmine activates the body's antiviral response
The researchers performed a series of laboratory tests in which extracts of the active ingredient of jasmine were placed in contact with macrophages, which are immune system cells responsible for releasing TNF a, and with cells infected with the herpes simplex virus. What emerged was that the jasmine extracts were able to activate the macrophages and increase their action by 420% compared to the situation without jasmine extracts. Activation of the macrophages is then followed by the release of TNF a in a quantity that is ten times higher than the standard, that is, without jasmine extracts. In addition, the scientists were able to observe that TNF produced under these conditions showed antiviral action against HSV1.