Antiviral

Both oral and injectable dose forms of licorice have been tested and found to have activity against a range of viruses. This effect is mediated by the constituents GL and GA (Jeong & Kim 2002). It should be noted that current studies focus largely on GL, which is converted in the gut to GA and may not produce the same results as those demonstrated for GL in vitro.

SARS-associated coronavirus In vitro studies have shown GL to inhibit SARS-CV (clinical isolates FFM-1 and FFM-2) replication by inhibiting adsorption and penetration of the virus in the early steps of the replicative cycle. Glycyrrhizin was most effective when given both during and after the adsorption period. High concentrations of GL (4000 mg/L) were found to completely block replication of the virus (Cinatl et al 2003). The ability of GL to reduce platelet accumulation in the lungs (Yu et al 2005) may also support this use and provide a possible therapeutic option for further investigation.

HIV Preliminary evidence indicates that intravenous administration of GL may reduce replication of HIV. High-dose GL (1600 mg/day) was most effective in reducing HIV type 1 p24 antigen and increasing lymphocytes (Hattori et al 1989). In vitro, GL has the potential to inhibit viral replication in cultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HIV-infected patients infected with a non-syncytium-inducing variant of HIV (Sasaki et al 2002-03).

Influenza Animal studies have shown that GL offers protection against influenza virus in mice through stimulation of IFN-gamma production by T cells (Utsunomiya et al 1997).

Epstein-Barr virus In vitro studies suggest that GL may interfere with an early step of the EBV replication cycle (possibly penetration) (Lin 2003a). Herpes simplex virus 1 In Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), GL reduced the synthesis of a viral latency protein and induced apoptosis of infected cells © 2007 Elsevier Australia

(Cohen 2005) terminating KSHV latent infection of B lymphocytes (Bradbury 2005). Early in vitro studies found that GL inactivated HSV irreversibly (Pompei et al 1979). Animal studies show that intraperitoneal administration of GL reduces HSV-1 viral replication and improves survival from herpetic encephalitis in mice (Sekizawa et al 2001). Whether GL may act against other latent herpes viruses or be suitable for clinical use against KSHV requires further elucidation (Bradbury 2005).

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