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Antiviral screening of British Columbian medicinal plants



Type of Spiritual Experience


Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose, bristly rose, wild rose) is a 2–10 feet (0.61–3.05 m) tall perennial shrub in the rose family (Rosaceae).  The species name nootka comes from the Nootka Sound of Vancouver Island, where the plant was first described. This plant is native to Western North America. There are 2 varieties: hispida grows in the Intermountain West, from east of the Cascades to the Rocky Mountains, and nutkana grows in coastal areas from Alaska to California, east to the Cascades.

Drymocallis arguta, commonly known as the tall cinquefoil, sulphur cinquefoil or sticky cinquefoil, is a perennial plant in the Rosaceae family of flowering plants native to North America. It was formerly included with the typical cinquefoils in the genus Potentilla.

Sambucus racemosa is a species of elderberry known by the common names Red Elderberry and Red-berried Elderberry

Devil's club or devil's walking stick (Oplopanax horridus, Araliaceae; syn. Echinopanax horridus, Fatsia horrida) is a large understory shrub endemic to the arboreal rainforests of the pacific northwest, but also disjunct on islands in Lake Superior. It is noted for its large palmate leaves and erect, woody stems covered in noxious and irritating spines. It is also known as Alaskan ginseng and similar names, however it is not a true Ginseng.

Ipomopsis aggregata is a species of flowering plant in the phlox family (Polemoniaceae), commonly known as scarlet trumpet, scarlet gilia, or skyrocket because of its scarlet red flowers with lobes curving back as if blown back by rocketing through the air.

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea among infants and young children. It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. Nearly every child in the world has been infected with rotavirus at least once by the age of five. Immunity develops with each infection, so subsequent infections are less severe; adults are rarely affected. There are eight species of this virus, referred to as A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H. Rotavirus A, the most common species, causes more than 90% of rotavirus infections in humans.

Cardamine (bittercress or bitter-cress) is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Brassicaceae. It contains more than 150 species of annuals and perennials. The genus grows worldwide in diverse habitats, except the Antarctic. Genus Dentaria is a synonym for Cardamine.

Conocephalum conicum, the snakeskin liverwort or Great Scented Liverwort, is a liverwort species in the genus Conocephalum .

Lysichiton americanus, also called western skunk cabbage (USA), yellow skunk cabbage (UK), American skunk-cabbage (Britain and Ireland) or swamp lantern, is a plant found in swamps and wet woods, along streams and in other wet areas of the Pacific Northwest, where it is one of the few native species in the arum family. The plant is called skunk cabbage because of the distinctive "skunky" odor that it emits when it blooms.

Polypodium glycyrrhiza, commonly known as licorice fern, many-footed fern, and sweet root, is an evergreen fern native to western North America, primarily in a narrow strip in southern Alaska, southwestern Yukon Territory, western British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California, though two highly disjunct populations are known from Idaho and Arizona. It thrives in a humid climate, prevailing in areas with cool and moist summers and warm and wet winters. P. glycyrrhiza can often be found growing on the trunks and branches of deciduous trees, particularly bigleaf maple, but is also often found on rocks, logs, and wet, mossy humus. Habitat elevation is lowlands below 600 meters.  Licorice fern acquires its name from its licorice-flavored rhizome, which was chewed for flavor by numerous Native American groups, including the Shishalh, Comox, Nuxalk, Haida, and Kwakwaka'wakw. The rhizomes were also usually used medicinally as a treatment for the cold and sore throats

Verbascum thapsus (great mullein or common mullein) is a species of mullein native to Europe, northern Africa, and Asia, and introduced in the Americas and Australia.


A description of the experience

J Ethnopharmacol. 1995 Dec 1;49(2):101-10.

Antiviral screening of British Columbian medicinal plants.

McCutcheon AR1, Roberts TE, Gibbons E, Ellis SM, Babiuk LA, Hancock RE, Towers GH.



One hundred methanolic plant extracts were screened for antiviral activity against seven viruses. Twelve extracts were found to have antiviral activity at the non-cytotoxic concentrations tested. The extracts of

  • Rosa nutkana and Amelanchier alnifolia, both members of the Rosaceae, were very active against an enteric coronavirus.
  • A root extract of another member of the Rosaceae, Potentilla arguta, completely inhibited respiratory syncytial virus.
  • A Sambucus racemosa branch tip extract was also very active against respiratory syncytial virus while the inner bark extract of Oplopanax horridus partially inhibited this virus.
  • An extract of Ipomopsis aggregata demonstrated very good activity against parainfluenza virus type 3.
  • A Lomatium dissectum root extract completely inhibited the cytopathic effects of rotavirus.

In addition to these, extracts prepared from the following plants exhibited antiviral activity against herpesvirus type 1:

  • Cardamine angulata,
  • Conocephalum conicum,
  • Lysichiton americanum,
  • Polypodium glycyrrhiza and
  • Verbascum thapsus.

PMID:  8847882

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps