The use of Ephedra herbs in the treatment of COVID-19

Document Type : Mini Review Article


1 Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, Jiroft University of Medical Sciences, Jiroft, Iran

2 Department of Biology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Literature and Human Science, University of Malayer, Malayer, Iran

4 Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran


Objective: Ephedra herbs are the only extant genus in its family, Ephedraceae, and order, Ephedrales. It has been prescribed in traditional medicine for improving headaches and respiratory infections. On the other hand, because the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) causes respiratory problems and COVID-19 pandemic is the most widespread outbreak that has affected humanity in the last century, the current review aims using literature search to investigate the effects of the Ephedra herbs compounds on COVID-19 to supply a reference for its clinical application in the inhibition and remedy of COVID-19.
Materials and Methods: This review was performed using articles published in various databases, including Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar, without a time limit. For this paper, the following keywords were used: "Ephedra", "coronavirus disease 2019", "COVID-19", "Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2" or "SARS CoV 2".
Results: The results of this review show that the Ephedra herbs have effectiveness on COVID-19 and its compounds can bind to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) with a high affinity and act as a blocker and prevent the binding of the virus.
Conclusion: Some plants used in traditional medicine, including the Ephedra herbs, with their active compounds, can be considered a candidate with high potential for the control and prevention of COVID-19.