Development of a herbal fruit drink from medicinal plants as a remedy for support treatment of corona virus disease
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Many herbal plant materials and their products have been used in support of COVID treatment despite many of them not undergoing thorough testing or standardization. Herbal fruit drinks are beverages that commonly contain medicinal plant extracts or decoction of herbs or spices mixed with fruit juice. These drinks are natural alternatives that help cure or prevent various diseases. This study employed use of literature in herbal selection, quantitative phytochemical analysis, in vitro protein denaturation screening of herbal samples by using egg albumin method inorder to characterize herbal plant samples. Optimization tests, sensory evaluation, and nutritional analysis were done to establish standards for the herbal fruit drink. 27 herbal samples were selected for phytochemical analysis based on their previously reported antiviral mechanisms or anti-viral key marker compounds like curcumin in turmeric and allicin in onions for instance. The highest total phenolic contents in mg/g GAE was rosemary (16.57±0.78) and the lowest was in carrot (5.03±0.46), garlic (5.38±0.47) and cactus (4.85±0.43). The total flavonoid content in mg/g QE equivalent was highest in avocado leaves (117.32±0.51) while lowest in onion (2.91±0.13). The highest antioxidant activity was found in eucalyptus (782.80±34.85 mg/g) while the lowest was recorded in pumpkin seeds (201.33±16.78 mg/g) Ascorbic acid equivalent and highest anti-inflammatory activity was recorded in ginger (95.37%) whereas the lowest was found in moringa (60.96%). For all determinations, the statistical difference in all herbal samples was observed to be significant at p< 0.05. From the results and literature on antiviral key components, eighteen of the herbs were reselected from twenty-seven and combined into a single formulation consisting of a base, constants and variant groups. The optimization was done by response surface methodology using Design expert software version 11.0 and the poly herbal formulation had an optimized activity of 90% for anti-inflammatory activity and 709.65mg/g Ascorbic acid equivalent for anti-oxidant activity. The optimal extraction conditions were 59.99 minutes, 89.998 degrees celicius and 486.28 ml of extraction water. The sensory statistical analysis of the herbal fruit drink was done using SPSS software (factorial ANOVA with replication) where sample 5 which was a combination of passion and pineapple with the herbal extract scored best with an average mean±sd score of 6.53±1.84 of overall acceptability. A herbal fruit drink was developed and standardized by comparing nutritional and phytochemical properties to a reference drug combination that has been reported in conventional therapeutic treatment of COVID-19. The drug combination consisted of a single dose of ivermectin, vitamin C, and zinc. The results from analysis showed that vitamin A content was 0.0003% for the herbal juice while it was 0% for the drug combination; Vitamin C content was 6.15 % for the herbal juice and 48.98% for the drug combination; the flavonoid content was 0.16% and 0.04%; the phenolic content was 0.05% and 0.13%, the anti-oxidant activity was 4.71% and 5.04% and anti-inflammatory activities was 97.01% and 97.65% for the juice and drug mix respectively. The results show that the herbal juice is standardized, and has undergone quality control in the production process and they do indicate potential for the herbal juice to be used as a support treatment drink in COVID- 19 therapy.