Chinese medicine has long been convinced of honeysuckle’s healing powers. The herb is primarily consumed in tea.  Recently the subject of study, researchers have isolated a molecule within honeysuckle that targets influenza A viruses, which include Spanish flu and avian flu. The flu, or Influenza, is highly contagious affecting, the respiratory system.

The team of scientists from Nanjing University, China, published their findings in the journal Cell Research.

Those who advocate traditional Chinese medicine have been ingesting sweet-smelling honeysuckle as a form of treatment for influenza A viruses (IAV) for some time. Now there is evidence to support the plant’s health benefits.

Researchers note, "the results show that honeysuckle decoction has a broad-spectrum anti-viral activity."

Within honeysuckle is molecule MIR2911. The molecule remains present in the plant, regardless of the mashing and boiling process called decoction. Experiments included giving mice honeysuckle soup, which deposited the molecule into their plasma and lung tissue.

The team discovered that MIR2911 represses two genes that foster influenza viral replication and effectively protect animals effectively from H1N1 infection, also known as swine flu.

There is some hope that MIR2911 may be the "virological penicillin" necessary to viruses, similar to current penicillin which led to the development of life-saving medicines that fight bacterial infections.  More studies will assess the molecule’s roles in humans.

A natural product that directly targets a virus has never been observed before. MIR2911 had a broad-spectrum anti-IAV effect. The ability to treatments attack multiple viruses is vital for combating mutating viruses.

"With this in mind, plant MIR2911 is an ideal reagent for suppressing IAV infection," write the authors, "and it is fully expected that MIR2911, as well as MIR2911-enriched honeysuckle decoction, will be widely used for [the treatment of IAV infections]."

MIR2911 "also directly targets the Ebola virus," say researchers. Currently, aside from experimental drugs, intensive supportive care is all that can be offered to Ebola sufferers in Western Africa.

Read the full article for here: Could honeysuckle tea be used to combat flu viruses? – Medical News Today