New research has determined that extract taken from a Japanese plant called the biyouyanagi flower may be able to assist medical researchers in the fight against HIV.
Also called the Hypericum chinense, the yellow-petalled flower contains compounds that potentially can be turned into anti-HIV drugs using ultraviolet light exposure, according to scientists at the Scripps Research Institute’s International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Neutralizing Antibody Center.
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research team found that a group of compounds aptly labeled biyouyanagins appeared to have medicinal benefits.
By exposing two forms of the compound to ultraviolet light, the team created a third, novel molecule that may be able to treat HIV and certain cancers.
Researchers reported that the new molecule mitigated HIV infection with more than half the effectiveness of traditional therapy with azidothymidine, a common antiviral prescribed for HIV treatment.
Similarly, the extract had powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
The team concluded that more research should be conducted into the efficacy of using natural plant extracts to fight diseases commonly treated with synthetic drugs.