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Open Access Research

Anti-influenza virus effect of aqueous extracts from dandelion

Wen He123, Huamin Han12, Wei Wang12 and Bin Gao14*

Author Affiliations

1 CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology (CASPMI), Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1 Beichen West Road, Beijing 100101, PR China

2 Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1 Beichen West Road, Beijing 100101, PR China

3 Biochemistry Teaching and Research office of Hebei Medical University, Zhongshan East Road, Shijiazhuang 050017, PR China

4 China-Japan Joint Laboratory of Molecular Immunology and Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China

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Virology Journal 2011, 8:538  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-538

Published: 14 December 2011



Human influenza is a seasonal disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Anti-flu Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has played a significant role in fighting the virus pandemic. In TCM, dandelion is a commonly used ingredient in many therapeutic remedies, either alone or in conjunction with other natural substances. Evidence suggests that dandelion is associated with a variety of pharmacological activities. In this study, we evaluated anti-influenza virus activity of an aqueous extract from dandelion, which was tested for in vitro antiviral activity against influenza virus type A, human A/PR/8/34 and WSN (H1N1).


Results obstained using antiviral assays, minigenome assay and real-time reverse transcription-PCR analysis showed that 0.625-5 mg/ml of dandelion extracts inhibited infections in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells or Human lung adenocarcinoma cell line (A549) of PR8 or WSN viruses, as well as inhibited polymerase activity and reduced virus nucleoprotein (NP) RNA level. The plant extract did not exhibit any apparent negative effects on cell viability, metabolism or proliferation at the effective dose. This result is consistent with the added advantage of lacking any reported complications of the plant's utility in traditional medicine over several centuries.


The antiviral activity of dandelion extracts indicates that a component or components of these extracts possess anti-influenza virus properties. Mechanisms of reduction of viral growth in MDCK or A549 cells by dandelion involve inhibition on virus replication.

Dandelion; Anti-influenza virus; Traditional Chinese Medicine