The potent and infinite possibilities of the coffee plant has always fascinated me. Normally, for those that are not in the coffee industry the approach will be as a beverage, one that provides energy and awareness. But, there is so much more into it. In the last two decades scientific reports have been studying coffee on its chemical composition to better understand how to help coffee production due to the many problems producers are suffering (and struggling) because of climate change (and many other factors), as well to have a better understanding of the complexity of the beverage itself. These studies are not only related to coffee production, the plant, the benefits of the beverage; many have been trying to study and demonstrate the positive use for consumption of other coffee by-products such as cascara which was already approved in the European Union. (Read the report here)
On July 2022 a Scientific Research was published after being introduced and accepted on June 2022 by a group of specialists from Taiwan (China Medical University, Taichung), Academia Sinica, Taipei, and Asia University, Taichung.
The Research is called Prospects of Coffee Leaf against SARS-CoV-2 Infection and you can read all the references to this study on the link.
The discoveries of the research are really unique and interesting, specially considering the conclusions they achieved as part of investigation.
Note: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
They stated: "(...) The purpose of the of this research is to screen and explore natural plant extracts that have the potential to against SARS-CoV-2 and provide alternative options for SARS-CoV-2 prevention and hand sanitizer or spray-like disinfectants. (...)."
We are all very aware of the chaos that COVID-19 brought to our civilization as a pandemic. The study reports: "(...) Coronavirus is a group of viruses that can cause respiratory infections in humans. At the end of 2019, a new coronavirus species named SARS-CoV-2 caused the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), resulting in deaths or long-term conditions from the infection (more than pneumonia, COVID-19 exhibits various life-threatening symptoms). (...)".
However, despite the vaccines (and the fact that still there are a lot of people unvaccinated), the use of masks & constant and mandatory sanitizing, the virus has mutated (WHO has acknowledged 5 variants of COVID-19) and continues its path of contamination and spreading in the world sometimes affecting "normal" activities, traveling, working, etc.
And here is where the study caught my eye, and got really interesting. Continue the report: "(...) Serious threat to current COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, potentially pressing humans to coexist with COVID-19, and the standards of disinfection and social distancing have gradually become an important new area for epidemic prevention. Therefore, other preventive approaches to reduce the transmission of all SARS-CoV-2 variants are urgently needed in addition to vaccination. Various studies have shown the anti- SARS-CoV-2 activity of plant extracts, such as Scutellaria barbata D. Don, Allium sativum, Camellia sinensis, and Punica granatum. Some natural plants from the economic crops, such as barks, leaves, roots, and others, have the potential to become high-value compounds. Coffee leaf from coffee production is a great example. For a long time, in India, Jamaica, and Java, the coffee leaf has been used to improve health as ethnomedicine, animal feed, lactobacillus proliferators, and organic fungicides. The component of the coffee leaf has many distinct phytochemicals with a variety of potential biological activities, such as amino acids, alkaloids (caffeine), flavonoids (anthocyanins), xanthonoids (mangiferin), tannins, phenolic acids (caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid), and catechins. For example, mangiferin (Read here) has exhibited anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, anti-hyperlipidemia, anti-oxidation, and neuroprotective effects; chlorogenic acid can inhibit oxidative stress, inflammation, aging, and cancer. (...)".
NOTE: *Mangiferin is a xanthone present in significant levels in higher plants and in different parts of the mango fruit, such as the peel, stalks, leaves, barks, kernel, and stone. It is a promising antioxidant with tremendous health-related properties such as antiviral, anticancer, antidiabetic, antioxidative, antiaging, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective and analgesic effects 😱
The technical details of the research in terms of all the preparation, methods and techniques used for the group of experts are well explained in the paper for those who wants to access to all the information, statistics and data analysis collected for them, but I have no intention to write about it, because first I barely understood the scientific terms used on the paper, and second, not being a scientist myself all this complicated jargon does not affect the final discovery that is the reason why I'm writing about it in the first place. Does it make any sense? 🤔 I hope so!
Anyways, they "(...) identified coffee leaf as a promising alternative source that interferes with SARS-CoV-2 in the prevention and phytotherapy of medicine. (...)"
And they started making different tests to prove the efficacy of the coffee leaf (and other natural plants, but I'm focusing only in coffee):
1) to inhibit the effect on the infection (SARS-CoV-2)
2) the efficacy of the coffee leaf extract to be safely used as such as hand sanitizer or spray-like disinfectants, due to its ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection.
3) whether coffee leaf extract has the potential to be added to hand sanitizer or spray-like disinfectants to usefully avoid SARS-CoV-2 infection through skin contact.
The research found consistent evidence (as it has been always established) that four main compounds, including caffeine, CGA, quinic acid, and mangiferin, were identified in the coffee leaf extract, but they needed to determine which of these compounds may prevent SARS-CoV-2 entry.
The conclusions reached as following:
"(...) There are many research articles about the antiviral, antibacterial, and insect repellent activities of natural plants. We wanted to find some safe and effective natural plants that will prevent humans from the threat of SARS-CoV-2. (...)".
They continue "(...) It is implied that coffee leaf extract has the potential to inhibit the entry of SARS-CoV-2. (...)". They suggest further investigations can be made to assess the efficacy of the coffee leaf as a drug.
SARS-CoV-2 keeps stable on the skin at 4 °C for 14 days, at 22 °C for at least 96 hours, and at 37 °C for at least 8 hours. Additionally, the stability of the virus for 9 hours on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission, accelerating the pandemic. They found that the pseudovirus can be detected even after 6 hours of exposure at room temperature. And also, within 2 hours of exposure, the infected effectiveness did not significantly decline.
And the interesting thing, (and scary as well) is that we have been told that using antibacterial (ethanol is the main component) is really effective to avoid the Covid infection (among with social distance and masks use).
However has been reported that frequent hand sanitizer increases the chance of antimicrobial resistance and other viral diseases.
So, the research proved that "(...) coffee leaf extract can effectively block the SARS-CoV-2 infection within 60 minutes. Even under semi-dry conditions, the effect of impeding the entry of SARS-CoV-2 is much better than the 75% (w/w) Ethanol group. Our research revealed that high coffee leaf extract concentrations might help control SARS-CoV-2, and it is worthy of further exploration for product development. (...)"
"(...) In conclusion, our research verified that coffee leaf extract potently inhibits Vpp infection through an ACE2-dependent mechanism. It could be a valuable supplement to the daily diet and may also be a promising alternative source for hand sanitizer or spray-like disinfectants to prevent infection of SARS-CoV-2. (...)".
This is a wonderful new. As I always say, coffee is much more than just a beverage. Having the chance of using an antibacterial or spray-sanitizer from coffee leaf I will always go to the natural plant, it will be my choice for sure. Additionally, I believe that this kind of by-products offer a wide spectrum for producers who always need another source of sustentable income. But, to be honest, using a coffee leaf extract as part of an anti-bacterial or spray-sanitizer is easy for me to picture. But how will the coffee leaf extract be used as a by-product to inhibit the effect of the infection is something that I don't understand and it is not mentioned on the research. Maybe this is the reason why they stated that it will require further investigation to determine its effectiveness as a drug.
It could be as a pill, a syrup, or another form. Who knows?
Science will know.
Thank you for reading and if you like it, feel free to share it and leave a comment.