Potent antiviral flavone glycosides from Ficus benjamina leaves

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75 Scopus citations


Crude ethanol extracts from Ficus benjamina leaves strongly inhibit Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1/2) as well as Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) cell infection in vitro. Bioassay-guided fractionation of the crude extract demonstrated that the most efficient inhibition of HSV-1 and HSV-2 was obtained with the flavonoid fraction. The present study was aimed to further isolate, purify and identify substances with potent antiviral activity from the flavonoid fraction of F. benjamina extracts. Flavonoids were collected from the leaf ethanol extracts through repeated purification procedure and HPLC analysis. The antiviral activity of each substance was then evaluated in cell culture. Three known flavone glycosides, (1) quercetin 3-O-rutinoside, (2) kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside and (3) kaempferol 3-O-robinobioside, showing highest antiviral efficiency were selected and their structure was determined by spectroscopic analyses including NMR and mass spectrometry (MS). These three flavones were highly effective against HSV-1 reaching a selectivity index (SI) of 266, 100 and 666 for compound 1, 2 and 3, respectively, while the SI of their aglycons, quercetin and kaempferol amounted only in 7.1 and 3.2, respectively. Kaempferol 3-O-robinobioside showed similar SI to that of acyclovir (ACV), the standard anti-HSV drug. Although highly effective against HSV-1 and HSV-2, these flavone glycosides did not show any significant activity against VZV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-367
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • Acyclovir
  • Ficus benjamina
  • Flavone glycosides
  • Herpes virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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