Chinese scientists have found that the roots of a plant have powerful natural substances that can kill the H1N1 virus.
Researchers Fang-Rong Chang and Yang-Chang Wu identified chemicals in the extracts of the "Dung of the Devil" plant, which were more effective against the H1N1 virus than the antiviral drug currently available for the flu.
The report will be published in the Sept. 25 issue of ACS' Journal of Natural Products.
The plant biologically called ferula assa-foetida, is found in Iran, Afghanistan and mainland China.
The authors say: "Overall, the present study has determined that sesquiterpene coumarins from F. assa-foetida may serve as promising lead components for new drug development against influenza A (H1N1) viral infection."
The plant was also used as a remedy during the 1918 Spanish flu that took a toll of nearly 100 million lives.
However, the antiviral capacity of the plant was not fully confirmed until now.