US-based Larreacorp has received a US patent for a new plant-based drug with strong anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
The ingredient is derived from the desert creosote plant Larrea and is marketed under the tradename, Larreastat.
The patent is the fourth issued to Larreacorp since 1998, when it received its first patent for the plant-derived ingredient. This led to further research on the pharmaceutical properties of the plant.
The company claims that the compounds in the plant have great potential in the treatment of human herpes virus conditions including cold sores, genital herpes and shingles. It said that both clinical and consumer reports have verified its laboratory data, which established the plant's ability to combat the herpes virus.
It is estimated that over 90 per cent of the human population carries one or more herpes virus. These viruses can lay dormant for years before becoming reactivated due to stress, a weakened immune system or age-related disease.
Furthermore, links between herpes viruses and several common and severe diseases have been reported. The herpes virus has been associated with degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and heart disease.
The company said in a statement : "The extension of claims provided by the new patents will significantly increase the scope of Larrea's use beyond the anti-viral application to include the plant's anti-inflammatory and potential anti-tumorigenic properties."
Larreacorp plans to sponsor clinical trials to further test the efficacy of the plant-derived compound in treating herpetic conditions such as cold sores, genital herpes, shingles, chronic fatigue syndrome and Kaposi's Sarcoma. It also plans to begin tests on the plant's anti-inflammatory properties, for the relief of different inflammatory diseases.
Larreacorp has three more patents - number 6,039,955, number 6,004,559, number 5,945,106 - in its patent portfolio, which relate to the processing and use of Larrea as an anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent. Several supplement and cosmetic products containing the plant derivative are also manufactured and marketed by Larreacorp.