After its recent discovery in patients with serious pneumonia in Wuhan (China), the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), named also Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has spread quickly. Unfortunately, no drug or vaccine for treating human this coronavirus infection is available yet. Numerous options for controlling or preventing emerging 2019-nCoV infections may be predicted, including vaccines, interferon therapies, and small-molecule drugs. However, new interventions are likely to require months to years to develop. In addition, most of the existing antiviral treatments frequently lead to the development of viral resistance combined with the problem of side effects, viral re-emergence, and viral dormancy. The pharmaceutical industry is progressively targeting phytochemical extracts, medicinal plants, and aromatic herbs with the aim of identifying lead compounds, focusing principally on appropriate alternative antiviral drugs. Spices, herbal medicines, essential oils (EOs), and distilled natural products provide a rich source of compounds for the discovery and production of novel antiviral drugs. The determination of the antiviral mechanisms of these natural products has revealed how they interfere with the viral life cycle, i.e., during viral entry, replication, assembly, or discharge, as well as virus-specific host targets. Presently, there are no appropriate or approved drugs against CoVs, but some potential natural treatments and cures have been proposed. Given the perseverance of the 2019-nCoV outbreak, this review paper will illustrate several of the potent antiviral chemical constituents extracted from medicinal and aromatic plants, natural products, and herbal medicines with recognized in vitro and in vivo effects, along with their structure–effect relationships. As this review shows, numerous potentially valuable aromatic herbs and phytochemicals are awaiting assessment and exploitation for therapeutic use against genetically and functionally different virus families, including coronaviruses.
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