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December 2021, Volume 71, Issue 12

Letter to the Editor

Herbal smoke, aerosol and cologne may play a role as disinfectant against the COVID-19 battle

Saara Ahmad  ( Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, The Aga Khan University, Karachi )
Muddasir Khan  ( Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan. )
Asra Khan  ( Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan. )
Abdul Mannan Baig  ( Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan. )



Madam, the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its containment became challenging for people worldwide.1 With the current spread of its third wave has propelled the significant use of disinfectants like sanitizers and antimicrobial agents for surfaces cleaning to prevent further spread of COVID 19 infection.2  There are several commonly used disinfectants available in the market, such as ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and formaldehyde. However, these disinfectants are expensive and may pose significant health risks associated with chemical composition and extensive use.3

To minimize the side effects, we propose three possible methods of disinfection that are cheaper and easily applicable. These are smoke, aerosols and cologne. The smoke method comprises of burning of dry leaves of Hemar, Laurus nobilis, Cedrus and Santalum album for disinfecting the environment and it is a common practice in our part of the world. Aerosols of natural herbal extracts are produced by preparing their mixture with water or alcohol in an enclosed jar under pressure and released as a fine spray by means of a propellant gas. The natural extracts like eucalyptus drops, tea tree oil, cloves oil, butter, rosemary, orange peel, lavender oil, mint, lemon juice, Ola can be mixed with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and water or alcohol to generate green aerosol disinfectants. The third method is a traditional Turkish cologne technique that utilizes mixing of 70-80% of alcohol with extracts of jasmine, tobacco, lavender, amber or white tea and through spray guns or aerosol diffusors can be used to disinfect the environment of homes, shopping malls, hospitals, academic fields, offices and schools.4

The efficacy of herbs as disinfectants used in smoke/incension, aerosols and cologne can be determined through the laboratory disc diffusion method prior to their expenditure. Thus, improved quality and quantity of commercially available natural green disinfectants and sanitizers which are indigenous, cost-effective and with minimal/ineffective side effects can be introduced for annihilation of COVID 19 spread.5

Acknowledgement: We would like to express our thanks to Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.

Disclaimer: Nothing to declare.

Conflict of Interest: All authors declare no conflict of interest.

Funding Disclosure: None to declare.




1.      Chavan RD, Shinde P, Girkar K, Madage R, Chowdhary A. Assessment of Anti-Influenza activity and hemagglutination inhibition of Plumbago indica and Allium sativum extracts. Pharmacognosy Res. 2016; 8:105-11.

2.      Organization WHO. World Health Organization coronavirus disease. 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report. [Online] [Cited 2020 May 22].  Available from: URL:

3.      Battistini R, Rossini I, Ercolini C, Goria M, Callipo MR, Maurella C, et al. Antiviral activity of essential oils against hepatitis A virus in soft fruits. Food Environ Virol. 2019; 11:90-5.

4.      Cowan MM. Plant products as antimicrobial agents. Clin Microbiol Rev. 1999; 12:564-82.

5.            Elgayyar M, Draughon F, Golden D, Mount J. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from plants against selected pathogenic and saprophytic microorganisms. J Food Prot. 2001; 64:1019-24.

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association has agreed to receive and publish manuscripts in accordance with the principles of the following committees: