Faster and better recovery from covid-19: the walloon company botalys is testing a promising route.


Even cured, people with Covid-19 have significant sequelae: neurological or cardiovascular disorders, fatigue, loss of respiratory efficiency, etc.  

BOTALYS has developed a unique cultivation method in the world that produces medicinal plants of clinical quality. Among the cultivated plants: Dan Shen, whose roots are used in traditional Asian medicine to fight against respiratory viral infections. On the strength of promising first tests within the framework of the Covid-19, Botalys is shifting into high gear. BOTALYS is launching a study program in collaboration with UCLouvain and its University Clinics. The investment amounts to 190,000 euros, 80% financed by Wallonia. The results are expected by the end of 2020, and the commercial launch as a food supplement is planned for 2021. 

After six years of research and development, Botalys entered in the industrial phase in Ath in 2018. It owes its success to its innovative technology, based on vertical farming under a sterile environment. In its clean rooms, BOTALYS produces ingredients whose active contents are much higher than those obtained through conventional field crops (up to 10x higher), making the ingredients of Botalys particularly efficient. The process is 100% natural: it is free from any pesticides, solvents, or enzymes, while minimizing the footprint.

The first significant success for BOTALYS is Panax ginseng, which has been a worldwide craze for two years. To keep up with the very strong demand, the Walloon company has grown from 9 employees in 2018 to 20 currently. 

Immunity support and accelerated recovery

“After ginseng, we are studying new other crops, such as Dan Shen, a plant from traditional Asian medicine. The applications envisaged for this plant are, on the one hand, a support for immunity during viral infection, in particular by limiting the inflammatory response, and, on the other hand, a stimulation of the recuperation during the recovery period”, explains Pierre-Antoine Mariage, co-CEO of Botalys.

Commercial launch in 2021

Today, virtual sport and other gaming competitions are progressively entering our cultures. As their traditional equivalents do, the people involved in these e-sport competitions show an ever greater desire for performances. This aspiration is not new since concepts such as APM (number of Actions Per Minute performed by the competitor) are very present in this part of the digital culture. But as the practice becomes more and more “mainstream”, the parameters are multiplying. The nootropic trend came to live to give this new audience means to optimize their capacities while providing an alternative to energy drinks and their side effects.


Botalys’ mission is to grow medicinal plants to produce ultra-pure and highly bioactive botanical ingredients. Thanks to its innovative cultivation technology (based on vertical agriculture in a controlled environment) coupled with its scientific expertise as well as clinical studies, Botalys is a “game changer” on the market of high-quality botanical ingredients. As example, Botalys has been able to show through clinical trials, the safety and significant efficacy of its Panax ginseng root powder (trade name: HRG80) in improving the functioning of brain activity. Botalys is now recognized for the quality of the ingredients derived from its medicinal plants and has major customers, in Europe as well as in Asia and the United States. The team counts 20 employees and the head office is based in Ath, Belgium.

Additional scientific information

source: Dan Shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) in Medicine, Xijun Yan

How does Dan Shen roots act on respiratory viral infections?

Dan Shen roots are used in traditional Tibetan medicine to fight respiratory viral infections. Currently, many studies indicate that the active molecules of this plant act on several pharmacological targets of corona viruses and specifically of SARS-Cov-2. 

  • Inhibition of TM
  • PRSS2 and modulation of ACE-2, two molecules closely related to the integration of the virus into the cells of the body.
  • Inhibition of viral proteases
  • Regulation of inflammatory interleukin production
  • Inhibition of pulmonary fibrosis
  • Modulation of the HMGB1 signal responsible for the cytokine storm

How does it support immunity and accelerate recovery?

Patients with moderate or severe forms of the coronavirus have sequelae after recovery for several months, such as neurological disorders, disturbances in glucose and fat metabolism, cardiovascular diseases, fatigue, and loss of respiratory efficacy; Numerous publications point to the degradation of the ACE-2 receptors essential in the proper functioning of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). RAS is characterized primarily by a balance between angiotensin two and angiotensin 1-17. When SARS-CoV-2 massively infects the individual, it causes a decrease in the availability of ACE2, indirectly promoting the presence of angiotensin two and thereby unbalancing the ARS. The phytomolecules studied in this project appear to limit ACE2 deficiency in various models of lung inflammation. They could therefore help restore the balance of the ARS, the disturbance of which is involved in multiple severe symptoms associated with COVID-19. The poly-pharmacological activity of this medicinal plant would promote the expression of ACE2 without facilitating the entry of the virus into cells since it would inhibit TMPRSS2. Furthermore, these phytomolecules also appear to be able to inhibit the viral proteases PLpro and 3CLpro, essential for the proliferation of the virus in cells. Thanks to its specific poly-pharmacological properties against SARS-Cov-2, the applications envisaged for this plant are, on the one hand, a support for immunity during viral infection, in particular by limiting the inflammatory response, and, on the other hand, a stimulation of recovery during the convalescence phase.