Antiviral Herbs and Other Natural Products to Help You Stay Well
Know what you are taking, consider all precautions and ask questions to learn.
Because herbs -plants- are natural, that does not mean they don't have side effects or interactions with other medications. Generally in responsible educated use, they do not. But because herbal medicines have not been studied enough to fully confirm their safety and dosage or interaction possibilities, be aware of what and how you use them. Example: Valerian root can increase the effects of sedative medication: St. John's wort, though a mood elevator, can interact dangerously with antidepressant medications.
If you have questions, connect with a professional person knowledgeable in that field. And if pregnant or breastfeeding, be extra cautious about what you ingest.
Some herbal extracts have been used medicinally for many years, yet they are not strictly regulated and scientific confirmation is somewhat lacking. Their action may be broad and helpful, but ere on the side of caution, just as with any other medication. Choose to use a brand that is certified for purity and quality.
Twenty herbs shown to have antiviral abilities.
Herbs are not listed in any specific order of antiviral potency. Antiviral properties suggested have been deduced from many books and online sources.
Lomatium: As a liquid It tastes really bad, but is a first choice if you want to hit your cold/flu symptoms quickly. It demonstrates activity against herpes and cervical dysplasia. It can be used for oral inflammations successfully also.There are reports of Lomatium being higher risk for allergic responses, so inform yourself thoroughly and use cautiously to learn of your personal response.
Elderberry: This is probably a most common liquid or tablet and it tastes good. Used as a medication, it is also made into jellies and wine. It is an antique and modern remedy against influenza and upper respiratory infections.
Oregano: Must be especially careful with this one as it can be irritating to sensitive skin. It does have a 'sting' to ingestion and topical application, so practice safety in how you use this excellent herb. (Ignore: Be sore.). It is a somewhat smelly liquid but there are lots of gels and capsules too. This herb is not the table spice, but a wild cousin. In a test-tube study oregano oil reduced the activity of norovirus in 15 minutes. It is an excellent choice for beginning that fight against a cold or flu.
Garlic: An old standby for many years, garlic has quite active antiviral ability. History tells that it was used to prevent plague. It does best need to be used raw or tinctured, though cooking and eating has benefit. Garlic has also been shown to help reduce high blood pressure.
St. John's Wort: Sometimes taken for mood uplift, this herb is antiviral...but may sensitize your skin to easier sunburn while using and could definitely interfere with any antidepressant medication you take.
Graviola: Some information describes this as a cancer fighter, but it should not be taken for long episodes...take a break from it after a few weeks, than may restart.
Bloodroot: This herb is used on skin lesions with good success. Taken orally usually by capsule, sometimes liquid, it may loosen your stool too. Bloodroot was and is often used with the Mohs skin lesion removal process.
Sage: This mint family herb was used in the middle ages to help prevent plague. Current research indicates sage may be able to improve brain function in dementia.
Licorice (not candy): Licorice root is important in Ayurvedic medicine. Studies demonstrate it effective against RSV, herpes and some types of pneumonia. It has been shown to reduce Candida overgrowth. It will deplete potassium if taken over a long period of time, so consider that when using.
Holy Basil: Called tulsi, one test tube study showed potent effect against viral infections such as herpes, hepatitis B.
Echinacea: This purple flowered plant stimulates the immune system against viral infection of herpes and influenza, as well as upper respiratory infections which may be viral in cause.
Onion: Delicious as food, this garlic-similar plant exhibits a fainter mark against viruses as garlic does. An old remedy used onion slices topically to rid warts from human skin.
Fennel: Has exhibited strong antiviral effect to herpes and a cattle influenza.
Lemon balm: Yes, lemony scent! Has antiviral effects against avian flu, herpes. Is an old fashioned remedy (and now also comes in fragrant essential oil).
Ginger: A popular tasty candy, tea, it has been shown to have impressive antiviral activity against RSV, avian influenza and a cat virus similar to human norovirus.This herb settles a tummy and is delicious in a tea form.
Korean Red Ginseng: Has exhibited impressive use against RSV, herpes zoster and simplex, and hepatitis A. Quite conducive of energy production in the body.
Astragalus: Popular in Chinese medicine, it has been shown in test tubes studies to defeat herpes, avian influenza and even hepatitis C.
Dandelion: This bright yellow weed indicates warring against influenza, HIV and hepatitis B and even inhibited Dengue fever replication. It is a number 1 herb for liver supportive healing. (Along with milk thistle seed.)
Olive leaf and oil: The NIH has published articles on components of the olive herb showing some phenolic anticancer activity of breast and colon. The oil has been shown to reduce blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
Hemp seed: Dana Murray, aesthetician, uses hempseed oil for skin care and eating. (It is a great source of protein as used in baking, smoothies, snacking.) Recent news indicates aspects of the hemp plant to be antiviral and/or anti-bacterial with activity against pain and seizures.
Do note that much of herb testing has been done via test tube process using concentrated extract , and may not fully relate to human use. Antivirals may not actually kill viruses, but inhibit or prevent their development or replication. Many of these herbals have come down to us through long-term traditional use. Others have also been medicinally appreciated for hundreds of years.
Nine Homeopathic remedies with varied antiviral abilities: Inexpensive and helpful!
Although the use of these remedies has been denigrated by many orthodox practitioners as well as our government, it has been productive in preventing and assisting the body to fight and heal many viral illnesses since Samuel Hahnemann created this therapeutic system of alternative medicine. Hahnemann was a respected German physician born in 1755 and died in 1843. Regretfully several worldwide countries are currently removing or considering banning funding for any homeopathic support or research.
The basic principle of this system is 'Like cures like'...the assumptive workable theory that a minute amount of the product that caused a dis-ease would also eliminate that dis-ease. This principle is vaguely similar to the process of building vaccination theory, though distinctly different in result.
Homeopathy is based on dilution and succession. Succession is rigorous shaking of a dilution, and many remedies are succussed at least 100 times, or timed for minutes of shaking by special machines. Because of the dilution process, which can be into the thousands and more, a main derogatory complaint of the system is 'there is no 'medicine' in the dilution'. This is valid, but 'the frequency remains'. Thus the concentration of a toxin could cure the same symptoms it would cause in apparent toxic doses. Homeopathic remedies are produced.in pellet, pill, liquid, salve and cream forms.
Example:1. The honey bee sting would be treated by a proper dilution of bee venom.(This homeopathic remedy is called Apis mellifica.)
Example 2. The onion remedy would stop a runny nose. (That homeopathic remedy is called Allium cepa.)
Example 3. Homeopathic Sulphur is great to help stop nasal allergy symptoms. (That remedy comes as Sulphur, and also as a combination with other elements for varied treatments needed. Many older persons may require this remedy.)
Note that mint, menthol, strong coffee, and other highly flavored products will slow or stop the inward action of a homeopathic remedy. The remedies are not known to cause interactions with standard medications or herbal preparations. An initial dose of a homeopathic remedy is often likely to cause an early response of slight heightening of apparent symptoms which quickly pass, and improvement is soon noted. This is defined as Herksheimer response and indicates a proper remedy WAS taken for the symptoms elicited and relieved.
Used for over 200 years, homeopathy has a distinctly remarkable safety record! WHO, the World Health Organization, has urged member states to "formulate national policies, regulations and standards...to promote ...safe and effective use of traditional medicine". This now appears to be waning in many member states.
The following listing of homeopathic remedies is basically those that are more active in viral cases. Remedies are 70% made from plants; others from animal products healthy or dis-eased; chemicals, minerals, and human sourced secretions, fungi, bacteria, pollens, molds and hormones.
Oscillococcinum: Best-selling natural remedy worldwide for flu symptoms, manufactured by Boiron.
All remedies containing Anas barbariae hepatis et cordis,, which describes the homeopathic extract of the wild Muscovy duck liver and heart. Wild Mallard, and other ducks are also used by some manufacturers.(Wild ducks are generally believed to be carriers of all known natural viruses, apparently unaffected by the multitude of that habitation. Swine are also believed to be highly inhabited with many natural viral components.)
All remedies containing influenzinum: Remedies made from actual viral component of varied known influenza types.
Hylands Flu: Has remedies for children and adult dosing against colds and flu.
Gelsemium sempervirens: Homeopathically produced from the common vine, yellow jasmine, which is a lovely Southern plant.
Melissa officinale: From Lemon balm herb, great for herpes control.
Belladonna: From deadly nightshade, a plant related to tomato, potato, eggplant.
Arsenicum album: Especially useful for the stomach problems of viral illness and also helpful in varied stomach distress, nausea, such as food poisoning.
Rus toxicodendron: Produced from the common poison ivy plant, useful for chills and fever, headache, anxious restlessness, stiffness and the itchy blistering rash of poison ivy contact.
Other common natural products to help keep yourself well and healthy.
Do you take a multi-vitamin/mineral? Do you eat nutritionally enough NOT to do so? Our physical body requires nourishing fuel for growth, maintenance, healing, and an ability to defeat the assault of germs, viruses, prions...any nasty 'bug', whether named, known or unknown. And we need pure water!
Vitamin C, A, D, Zinc, Copper, Selenium, and Iodine are present in a good vitamin/mineral product. These items are all necessary for immune system function to remain well. Water is vital, and when you feel thirsty, you are already close to dehydration level....minimal yes, but there. And...coffee, tea, cola are not 'water'!
Our two Master Cleansers, the kidneys, require that water along with sodium bicarbonate to function properly in neutralizing the acid response from eating proteins, sugars in our diet. They require even more water and sodium bicarbonate than usual to neutralize and remove any toxin ingested or absorbed. (Johns Hopkins University Medical Center has patented a treatment for slowing kidney failure simply by using sodium bicarbonate. You can find that patent online.)
Other common natural products to help us retain our healthy functionability might include the wonderful chicken soup, filled with onion, garlic, carrot, turmeric, oregano, cumin. That would be terrifically tasty and filled with delicious 'bug fighters'.
Something that is not as well known or perhaps practiced, is to reduce or preferably eliminate all sugars while fighting a cold or flu illness. Sugar is found to reduce the activity of our killer cells for as much as 4-6 hours after ingesting it. Bad news there, as many OTC cold medicines contain sugar and so do some prescription meds, particularly in children's liquids.
Monolaurin is an OTC product used against the 'kissing disease', mononucleosis, and it may be beneficial against other viral threats. It is derived from coconut.
An antique standby fighter is nano/colloidal silver, even though it has received negative accusation for causing 'blue blood disease'. An ultimately extreme amount of colloidal silver would have to be chronically ingested to cause this known condition, but prudent use causes no problem. It is usually taken orally, but is greatly and quickly helpful when nebulized against a viral or bacterial illness.
A last long-used but still considered a charlatan 'bug fighter,' is the use of certain electrical frequencies to kill or disable viral and bacterial enemies. Royal Rife (1888-1971) researched electrical frequencies to find the mortal oscillatory rate frequency of varied 'germs', and was able to see them vibrate themselves to death -i.e.- explode when their specific frequency was magnified to them. He developed a vast knowledge of specific frequency/germ MOR but his findings were basically removed from use by orthodox powers before they became widely accepted medical practice. There are still a few "researchers' attempting to enlarge the use and knowledge of his findings. One of these experimenters, Bob Beck was a non-medical recent researcher using electrical frequencies somewhat similar to what Rife found, and developed small units to treat infection successfully. Those units may be researched and DIY made.(He died 2002 after a fall.)
Gratefully now, in recent news, there are researchers in California who have again identified specific electrical frequencies that kill cancer cells and leave healthy cells untargeted. Research is new and ongoing, but perhaps the forsaken knowledge of Royal Rife will combine with the advances of current technology...and vastly needed harmless viral killers will become soon usable, available to us all..
Good reading on HubPages about these complementary natural treatments
There is an excellent informative article about Oscillococcinum Remedy for Flu by Debby Bruck.