There are a wide variety of herbs that can be used to boost immunity and ward off viruses and infections!
What is a virus?
A virus is a small infectious agent that can only replicate inside the living cells of other organisms. Viruses can infect all types of life forms including humans, animals, plants, microorganisms, and bacteria. Viruses are found in almost every ecosystem on Earth, and they are the most abundant type of biological entity. Viruses carry genetic material, reproduce, and evolve through natural selection; however, they lack cell structure that is needed to be considered a living thing.
Viruses have a lifecycle:
•The virus enters the host and binds with a cell in the respiratory tract.
•The surface proteins of the virus bind to receptors like a lock and key.
•The virus enters the cell & infects it.
How does a virus spread?
There are many ways that a virus can spread. In animals, a virus is carried by blood-sucking insects. In humans, viruses are spread by coughing and sneezing, by the fecal–oral route, which is a result of poor sanitation, by person-to-person contact, or by entering the body through food and water. The scary thing about contracting a virus is that antibiotics do not work, and some viruses evade vaccine-induced immune responses and result in chronic infections.
There are currently limited studies on Coronavirus, therefore, we have to use the influenza virus as a reference on the best way to deal with it. The first line of defense should always be regular and thorough hand washing, not touching the face, and social distancing when appropriate.
What Are Antiviral Herbs?
Antiviral herbs inhibit the development of viruses. Many of the best antiviral herbs boost the immune system, which allows the body to attack viral pathogens. Antiviral herbs also fight viral infections, work as flu natural remedies, support the cardiovascular and digestive systems, and act as an anti-inflammatory.
Certain phytochemicals found in herbs and essential oils have been shown to disrupt the viral lifecycle at different stages. The virus must have a host to replicate. It can live on surfaces from approximately 3 hours to 3 days depending on the type of surface, but it will eventually die if it doesn't find a host. Viruses live longer on hard surfaces such as metal and plastic than they do on fabrics and soft surfaces. The virus may also be spread by airborne droplets which have landed and live in the environment waiting to be picked up and transferred to a live host.
Antiviral herbs like astragalus, echinacea, elderberry, garlic, ginger, lemon balm, licorice, Reishi mushrooms, rosehips, pineapple sage, thyme, turkey tail mushrooms, and turmeric have a high concentration of potent plant compounds and are ideal for battling viral infections.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus): an Adaptogenic herb that helps protect the body against diseases such as cancer and diabetes. It contains antioxidants, which protect cells against damage. Astragalus is used to protect and support the immune system, preventing colds and upper respiratory infections, lowering blood pressure, treating diabetes, and protecting the liver. Astragalus has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties, and it stimulates the immune system, helping to prevent colds and flu. Astragalus is also a mild diuretic that helps rid the body of excess fluid.
Echinacea: (Echinacea purpurea): Echinacea can help to boost immunity and fight off colds and flu. Echinacea Root is well known as one of the most powerful immune system builders and stimulators.
Echinacea works by first enhancing the quantity of immune cells in the body, and then by stimulating them to action. The benefits of Echinacea include shortened cold & flu duration, prevention of future illnesses and infections, and speeding recovery from chronic disease.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): The berry has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and immune stimulant actions. The flower has alterative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, and nervine actions. Elderberry is commonly used to address colds and flu with a specific indication for inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, including hay fever, sinusitis, and tonsillitis. Elderberry is an ideal herb to use at the onset of a cold or the flu or after a virus has already taken root. Elderflower helps clear signs of heat in the respiratory system and promotes sweating. Heat signs include coughing, wheezing, nasal discharge, sinus congestion, sore throat, chills, and fever. It helps reduce excessive amounts of mucus and restore the mucosa to moderate levels. This is one of the reasons elderflowers are used for both acute and chronic forms of bronchitis.
Studies show that elderberry has a potent antiviral effect against viruses. It inhibits the early stages of an infection by blocking the viral attachment and entry into the host cells. The phytochemicals found in elderberries are effective at stopping the virus from infecting the cells, and inhibiting viral growth after cells are already infected, making it an excellent antiviral herb that both blocks the viral cycle at several stages, and inhibits the viral infection overall.
Garlic (Allium sativum): used for at least 5,000 years as a food and an herb, garlic’s strong odor and pungency, and its primary constituent, allicin, has proven effects on the cardiovascular system, infections, the respiratory system, and blood sugar.
An immune system stimulant, diaphoretic, expectorant, and antimicrobial, raw garlic cloves are used to support the body’s response to respiratory conditions in the winter months. Garlic can ease some of the discomforts of a cold through its anti-inflammatory action, as well as shorten its duration by stimulating the immune system, thinning mucus, and throwing off a fever. compost or other rich organic matter into the native soil. Provide with consistent moisture and water when the top inch becomes dry.
Ginger Root: (Zingiber officinale): contains the compounds gingerol and shogaol that help fight off a cold because they can lower a fever, reduce pain, and suppress a cough. These compounds have a warming effect, which is believed to help with cold symptoms.
Ginger Root keeps the body warm, while also helping it body sweat and get rid of infections. Other traditional medical uses for ginger root include treating muscle and joint pain, cold and flu symptoms, stomach pain, menstrual cramps, and skin burns.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): a cooling and drying antiviral and nervine herb with a strong lemony smell and a milder and pleasant lemony flavor. This popular mint family plant produces thick beds of fragrant leaves that emit a delightful scent that permeates the garden.
Lemon Balm inhibits the growth of virus and is especially effective against the herpes virus that causes cold sores.
Lemon Balm makes a delicious tea, either from fresh or dried leaves, and a tasty, infused honey.
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra): may slow the progression of chronic bronchitis associated in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Studies show that the glycyrrhizin, Asiatic, and oleanolic acids found in licorice root have an antioxidant effect that is protective of the cells of the bronchi in the lungs. This suggests that licorice root may help slow, rather than stop or reverse, the progression of COPD when used with standard medical treatments.
Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum): is an adaptogen that helps to strengthen the body’s defenses against infections. It helps to bring the body back to homeostasis and regulate immune function.
Reishi contains two powerful compounds, polysaccharides and triterpenes, which are known for their ability to enhance the immune response and reduce inflammation. Studies show the antiviral effects of Reishi phytochemicals are able to block the absorption of a virus to the cells.
Rosehips (Rosa rugosa): Rosehips are the fruits found on the Sweet Hips Rose. They are the most bioidentical and bioavailable form of vitamin C that can be found. They are also high in vitamin A, Calcium, & Zinc which can help prevent many chronic diseases, boost immunity, and help ease the pain of menstrual cramps. Rosehip tea has a tart, fruity flavor and is packed full of nutrients that help ward off colds and flu.
Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans): Pineapple sage has the sweet taste of pineapple combined with the earthy flavor of sage. It has Adaptogenic, antioxidant, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, antimicrobial, diuretic, stimulant, and expectorant properties. It is also a good source of vitamin A and Vitamin K. Pineapple Sage relieves Anxiety, lowers blood pressure, eases mental fatigue, stress, and depression.
Thyme Leaf: (Thymus vulgaris): With its antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antispasmodic, expectorant, and astringent effects, thyme is great for respiratory infections and coughs. It is also good for the stomach and relieves gas.
Thyme leaf fights agents that cause bronchitis, helps to subdue coughs, soothes a sore throat, and relaxes bronchial muscles. Thyme leaf relieves cough by relaxing muscles involved in coughing, thins mucus, making it easier to expel, decreases mucus associated with allergies and upper and lower airway infections, and reduces inflammation in the airways.
Turkey Tail Mushroom (Trametes versicolor): is well-known for its ability to stimulate immune function. It contains polysaccharides that have immune-boosting power when consumed. The phytochemicals found in Turkey Tail have immune-modulating effects that increase antiviral cytokines and have modest effects on virus growth factors.
Studies show that turkey tail is effective against an oral strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV). When it is used in combination with Reishi the results improve in 88 percent of patients.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa): This flavor-filled spice is primarily cultivated from the rhizomes of a flowering plant in India and other parts of Southeast Asia. It gives curry its vibrant yellow color, and is also known for having potent antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
The primary active component of turmeric, and the one that gives the spice its yellow color, is curcumin. Curcumin is an antiviral, and a natural antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory benefits, slows the aging process, prevents Alzheimer’s Disease, eliminates certain strains of virus, and eases the symptoms of depression.