With current events, people are searching for ways to treat viral infections using herbs, nutrients, and other healing modalities. While viruses do pose a threat to health, nature has provided us with highly effective antivirals that have been proven to be effective in treating several different viruses. In this article, I will be discussing natural antivirals for treating:
- Influenza (Flu)
- Rhinovirus (Common cold)
It should be noted that while these antivirals are effective, they must be used correctly. Simply buying a supplement and taking the “recommended dose” does not qualify as using them correctly. Also, due to a lack of regulation, not all supplements are useful. When it comes to herb and nutrients, one should always get their information, sources, and doses as per their personal needs from a professional.
(For HIV, HPV, Common Cold)
Zinc is an essential trace mineral needed for various functions in the body such as regulating immune function, supporting the healing of wounds, DNA synthesis, enzymatic functions, hormone regulation, blood sugar regulation, and heart function. It is found in foods such as red meat, liver, salmon, shellfish, poultry, sardine, eggs, mushrooms, kale, dairy, lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans.
In clinical trials, Zinc has been found to be effective in achieving the complete clearance of warts in patients with HPV infections (1), preventing HIV related immunological failure (2), and reducing the duration of the common cold (3).
(For Influenza, Common Cold)
Elderberry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants worldwide. It is a well known herbal treatment option for the Flu and is used in a common herbal OTC drug sold throughout the USA known as Sambucol. The antioxidant-rich berry is a potent anti-influenza agent.
In clinical trials, Elderberry has been found effective in treating both Influenza Type A & B (4). It was able to reduce the duration and severity of influenza symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, and nasal congestion (5). It has also been found to be effective in reducing the duration and severity of the common cold (6).
Neem is an Ayurvedic herb with various medicinal benefits – many of which have been proven in clinical research. Neem is commonly used for treating skin disorders such as eczema, head lice, and non-healing diabetic wounds; gastrointestinal issues such as duodenal ulcers; oral disorders such as gingivitis; and infections. It is also showing promise in experimental research as a potent anti-cancer agent.
Neem has also been proven to be highly effective in treating HIV by improving CD4 cell counts and body weight (7).
(For Hepatitis C)
Also known as Nigella Sativa, Black Seed is a potent herbal medicine that has multiple uses. It’s used in various natural medical sciences such as Persian medicine and Ayurveda for treating several disorders. Its been proven to treat Hepatitis C as well as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Diabetes Type 2, Asthma, Allergies, Hypertension, and Hypercholesterolemia.
In clinical trials, Nigella Sativa was found to be beneficial in reducing viral loads in patients with Hepatitis C (8). When combined with Ginger, it appears to work better at reducing viral load and alleviating altered liver function (9).
(For Influenza, Common Cold, Viral Hepatitis, HIV)
Known as Kalmegh in Ayurveda, this herb is one of the best tools for helping fight off infections in patients with autoimmune conditions. Patients with autoimmune disorders cant risk enhancing their immune systems as their disorders come from self-targeting immune function. Therefore, these patients are usually put on immuno-suppressant drugs which unfortunately puts them at a higher risk for acquiring infections. The interesting thing about Andrographis Paniculata is that it is found to be highly effective in treating multiple autoimmune conditions as well as infections.
Turkey Tail & Reishi
Turkey Tail and Reishi are medicinal mushrooms with powerful medicinal properties. They both contain prebiotic content that supports gut health along with antioxidant potential. Reishi mushrooms have also been found to improve fatigue, depression, and HDL cholesterol levels. Both of them have proven to be useful in boosting immune function via an increase in natural killer cells (Reishi) and lymphocyte count (Turkey Tail). They are also known for their ability to fight cancer as well as enhance the efficacy of cancer treatments. The immune-boosting benefits are a boon for fighting off infections including viruses.
For example, in clinical research, the combination of Turkey Tail and Reishi resulted in a 88% clearance in patients with HPV (14)
Lysine is an essential amino acid that plays a role in various physiological functions such as growth, transportation of fats to be used for energy, preventing the loss of calcium, and improving wound healing. Correcting Lysine deficiencies have also been linked to improved blood pressure. Lysine is found in high protein foods (since it is a part of protein) such as red meat, poultry, salmon, tuna, dairy, kidney beans, chickpeas, macadamia, pumpkin seeds, cashews, avocado, and potatoes.
In the case of Herpes Simplex, Lysine has been proven to reduce occurrence, severity, and healing time in patients with recurrent HSV infections (15).
(For Viral Encephalitis & Viral Hepatitis)
Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, is an Ayurvedic medicinal herb that has been used for the purpose of fighting off infection for centuries. It also possesses potent anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial, anti-cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, and anti-viral properties. It has been studied extensively in treating metabolic syndrome, Diabetes, Gout, Stress and several infections. It has also been used for the purpose of boosting immune function and in one study was found to significantly increase the number of T-cells, B-cells, Interferons and Natural killer cells in healthy individuals.
In clinical trials, Tulsi was found to be highly effective in fighting viral encephalitis and viral hepatitis (16).
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(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
by Dr. Nishal R.
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