Antiviral herbs to boost immune system & fight infection
Many people choose to have an annual influenza vaccination, or flu shot, but this is only 80% effective because of the mutating strains of the influenza virus. Luckily, there are a lot of powerful antiviral herbs that boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and fight infections. Antiviral herbs inhibit the development of viruses. You can use them to treat infections without caution because they’re absolutely harmless and usually cause no or few side effects. Many antiviral herbs boost the immune system, which allows the body to attack viral pathogens. But antiviral herbs not only combat viral infections, boost the immune system and work as flu natural remedies, they also have a lot of other health benefits, such as cardiovascular, digestive and anti-inflammatory support.
Here are 10 best antiviral herbs for you to try.
Elderberry successfully fights infections like influenza, herpes, viral and bacterial infections. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, elderberry can be used as a safe treatment for influenza A and B. You can use every part of elderberry – flowers, bark, roots or leaves. They all have amazing health benefits.
Regular use of echinacea gives great benefits for the immune system and overall health. According to many studies, phytochemicals in echinacea have the capacity to reduce virus infections and tumors. This powerful herb contains a compound called echinacein that inhibits bacteria and viruses from penetrating healthy cells. So using echinacea significantly reduces the chances of contracting any type of infection. Echinacea have a lot more health benefits: it’s able to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, improve skin problems, treat upper respiratory issues and improve mental health.
This antiviral herb contains high amounts of flavonoids, which are plant-based antioxidants that protect cells from being damaged by free radicals. It also fights viruses, inflammation and bacteria. The dried petals of calendula are used in tinctures, ointments and washes to treat infections, burns, wounds and heal cuts fast. Ear drops containing calendula are sometimes used to treat ear infections in children.
Experiments have shown that garlic, thanks to a specific chemical compounds found in it, is highly effective at killing many microorganisms responsible for some of the most common and rarest infections, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, thrush and herpes. Due to its antiviral properties, garlic can be used to treat eye infections and as a natural ear infection remedy. Raw garlic has a lot of other health benefits including its ability to reduce the risk of cancer, control hypertension, boost cardiovascular health and fight hair loss.
5. Licorice root
Licorice is used for treatment and prevention diseases like hepatitis C, HIV and influenza. The antiviral activity of licorice root due to its triterpenoid content has been confirmed in a review published in the Chinese Journal of Virology. Licorice also has antioxidant, free radical-scavenging and immunostimulating effects.
6. Cat’s claw
South Americans have been using the bark and root of cat’s claw for centuries to treat health problems including fevers, stomach ulcers, digestive conditions and dysentery. Cat’s claw is a natural arthritis remedy and treats ulcer symptoms, has antiviral properties, and it’s used as a herpes natural cure as well. This powerful herb is also anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. It’s used to treat digestive problems such as ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and leaky gut syndrome.
Ginger root has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for many centuries. It’s well known for its ability to boost the immune system. Ginger is very effective at warming the body, so it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs, which make you susceptible to viral, fungal and bacterial infections. It can also cleanse the lymphatic system – our body’s sewage system. Ginger is used as a natural remedy for nausea, pain alleviation, has anti-inflammatory properties and improves diabetes.
8. Astragalus root
Astragalus root is very powerful antiviral herb, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Mostly it’s known for boosting the immune system. According to many scientific studies, astragalus has antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system, so it may help prevent the common cold or flu. Astragalus also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is used on the skin for healing wounds. It’s also one the 7 adaptogen herbs to lower cortisol.
9. Olive leaf
The olive leaf also has antiviral properties, so it’s able to treat the common cold and dangerous viruses, including candida symptoms, meningitis, pneumonia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hepatitis B, malaria, gonorrhea and tuberculosis. It also treats dental, ear and urinary tract infections and is a natural treatment for shingles. According to research, olive leaf extracts effectively fight against a number of disease-causing microbes, including some viruses that cause influenza and other respiratory infections. The powerful compounds found in olive leaves destroy invading organisms and don’t allow viruses to replicate and cause an infection. In addition, a study conducted at the New York University School of Medicine showed that olive leaf extracts reversed many HIV-1 infection-associated changes.
Health benefits of oregano oil are proving to be superior to some antibiotics, without their harmful side effects. Oregano contains two powerful compounds, carvacrol and thymol, that have powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. Carvacrol reverses viral infections, as well as allergies, tumors, parasites and disease-causing inflammation. Over 800 scientific studies confirmed amazing health benefits of carvacrol.
How to use antiviral herbs
Antiviral herbs can be used in the forms of tea, infusion, home-made herbal-infused oil, or essential oils.
Possible side effects & interactions of antiviral herbs
Infusions and essential oils are extremely potent, so don’t take them for a long period of time. Don’t consume these natural remedies for more than two weeks. And it’s important to give yourself a break between long doses. Be careful of using essential oils during pregnancy, consult with your doctor first. Remember that some of these antiviral herbs interact with medications, so read up on an herb before you begin consuming its extract or essential oil.