Viruses and other pathogens have roamed the earth longer than any vaccine or medicinal drug has. Before the time of antibiotics and antivirals, all our ancestors had to rely on was mother nature and a dash of luck. Traditional healers used a blend of plants, herbs, and spices to fight infections, curb nausea, treat wounds, and alleviate pain. However, only a few of those plants and herbs have successfully earned their rightful place in modern-day medicine.
While there is no doubt that treatments like vaccines, antivirals, and antibiotics are far more effective at fighting more serious infections, it is still a good idea to incorporate healthy herbs into your diet to help you build a strong immune system and improve your defenses against these harmful pathogens before they become a major problem. Prevention is always better than cure after all.
If you are looking for a way to keep seasonal colds, flu, and other viral bugs at bay, here are a few of the best antiviral herbs to keep on hand. Many of these are found in Approved Science® Immune Booster to bolster your immunity and keep you protected!
There is a very good reason why ginger features in most natural cold and flu remedies. Whether it is a lozenge, tea, or cough mixture, ginger is usually the featured ingredient. Ginger is extremely rich in potent plant compounds such as gingerols and zingerone, which have shown promise in inhibiting the activity of certain viruses.
Research has shown that these two compounds prevent viruses from entering the cells and multiplying. Test tube studies have also revealed that ginger has a significant effect on common viruses such as feline calicivirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and avian influenza.
When it comes to stomach bugs, ginger is beneficial for relieving symptoms such as indigestion and nausea. Eating a few raw slithers of ginger can also help protect against foodborne illnesses such as listeria and salmonella.
Echinacea is a plant that forms part of the daisy family. The flowers, stems, roots, and leaves have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a wide variety of ailments. Today, Echinacea is still just as popular and is used in a wide variety of cold and flu products. Studies have shown that drinking Echinacea tea regularly reduces the risk of developing a cold or flu by almost 58%.
Additionally, the research also shows that if you have developed a cold, Echinacea helps to shorten the duration of symptoms. While Echinacea does prove to be beneficial in the fight against some influenza strains, it is still highly recommended to get a flu vaccine. In fact, studies show that taking Echinacea regularly can enhance the overall effectiveness of the flu vaccine.
Oregano is great at making pizzas and pasta pop, but it is even better at deactivating viral activity in harmful pathogens due to its carvacrol content. Eating oregano regularly has been shown to have positive antiviral effects against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV); rotavirus, which causes diarrhea in younger children; and herpes simplex virus type I infections. In addition to fighting off these infections, oregano also has a significant impact on murine norovirus, the common cause for stomach flu. Studies show that oregano curbed the activity of the murine norovirus in just 15 minutes after exposure.
Much like Echinacea, black elderberries also have a long-standing reputation for keeping colds and flu at bay. The black elderberry is loaded with anthocyanins – antioxidant compounds that give fruits their rich purple coloring, vitamin A, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, potassium, zinc, and folate.
The compounds found in this plant are especially beneficial for fighting helicobacter pylori sinus infections, the H1N1 and H5N1 influenza strains, and reducing inflammation. Elderberry also acts as a fantastic immune modulator, which means that it regulates, restores, and improves immune function when foreign pathogens invade.
Garlic’s antiviral properties are just as potent as its smell. The pungent herb has been used for thousands of years to fight off viral and bacterial infections. Modern-day medicine has found that garlic can be helpful for eliminating warts caused by the human papillomavirus in just a few weeks when applied directly to warts. Garlic also has antiviral effects against other strains of viruses such as the rhinovirus, influenza A and B, viral pneumonia, and herpes simplex virus 1.
It is suggested that garlic works by strengthening our immune response and promoting the production of various immune cells that help protect and fight off pathogens that enter the body.
Both the American and Korean ginseng root is a great antiviral herb to keep on hand when inflammation and viral infections strike. You may recognize this herb as an ingredient to boost energy in sports drinks and energy bars, but it is packed with various plant compounds that do more for your body and brain than you think.
The plant compounds found in the Korean red ginseng variety has shown to have a significant effect on inhibiting the activity of viruses that cause herpes and hepatitis A. Research has also shown that specific compounds known as ginsenosides are particularly effective against norovirus, hepatitis B, and coxsackieviruses, which are all known to cause dangerous infections such as meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Turmeric is a pantry and medicine cabinet essential. This golden herb has proven itself in both traditional and modern-day medicine time and time again. The potent compounds in the herb called curcumin contain antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. This is why Turmeric MD™ continues to be one of our top-selling products.
Research has found that turmeric has a significant effect on inhibiting the activity of several viruses including human influenza strains as well as mosquito-borne infections like the dengue, zika, and chikungunya diseases.
Based on the evidence from this research, scientists have also found that turmeric also helps to curb the infectivity of vesicular stomatitis virus, which is part of the same family of viruses that cause rabies in both animals and humans.
There are a few types of basil that are widely available in most stores, but sweet and holy basil are the herbs you want to keep in your kitchen when you need a quick immune boost against bacteria and viral infections.
According to research, sweet basil is rich in ursolic acid and apigenin, two plant compounds that act as potent antivirals against infections like herpes, enterovirus, and hepatitis B. Holy basil also helps to fight off foreign invaders by increasing the production of immune cells that help fight off these microbes and prevent them from multiplying in the cells.
Your diet and immune system are always the first lines of defense against bacterial and viral infections. The stronger your immune system is, the better it is at fighting off nasty invaders. By adding a few of these healthy herbs to your diet, you will be able to reap all the immune-boosting and antiviral properties they have to offer. And the best part is that these herbs are extremely versatile, they enhance the flavor of most meals, and are widely available in most supermarkets.
While these foods are incredibly healthy and a great way to get those immune cells firing, they are by no means a replacement for vaccines, antivirals, and antibiotics that help treat and eradicate infectious diseases that cause serious health implications.