5 Antiviral Herbs

5 Antiviral Herbs

Viral infections are unfortunately very common all over the world, and at least one type is experienced by most of us over our lifetime: influenza. Other well-known viruses include chicken pox, herpes, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and mumps. These kinds of conditions are different from bacterial infections in that viruses have an external wall (known as the viral envelope), which is nearly identical to that of the cells in the body in which they exist. This makes it difficult for them to be isolated and targeted by medication.

Viral infections can be combated by vaccinations and some prescribed drugs. Alternatively, the following herbs with antiviral properties can help.

1. Acacia

This unique tree is native to warm climates, and has long been valued for its medicinal prowess. Some of the more traditional preparations are a decoction or tea, both of which are still frequently suggested by herbalists for the treatment of internal viral infections. In this form, acacia has been known to remedy sore throats and toothache. In addition to this, recent studies have revealed that solutions of acacia can be significant in treating hepatitis C.

2. Marigold

A bright, and pretty flower, marigold is grown all over the world as an attractive feature in gardens and parks, as well as naturally occurring in the wild. This simple plant contains several compounds that are useful to the human body for a number of reasons, including for impeding the effects of viruses. Specifically, extract of the root has been tested, which has revealed its activity against HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus), an infection causing cold sores and genital herpes. To treat these afflictions, application of an ointment or poultice of marigold is recommended.

3. Oat

Advocates of natural health products suggest creams and face masks derived from oats for various skincare regimens. The properties of the plant are said to have the capacity to clean skin, treat acne, and moisturize. Additionally, these products are usually suitable for use on sensitive skin due to the anti-inflammatory nature of oats. When used dermatologically, their antiviral activity can be employed for clearing topical infections such as chicken pox or MC (molluscum contagiosum), which are particularly common in children, but can affect people of all ages.

4. Pomegranate

Not only are pomegranates a delicious, flavorful fruit, but they also boast a plethora of medicinal properties that can support health and well-being. With regards to antiviral treatments, various preparations - such as pure pomegranate juice, powder, and capsules - are prescribed for herpes, flu, norovirus, and HIV. The tannins and polyphenols found in the fruits are responsible for this action.

5. Licorice

Love it or hate it, licorice can be found in supermarkets all over the world, and it is consumed as a sweet treat as well as used as a flavoring in various culinary creations. This unique plant contains a compound known as glycyrrhizin, which not only gives its sweet taste, but also provides antiviral activity. Studies have shown that extract of licorice can be taken to help counter the effects of influenza, herpes, HIV, and SARS coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome).  For medicinal purposes, popular forms of intake include tea, tincture, and powder.

These are just five natural herbs that can be used to counter viral infections; they can be convenient for treatments due to their wide availability and low cost. If you are suffering from a serious virus, it is advised that you speak with a doctor to determine the relevant treatments, especially if the symptoms last for more than a few days after administering a natural remedy.

Bibliography

  • MedlinePlus Herbs and Supplements, Viral Infections
  • Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, The Pomegranate: Effects on Bacteria and Viruses That Influence Human Health, 2013
  • Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, Time-dependent effects of pomegranate juice and pomegranate polyphenols on foodborne viral reduction, 2011
  • Virology Journal, Antiviral activity of Acacia nilotica against Hepatitis C Virus in liver infected cells, 2011
  • Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, 2012, Oatmeal in dermatology: A brief review
  • World Journal of Gastroenterology, Medicinal plants against hepatitis C virus, 2014
  • National Health Service, Molluscum Contagiosum
  • British Broadcasting Corporation, Why can’t we beat viruses?
  • Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, Antiviral activity of root extracts from Tagetes minuta against Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), 2004