Antiviral Herbs to Keep You Healthy
There are herbs and natural ingredients that you can take advantage of to strengthen your immune system.
There are many signs that can be symptoms of a viral infection: cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, and difficulty breathing are some of them. Unlike bacterial diseases, virals cannot be treated with antibiotics and, in general, must be transited until they are self-limiting. However, there are some antiviral herbs that can help prevent and even speed up the healing process when we have a viral infection.
There are no specific medical treatments for viruses: Antiviral medications can lessen the severity of symptoms but do not stop the virus. But optimizing defenses with herbs and natural foods can go a long way these days.
According to experts, the best defense against all infections is a healthy immune system and carry out the preventive measures recommended by doctors. Some foods that can help (but not cure, we emphasize this) are:
- Ginger: It has many active compounds, including phenols, terpenes, and organic acids. Ginger has been shown to prevent the growth of viruses (as well as bacteria and fungi). You can use fresh or powdered ginger and add it to smoothies, soups, or drink it as tea.
- Elderberry: It is known as an antiviral herb and they say it is very good for flu symptoms. In a study published in the Journal of Functional Food, it was found that elderberry extract “showed a mild inhibitory effect in the early stages of the influenza virus cycle, with a considerably stronger effect in the post-infection phase.” It also has expectorant properties.
- Turmeric: Curcumin impairs the virus’s ability to infect cells, reducing the virus’s ability to replicate. It can be cooked with turmeric (if combined with black pepper it improves absorption).
- Oregano Oil: Carvacrol is one of the main active components in oregano oil and is considered by many to be a natural antiviral, as it reduces the virus’s ability to infect its host, according to data from the American Society for Microbiology. Thymol, another main component of oregano oil, also has antiviral qualities. Plus, it helps fight inflammation, a hallmark of viral infections and allergies.
- Peppermint: Peppermint is an herb recognized for its antiviral properties. It contains more than 40 compounds, such as flavonoids, polyphenols, and tocopherols, which play an important role in health care.
- Garlic: Garlic has been used as a therapeutic medicinal plant for centuries. It has several health benefits, including antimicrobial activity. A study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine indicates that garlic extract also shows antiviral activity against various types of viruses, such as influenza and rhinovirus.