Antiviral herbs


Several herbs have proposed antiviral activity and may aid in prevention of viral infections. More than 400 different viruses are known to cause infections including the common cold, hepatitis, mononucleosis, avian bird flu, and AIDS. Once infected with a virus, little can be done within the limits of contemporary western medicine to treat presenting symptoms. Certain medications may shorten the duration of an illness caused by a virus, or may decrease the severity of symptoms, but they are generally expensive and not readily available. Many people choose to have an annual influenza vaccination, or flu shot, but this is only 80% effective due to mutating strains of the influenza virus. Antibiotics such as penicillin and azithromycin are not effective in killing viruses, and should only be used to treat infections caused by susceptible bacteria.
Attempts have been made to isolate herbal agents that are thought to possess antiviral activity. Herbal preparations that strengthen the immune system may help the body fight off invading viruses that could otherwise cause infection, and are of particular interest to the scientific community.
Current research shows promise for arabinoxylan, a compound derived from Hyphomycetes mycelia mushroom, as an antiviral agent. Echinacea purpura has also gained mainstream acceptance for use in preventing and reducing the severity of the common cold, but scientific research has yet to provide conclusive evidence regarding efficacy.
Other herbals and immune supporters that may offer protection against viruses include but are not limited to: astragalus, Siberian ginseng, garlic, coenzyme Q10, DMG (dimethlyglycine), andrographis, cat's claw, cloves, elderberry, ginger, lemon balm, licorice, olive leaf, oregano, shiitake and reishi mushrooms, St. John's wort, resveratrol, scullcap, N-acetyl-cysteine, green tea, propolis, cranberry, and mullein.

Related Terms

Allium sativum, apple juice, Andrographis paniculata, arabinoxylan, astragalus, avian flu, bird flu, cat's claw, cloves, coenzyme Q10, cranberry, echinacea, Echinacea purpura, elderberry, forsythia, Forsythia suspense, honeysuckle, garlic, ginger, ginseng, Glycyrrhiza glabra, grape seed extract (GSE), green tea, infection, influenza, Isatis tinctora,lemon balm, leptotaenia, Leptotaenia dissecta Nutt., licorice, Lonicera japonica, mullein, N-acetyl-cysteine, Olea europea,olive leaf, propolis, reishi, resveratrol, Sambucas nigra L., schizandra, Schizandra chinensis,scullcap, shiitake,Siberian ginseng, St. John's wort, vitamin e.