Significance: Antiviral Medicinal Herbs
For a very long time, we have been using ayurvedic natural herbs in different forms like painkillers, antiviral herbs (herbs that kill viruses) or treatments of various types of illnesses. Many herbs have their potent plant compound in a high concentration that helps them to act as effective natural antiviral herbs and are prescribed by many medical practitioners. Impressive Herbs’ with antiviral and other medicinal properties are a very vast subject. Many of the herbs are still untouched. Researchers are continuously finding out surprising facts and health benefits of many herbs with antiviral properties. Here are 10 most effective and best antiviral herbs:
List and Uses of Antiviral Herbs
Presence of high concentration of plant potent compound Carvacrol in mint family herb Oregano makes it one of the most effective antiviral herbs. Oregano oil antiviral effects are accompanied by anti-inflammatory properties. This herb is effective against the following viruses.
MNV and Human Norovirus: Oregano starts deactivating Murine Norovirus (MNV) within 15 minutes of Exposure. MNV is similar to Human Norovirus and the primary cause of stomach flu in humans.
Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1)
Rotavirus: It causes diarrhea in infants and children.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): It causes infections of the respiratory framework. Because of Oregano’s RSV combat properties, it is also called as the antiviral herb for lungs.
Sage is an aromatic herb which is commonly used for treating viral illnesses and infections. Sage has its antiviral properties due to plant compounds called safficinolide and Sage one. These are present in the leaves and stem of the herb. These are antiviral herbs for herpes. Research on this effective antiviral herb showed its combat properties against:
Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1)
Human Immunodeficiency Virus: Few researches showed that Sage herb can fight human immunodeficiency virus type-1 the initial cause of Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Indiana Vesiculovirus: It infects farm animals like cows, pigs and horses.
Different varieties of Basil along with sweet and holy types have shown great effectiveness in fighting viral infections. This herb has plant compounds like apigenin and Ursolic acid which gives it potent antiviral properties. Tulsi, a holy basil, is very effective in increasing immunity against viruses. A study of 4week was done by supplementing 24 healthy adults with 300 mg of holy basil (Tulsi) extract. This resulted in a significant increase in helper T-Cells and Natural Killer cells, both of which are immunity cells and defend the body against viruses. Many varieties of Basil can fight against:
- Herpes Virus
- Hepatitis B
Researches have shown that, Fennel also known as “Saunf”, an aromatic licorice-flavored herb, has certain antiviral properties due to the presence of trans-anethole, the main component of fennel essential oil. A test tube study conducted showing extracts of fennel exhibiting strong antiviral properties against Herpes Virus and also effective against Parainfluenza Virus Type-3 (PI-3) which causes severe respiratory ailments and infections. Animal researchers have also found fennel to be useful in decreasing inflammation and boosting the immune system in turn fighting viral infections in animals.
- Herpes Virus
- Parainfluenza Virus Type-3 (PI-3)
In India, Garlic is a very common natural remedy for a wide range of conditions, which include viral infections. Plant potent compounds like allicin, diallyl trisulfide and ajoene provide antiviral property to garlic. It is an antiviral herb for HPV. A study in which garlic extract was applied on affected areas of 23 Adults suffering from warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) showed eliminations of warts in all 23 subjects within 1-2 weeks. Also some ongoing studies show galic’s antiviral properties against HIV, Viral Pneumonia, rhinovirus, influenza A&B and HSV-1. However it’s still at research level.
As per Animal studies, garlic showed properties of stimulating the protective immune cells against virus and hence increasing effectiveness in immune response time.
- Lemon balm
The Lemony plant that’s commonly used in teas and seasonings is the Lemon balm herb. It’s well known for its medicinal properties. Due to the presence of hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives, particularly rosmarinic acid makes it an effective antiviral herb..
Studies show that it has antiviral effects against avian influenza (bird flu), herpes viruses, HIV-1.
It can also be effective against enterovirus 71, which causes severe infections in infants and children.
Peppermint commonly used as an additive in teas, extracts, and tinctures meant for naturally treating viral infections. Its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties come from plant compounds menthol and rosmarinic acid present in its leaves and essential oils.
Some researches show that the leaf extract of peppermint possesses antiviral properties against Respiratory Syncytial Virus(RSV)
Rosemary has numerous plant compounds, including oleanolic acid and hence used for therapeutic applications.
Oleanolic acid has displayed antiviral activity against herpes viruses, HIV, influenza, and hepatitis in animals. It has also demonstrated antiviral effects against hepatitis A, which affects the liver.
Echinacea is a most commonly used ingredient in ayurvedic herbal medicines. It has multiple impressive health-promoting properties. Basically its flowers, leaves, and roots, are used for natural antiviral remedies. In fact, Echinacea purpurea is a variety of herb that has cone-shaped flowers. It was used by Native Americans to treat many health ailments including viral infections. Several studies show that a certain variety of echinacea, including E. pallida, E. angustifolia, and E. purpurea, are very effective in fighting with viral infections like herpes and influenza. E. purpurea is believed to have immune-boosting properties as well which makes it very useful for treating viral infections.
Sambucus belongs to the Adoxaceae family of plants also called elder. A variety of products, such as elixirs and pills are made from elderberries. These are effective in treating viral infections like the flu and common cold. A study conducted on mice revealed that concentrated elderberry juice suppresses influenza virus replication and stimulates immune system response. Also there were 4 studies conducted in 180 people where elderberry supplements substantially reduced the upper respiratory symptoms caused by viral infections.
Apart from the above mentioned herbs, there are few more which can are close to this category:
Ginger products are popular natural remedies such as elixirs, teas, and lozenges. It has impressive antiviral properties due to its high concentration of potent plant compounds such as gingerols and zingerone which have properties of inhibiting viral replication. Test Tube studies and few researches showed that ginger has antiviral effects againstBird influenza, RSV and feline calici virus which is similar to human norovirus.
Ginseng commonly known as ashwagandha has plant potent compounds called ginsenosides which have antiviral effects against hepatitis B and Norovirus.
It is also effective against coxsackieviruses, which are associated with several diseases including an infection of the brain called meningoencephalitis. Some test tube studies also showed its effects against herpes, hepatitis A and RSV.
These are basically weeds and are under research for their many useful medicinal properties like effective antiviral effects. Initial researches show that Dandelion might act powerfully against hepatitis B, HIV and influenza. Few studies also showed its properties of inhibiting dengue virus replication.
Ginger, Garlic,Fennel, Basil, Sage, and Oregano are very common kitchen herbs as compared to less familiar herbs like astragalus and sambucus. But all of these above mentioned herbs have powerful antiviral effects against numerous viruses that cause infections in humans. These can easily be added to your diet in your favorite recipes to make a natural antiviral food or as a tea additive. However studies and researches have been conducted on animals or on test tube level or on insufficient sample size, therefore its doses and accurate effects are still unclear. Make sure to consult a healthcare professional before opting any herbal extracts, tinctures or other products as supplements to avoid any side effects.