11 of the best herbs and plants to help against viral infection.

Updated: Mar 30

A virus is microbial agent which sometimes gives very serious infection. Antibiotics have no effect on it, and medication that can be used are limited. Antiviral medications exist, but are not working against all virus and can have significant side effects, so their use is often limited to serious cases. It is mainly thanks to our immune system that we can recover and heal from it.

For a strong immune system, a healthy and balance diet is essential. Few herbs and plants have also shown that they can be a great help to combat infection by supporting the immune system. Some even have medicinal properties as they anti viral agents.

1. Oregano

Oregano is an herb from the mint family. It has been known for its medicinal qualities. Its warm smell is due to a chemical call Carvanol which has a powerful antiseptic effect. The best way to use it is oregano oil, taken under the tongue with olive oil at a ratio of one drop of oregano oil to one drop of olive oil. (1, 2, 3).

2. Garlic

Garlic is a one of the most popular natural remedy. It seems not only to help the immune system to fight infection, but many studies have shown now that it also have a direct antiseptic effect.

Garlic can be useful in an infection simply thanks to its multitude of health benefits, especially its ability to enhance the immune system response by helping some protective cells on the “first line” of an infection (6). Few studies have also shown an antiviral effect against some of the influenza virus responsible of the common cold (7).

3. Turmeric/ Curcumin

Turmeric which contains curcumin is a very well known plant used as a spice which has great medicinal properties. It has been studied for years. Research has shown shown its antiviral properties over the years against different virus, including influenzae (8)

4. Licorice

Liquorice has been used in many natural practices for centuries. It contains active substances (Glycyrrhizin, liquiritigenin, and glabridin) which have powerful antiviral properties against virus like Herpes, HIV (9,10). An 2003 study has also showed that it could have an effect against SARS related virus(11).

5. Green Tea

Green tea is one of the most popular drink, and count number of benefices thanks to compounds called Catechins. Catechins have shown various antimicrobial properties, with an effect both on the organism and on the mechanism helping to fight these organisms. And seems to be a real help to both fight and prevent infectious diseases (12,13)

6. Fennel

Fennel is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. Some studies have found a powerful antiviral effect, especially against herpes virus and para-influenzae (14). It also seems to boost immune system and decrease inflammation, helping fight against infections (15).

7. Rosemary

Rosemary has various plant compounds with health benefits (16).

One of them is oleanolic acid which has been found to have an antiviral effect against influenzae and other virus like Herpes Simplex or hepatitis A virus (17, 18).

8. Sage

The antiviral properties of Sage are coming from a agent called Safficinolide (19). It seems to be efficient against Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) responsible for AIDS (20), as well as Herpes Simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) responsible for the common herpes infection (21).

9. Sambucus

Sambucus are a kind of flowering plants. They are also called Elderberries. These flowers are used in a variety of products, elixirs and pills, to treat infection. Elderberry juice seems to have an effect on the replication of influenza virus as well as stimulating the immune system. it could also reduce respiratory symptoms caused by virus. (22, 23).

10. Peppermint

Peppermint can be found as leave or essential oil. Both contain various active component. One of them is the rosmarinic acid which can be a great help with both antiviral and anti-inflammatory actions. (24, 25).

11. Cinnamon

Cinnamon or Cinnamomum zeylanicum (CZ) have been used in traditional medicine for years. Among all the health benefits that have been shown by research, Cinnamon has a antimicrobial effect that could help fight infection (26)

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