- What Is a Virus?
- What Are Antiviral Herbs?
- Top Antiviral Herbs
- How to Use
- Risks and Side Effects
Did you know that there are more than 400 different viruses that can cause infections, including the common cold, the flu, hepatitis, mononucleosis and HIV?
Today, many people choose to have an annual influenza vaccination, or flu shot, but research shows that it’s not always effective because of the mutating strains of the influenza virus.
Luckily, there are a number of powerful antiviral herbs that boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and fight infections.
What Is a Virus?
A virus is a small infectious agent that can only replicate inside the living cells of other organisms. Viruses can infect all types of life forms — humans, animals, plants and microorganisms, including bacteria and archaea. They’re found in almost every ecosystem on Earth, and they’re the most abundant type of biological entity.
Viruses have actually been described as “organisms at the edge of life” because they carry genetic material, reproduce and evolve through natural selection, but they lack cell structure, which is generally needed to be considered living.
There are many ways that a virus spreads. In animals, a virus is carried by blood-sucking insects. Some viruses, like influenza, are spread by coughing and sneezing.
Viruses like viral gastroenteritis (infectious diarrhea) are transmitted by the fecal–oral route (which is a result of poor sanitation) and are passed from person to person by contact or enter the body through food and water. HIV is one of several viruses that’s transmitted through sexual contact and by exposure to infected blood.
What Are Antiviral Herbs?
Antiviral herbs inhibit the development of viruses. Many of the best antiviral herbs boost the immune system, which allows the body to attack viral pathogens. This can be even better than attacking specific pathogens, which antiviral drugs are designed to do, because pathogens mutate over time and become less susceptible to treatment.
Not only do antiviral herbs fight viral infections, boost the immune system and work as flu natural remedies, but they have a number of other health benefits, such as cardiovascular, digestive and anti-inflammatory support.
11 Top Antiviral Herbs
Echinacea has become one of the top-selling herbs of all time; that’s because regular use of echinacea is beneficial for immune support and overall health. There is considerable evidence suggesting that phytochemicals in echinacea have the capacity to reduce virus infections and tumors.
Echinacea is one of the most powerful natural antivirals against human viruses. It contains a compound called echinacein that inhibits bacteria and viruses from penetrating healthy cells. This greatly reduces the chances of contracting any type of infection while consuming echinacea.
Some more echinacea benefits include its ability to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, improve skin problems, treat upper respiratory issues and improve mental health.
Elderberry has powerful immune-boosting, antiviral properties. Several studies conclude that elderberry may help to shorten the duration of cold symptoms. There’s also research indicating that daily elderberry extract works to improve symptoms of the flu.
Elderberry is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. It also contains an immunostimulant compound called anthocyanidins.
You’ll have plenty of elderberry options at your local grocery or health food store. Some of the most popular forms are elderberry syrup, gummies and juice.