Natural Anti-Viral Herbs & Plants

Natural Anti-Viral Herbs & Plants

The plant kingdom and herbal medicine contains many valuable botanicals with a long traditional history of being used to treat viral infections.

The urgent need for effective and clinically validated natural antivirals has never been greater due to the SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) pandemic.

This is another area where I believe herbal medicine excels over modern medicine and research is now finding numerous plants to be invaluable sources of highly potent antiviral compounds such as betulinic acid in the case of chaga mushroom, andrographolide from the herb andrographis paniculata and so on.

However because many of these are natural plants, we could end up having potentially life saving, relatively inexpensive herbs that because of their inability to be patented for mass profit will never be realistically entertained for clinical use in most countries.

In this article I am going to highlight some of my favorite natural anti-viral herbs and plants with a specific focus on their potential application for Covid-19.



1. Andrographis Paniculata

Andrographis Paniculata also known in Ayurvedic medicine as “The King Of Bitters” ranks at the top of my list of herbs with potent anti-viral activity.

Andrographis has a long history of traditional use as a herbal medicine for treating the common cold, infections, fever and for boosting the immune system.

A major bioactive component of A. paniculata is andrographolide, a diterpene lactone in the isoprenoid family, which is known for its broad-spectrum antiviral properties. [1]

A recent randomized controlled trial published in 2021 assessed the efficacy and safety of Andrographis paniculata extract (APE) in adults with mild COVID-19.

The study concluded:

This AP-extract treatment regimen was potentially effective and safe in adults with mild COVID-19. [2]

2. Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus)

Chaga Mushroom Antiviral

Chaga mushroom also known as (Inonotus obliquus) is a parasitic medicinal fungus that grows on birches and has a long traditional history of use as a folk medicine.

Chaga Mushroom contains Betulin and Betulinic acid, which are naturally occurring pentacyclic triterpenoids that have shown potent anti-viral activity in studies against many different types of viruses.

Research has reported that French Chaga to contain higher levels of betulin and betulinic acid than other Chaga.

A present study published 2021 investigated the antiviral potential of I. obliquus terpenoids against COVID-19 using a molecular docking study.

The in silico study elucidates the ability of most of the terpenoid components to interact with the receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein with excellent affinity.

Additionally, we found that both betulinic acid and inonotusane C could bind and stably interact with the spike protein near the host cell recognition site of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. [3]

Recommended Product: Wild Chaga Mushroom 10:1 Extract Powder

3. Polyphenols Are Anti-Viral

Antiviral Polyphenols

Research has found polyphenols such as EGCG, chlorogenic acid, anthocyanins, stilbenoids, lignans and many others to exert antiviral activity.

This is one of the main reasons why I am such a huge advocate of predominately plant-based diets that contain a variety of different plant food-groups such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, beans/legumes, mushrooms/fungi, microgreens, sprouts and herbs.

These foods contain a variety of beneficial phyto-chemicals for health, polyphenols being the largest class of bioactive compounds present in these plants.

This is also a partial mechanism why I believe so many plant-foods have been shown to be beneficial against cancer because research also finds that around 30% of human cancers are attributed to various viruses.

Some of the best dietary sources of polyphenols include black/green tea, berries, coffee, dark chocolate/cocoa/cacao, red wine, olives/olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs/spices.

4. Turmeric Root & Curcumin

Turmeric Root Curcumin Antiviral

Turmeric root and its principle active constituent Curcumin has shown antiviral potential in many studies.

Curcumin has broad-spectrum anti-microbial properties as an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial compound.

However numerous studies have also found that curcumin has anti-viral activity, inhibiting replication in a wide-range of viruses.

Curcumin may also inhibit virus induced cytokine storms based on animal studies, due to curcumin’s ability to regulate the expression of both pro- and anti-inflammatory factors such as IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and COX-2.

Recommended Product: Micellar Curcumin – YourZooki

6. Licorice Root

Liquorice Medicinal Herb Encyclopedia Profile

Licorice root is one of the most important herbs in many traditional medicine systems such as TCM(Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Ayurveda.

Modern clinical research has identified licorice root and one of its main principle components Glycyrrhizin as a potential treatment for Covid-19 infection.

Licorice has been known for its viral replication inhibition for various viruses including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Influenza, H1N1 and HIV as discussed by Zhong et al.

Positive findings of licorice displaying antiviral activity through its glycyrrhizin compound via inhibition of replication, adsorption and penetration of the SARS-CoV virus were found.  A significantly potent inhibition of replication was observed.

TCM, specifically licorice, has demonstrated potential to act as antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulation and other effects for COVID-19 patients when administered as part of concoction. [12]

Licorice root also has potent steroidal anti-inflammatory properties and thus may be another natural herb that may be of potential for cytokine induced storms.

References

[1] Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Activity of Andrographis paniculata Extract and Its Major Component Andrographolide in Human Lung Epithelial Cells and Cytotoxicity Evaluation in Major Organ Cell Representatives

[2] Efficacy and safety of Andrographis paniculata extract in patients with mild COVID-19: A randomized controlled trial

[3] Chaga Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus (Agaricomycetes) Terpenoids May Interfere with SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Recognition of the Host Cell: A Molecular Docking Study

[4] The Antiviral, Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Natural Medicinal Herbs and Mushrooms and SARS-CoV-2 Infection

[5] COVID-19: Is There Evidence for the Use of Herbal Medicines as Adjuvant Symptomatic Therapy?

[6] Exploring the active compounds of traditional Mongolian medicine in intervention of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) based on molecular docking method

[7] Curcumin as an Antiviral Agent

[8] Curcumin as a Potential Treatment for COVID-19

[9] The Inhibitory Effect of Curcumin on Virus-Induced Cytokine Storm and Its Potential Use in the Associated Severe Pneumonia

[10] Potential protective mechanisms of green tea polyphenol EGCG against COVID-19

[11] Can Antiviral Activity of Licorice Help Fight COVID-19 Infection?

[12] Licorice: A Potential Herb in Overcoming SARS-CoV-2 Infections

[13] Glycyrrhizin: An alternative drug for the treatment of COVID-19 infection and the associated respiratory syndrome?

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any significant dietary or lifestyle changes including supplements and herbs.



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