Fight the Flu this Season – Emed’s Best Anti-Viral Herbs
It’s particularly bad this winter season so knowing the best way to prevent and treat will get you out of bed and feeling better in no time.
Although prevention is best, when a virus strikes there are a number of natural remedies that can stop it in its tracks.
Emed digs up the research on 6 natural antivirals.
Elderberry – The standardised black elderberry extract has antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus.
Recent studies have shown it to be effective effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised study, Black Elderberry reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days.
Black Elderberry extract has also proven to be effective against the swine flu. A complete cure was achieved within 2-3 days of nearly 90% of Black Elderberry treated group in a 1993 outbreak of H1N1.
Eagle Elderberry Vital Protect combines Elderberry, vitamin C and zinc to assist the immune system in fighting viral infections.
Its most effective action in the body is to boost the production of interferon, a protein which is released by the body to prevent virus’s from replicating themselves and also alerts other cells to the immune treat. Simply put, interferon helps you get better, faster.
Some of the known benefits of Echinacea are its ability to boost the strength of T-lymphocytes. T-cells are vital to the immune system as they help the body to increase the number of anti-bodies that you have circulating.
Echinacea’s anti viral properties extend to herpes simplex virus and HIV for the E. purpurea extract.
MediHerb Echinacea Premium combines Echincea angustifolia and purpurea to relieve the symptoms of colds, flu and upper respiratory tract infections.
Green Tea – Green tea contains a group of flavonoids called catechins, which appear to inhibit viral infections by binding to the haemagglutinin of the influenza virus and so preventing the virus from entering the host cells.
Research in China has shown that green tea extract and isolated catechin derivatives also act by blocking the viral enzymes reverse transcriptase and DNA polymerase which allow viruses to replicate.
The green tea compounds tested were effective in inhibiting HIV, herpes simplex and hepatitis B virus. So far, no clinical studies have been carried out to further explore green tea’s potential as a treatment for influenza and other viral diseases.
Oriental Botanicals Green Tea contains 345mg of catechins to enhance the body;s anti oxidant defences and promote a healthy immune system.
Key to garlic’s antiviral and healing properties are its hundreds of beneficial compounds, which work synergistically.
The most significant of these is allicin, which produces garlic’s pungent odour. It is produced from another compound, alliin, when fresh garlic is cut or chewed and it can also be obtained from powdered garlic supplements with allicin potential.
Aged garlic products lack allicin, but may have some antiviral activity due to the presence of S- allylcysteine.
Garlic’s cold-preventing reputation has been upheld by laboratory tests in which fresh garlic, allicin and various other sulphur compounds in garlic killed the common cold virus, various strains of influenza viruses and herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2.
Eagle Pathoclear combines Garlic, Echinacea, Andrographis and Astragalus to provide a anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal treatment this winter.
St Johns Wort – Although commonly used as a treatment for depression, St Johns Wort also helps to fight viruses. Laboratory studies have revealed that it is active against several viruses, including herpes simplex 1 & 2, glandular fever, HPV, Hepatitis B & C and cytomegalovirus.
Hypericin and pseudohypericin, chemicals found in St John’s wort, are active against enveloped viruses.
These are viruses that tear off a piece of cell membrane when they leave an infected cell and wrap themselves in it, as a way of fooling the body’s immune system.
Herpes viruses, HIV and hepatitis C are all enveloped viruses. Hypericin and pseudohypericin appear to attack these fragments of cell membrane (but don’t attack the membranes of living cells).
MediHerb St John’s Wort is standadised to include 1.05mg hypericin for specialised immune support.
Astragalus – Astragalus is one of the antiviral herbs that works by boosting the immune system. Taken internally, either as a capsule or tincture, astragalus root is known to increase your body’s defence against viruses.
Like Echinacea, Astragalus also increases interferon production aiding the immune system to create resistance to viruses and bacteria. It helps to increase white blood cell count, and stimulates the growth of anti bodies.
Astragalus root is best used as prevention, so take it during flu season or before going places with large crowds of people.
Astragalus is also used to reduce the risk of developing post viral fatigue and can enhance recovery from chronic immune conditions.
Oriental Botanicals Astragalus 8 contains herbs to strengthen the immune function, recover from post-viral fatigue and enhance recovery during convalescence.
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