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Pelargonium sidoides is a South African botanical that was used successfully during the Spanish flu pandemic. So much so that Pelargonium is one of the most researched and effective antivirals and immune cold and flu supportive herbs in Europe with clinical trials behind it. The story goes that the San Bushmen in the Cape gave it to settlers dying of Spanish flu and they recovered and fared far better than those that didn’t drink the tea. Pelargonium prevents viruses from attaching to the mucous membranes of cells and stimulates the body’s immune system in such a way that both bacteria and viruses are prevented from multiplying. In vitro, the extracts show efficacy against cellular infections with influenza virus, HSV, EMCV, RSV, coronavirus, parainfluenza virus, and coxsackievirus, and this appears to be mainly mediated indirectly by inhibition of virus attachment and spreading. Pelargonium extract was approved in Germany as a drug for treating acute bronchitis and other lung infections of viral and bacterial origin.
2. ARTEMISIA ANNUA
Traditional Chinese medicine commands a unique position among all traditional medicines because of its 5000 years of history. Our own interest in natural products from traditional Chinese medicine was triggered in the 1990s, by artemisinin-type sesquiterpene lactones from Artemisia annua. As demonstrated in recent years, this class of compounds has activity against malaria, cancer cells, and schistosomiasis. Interestingly, the bioactivity of artemisinin is even broader and includes the inhibition of certain viruses, such as human cytomegalovirus and other members of the Herpesviridae family (e.g., herpes simplex virus type 1 and Epstein-Barr virus), hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and bovine viral diarrhea virus.
Did You Know? The traditional Tswana name for Sutherlandia is Phetola, meaning ‘it changes’, because this herb changes the course of many illnesses into a favourable outcome. Sutherlandia is known for the following:
- An adaptogen that modulates the immune system and helps the body adapt to and cope with stressors
- Support for colds and flu
- Antiviral that manages wasting and improves appetite
- Contains high levels of the brain neurochemical GABA that helps improve anxiety, stress, and depression
- A tonic herb with proven antiviral properties
- Helps with chronic fatigue
The South African Ministry of Health currently recommends the use of this herbal remedy for HIV/AIDS treatment. The recommended therapeutic dose of Sutherlandia in humans is 9mg per kg per day. Sutherlandia has been used in the treatment of cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, influenza, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, peptic ulcers, gastritis, reflux esophagitis, menopausal symptoms, anxiety, clinical depression, and HIV infection. One of the chemical constituents of Sutherlandia, L-canavanine, is an arginine analogue. L-canavanine has been reported to have anti-viral activity against influenza and retroviruses.
4. OLIVE LEAF
Anecdotal reports indicate that when taken at the onset of cold or flu symptoms, olive leaf extract (OLE) prevents or shortens the duration of the infection. For viral sore throats, gargling with olive leaf tea may alleviate symptoms, possibly by decreasing inflammation and viral infectivity. In 1977 the effect of olive leaf constituents against influenza-A in hamsters was demonstrated. Calcium elenolate administered to infected hamsters as nose drops shortly after influenza-A inoculation reduced viral titres of nasal washes and cured infection.
Viral infection researchers have demonstrated olive leaf constituents, particularly elenolic acid and its salt, calcium elenolate, are effective in vitro against many viruses studied, including parainfluenza, Herpes simplex, pseudorabies, polioviruses -1, -2, and -3, rhinoviruses, myxoviruses, coxsackievirus, Varicella zoster, encephalomyocarditis, and two strains of leukemia virus. Although no clinical trials have been conducted on OLE as a therapy for viral infections, the broad-spectrum antiviral activity demonstrated in vitro, and the abundant anecdotal reports, support the efficacy of OLE.
5. BLACK CUMIN SEED
Nigella sativa (Black cumin seed) and its derived compounds have been seen to act against a number of human, animal, bird, and plant pathogenic viruses. N. sativa may be one of the best sources of anti-viral drugs.
Antiviral effects: Even in the absence of any viral infection the intake of black cumin improves the function of NK cells along with augmenting the ratio of helper T cell to suppressor T cell (T4/T8), hence boosting the cell-mediated immunity (El-Kadi and Kandil, 1986; Abdel-Shafi, 2013).
Enriched with antiviral potential, black seed oil from Nigella sativa showed protective effects against murine Cytomegalovirus infection in infected mice when administered intraperitoneally for a period of 10 days. Treated mice showed increased levels and action of INF-gamma and CD4 T lymphocytes as compared to the control group of mice (Saxena and Vyas, 1986; Salem and Hossain, 2000).
Barakat et al. (2013) study revealed that patients infected with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) who were not eligible for IFN/ribavirin therapy when treated with N. sativa administration, herbal therapy decreased viral load, improved oxidative stress, clinical condition and glycemic control in diabetic patients.
A favourite protocol that pretty much covers all of the above herbs and supplements is as follows:
- High dose vitamin C: Ester C (Solgar) 1 gram every 3 hours.
- Flugo (Neogenesis Health) 2 capsules 3-4x daily
- Lamaria (Neogenesis Health) higher doses 2capsules 3x daily of the regular Lamaria, or 20 drops every 3 hours of the Lamaria tincture, or 1 cap 3x daily of Lamaria 6X for higher fever and intense infections.
- Black Cumin Seed (Neogenesis Health) 1 cap 3xday
- Pure Sutherlandia (Neogenesis Health) 1 cap 3xday
- Immucil (Neogenesis Health) 20 drops every 3 hours
- Olive Leaf (Neogenesis Health) 1 cap 3-4xdaily