We encounter viruses every day. The only reason we’re unaware of their existence is because our bodies fight them off before they can cause infection. However, this doesn’t mean our bodies won’t benefit from some extra help. Using natural antivirals can provide your immune system with some additional defenses.
Why Fighting Viruses Naturally Matters
Viral infections are more difficult to treat than bacterial infections. This is because antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. Although there are antiviral medications, these are generally more specific than antibiotics. In other words, they only work against one specific virus, whereas the same antibiotic often kills multiple strains of bacteria. This makes fighting viruses naturally and boosting your immune system that much more important.
A diet rich in immune-boosting foods can help you prepare your body to fight infection. Some foods in particular have antiviral properties. These include ginger, garlic, onions, and turmeric (which is also an anti-inflammatory).
Certain herbs have a huge potential to fight viral infections. You can add some of them to your diet and take others in supplements.
Not only is basil a delicious herb to add to your Italian dishes, it’s an effective antiviral. Eating sweet basil (which is the most common variety) may protect you against many types of viruses. Supplements are also useful for fighting infections when you fall sick.
Another herb you’re likely to use all the time and that happens to have antiviral properties is oregano. It’s fast acting against a range of viruses when you consume its leaves or as an oil.
An ancient remedy for infections is elderberry. Recent research has discovered it has a variety of antiviral properties, including protection from and inactivation of some viruses, stimulation of an immune response, and reduction in symptoms of the upper respiratory tract. You can incorporate this medicinal plant into your diet by drinking elderberry juice.
St. John’s Wort
The reason St. John’s Wort is an effective antiviral is not one but two active compounds. The first is hypericin, which is also an antibiotic and a non-specific kinase inhibitor — this means it can target altered kinases in cancer cells to prevent tumor growth. The second is pseudohypericin, a related antiviral compound.
A type of daisy, echinacea is well known for being able to stimulate the immune system to fight infection, particularly for viruses like the common cold or flu. As well as taking a dietary supplement, you can apply natural products containing echinacea to your skin to treat infections and other skin conditions.
Use fennel to add the delicious taste of licorice to your dishes as well as to ward off viruses. It can also assist with a healthy immune system and help with inflammation.
Like fennel, peppermint is both an antiviral and anti-inflammatory. It’s particularly useful at controlling respiratory viruses. You’ll see the best results if you take a peppermint leaf extract supplement or drink peppermint tea.
Pau d’arco is a tree native to the Amazon. Indigenous people have long used its bark and wood to make a tea they use in folk medicine. Among other ailments, it may be able to prevent viral infections. You can find products containing many of the compounds in pau d’arco as well as supplements of just quercetin — an antioxidant present in the tree bark.
Some health spas have special types of saunas that use infrared lights. These warm you directly rather than increasing the temperature of the sauna itself. The idea is this boosts the immune system by increasing your production of white blood cells, which helps you to kill viruses and other pathogens. As this is a new type of therapy, the research is still limited, although there have been no reports of any negative side effects.
Another type of invisible light that has an impact on viruses is ultraviolet (UV). Unlike with infrared light, high exposures to UV light can be harmful. However, research has found that safe amounts for humans can kill viruses. The best way to harness this power is to use a UV sanitizer to cleanse the surfaces of objects you use every day.
Ozone is a form of oxygen that occurs naturally but is less stable than the type of oxygen we breathe. It has many uses in alternative medicine, including to prevent viruses that have established an infection from replicating and inactivating viruses. It may be useful for chronic infections — where viruses exist in the body for a long time. In addition, it may speed up the healing process by controlling inflammation and improving immunity, including by enhancing antiviral activity.
You receive ozone therapy through an ozone generator. The downside of this is it does have side effects that will initially make you feel worse. Another solution to consider is to use ozone to disinfect surfaces, much like with UV light.
For viral infections of the skin, a natural remedy is colloidal silver: particles of silver in liquid. It’s important to apply no more than is necessary; otherwise, you could develop agyria, where the skin turns blue–gray.
Soap and Hand Sanitizer
Finally, you can kill viruses before they enter the body the same way you kill a variety of other pathogens: with soap and water. Regular hand soap is effective because it destroys the proteins that surround viral particles. Alternatively, you can use a hand sanitizer. Whereas washing your hands with soap is the better option, this may not always be an option when you’re out and about. A hand sanitizer can be a useful alternative, provided it has at least 60% alcohol (the remaining ingredients should be water and perhaps some essential oils).
The best way to boost your immune system against viruses is to maintain good overall health. Essential oils can both promote immune health and ease some of the symptoms if you do fall ill, such as by supporting respiratory function. You’ll find essential oil blends designed specifically to boost the immune system at LaCura. Check out our online store.