Natural Anti-Virals

anti virals

Recent outbreaks of viral diseases in the advent of globalisation and ease of travel have underscored their prevention as a critical issue in safeguarding public health. The following are some natural antivirals.

 Despite the progress made in immunisation and drug development, many viruses lack preventive vaccines and efficient antiviral therapies, as the virus naturally mutates. Herbal medicines have shown anti-viral action against many viral pathogens that do not have suitable vaccines or where the vaccine is available outbreaks are still apparent, viruses including coronavirus (CoV), coxsackievirus (CV), dengue virus (DENV), enterovirus 71 (EV71), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), influenza virus, measles virus (MV), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).


Garlic is one of the best infection fighters available for both bacterial and viral infections. It is a natural antibiotic that does not appear to create resistant bacteria strains. In addition, fresh garlic extract has been shown to be virucidal to many viruses. Garlic possesses the ability to stimulate the immune system. It can stimulate the activity of the macrophages (white blood cells), which engulf foreign organisms, such as: viruses, bacteria, and yeast. Furthermore, garlic increases the activity of the T-helper cells (immune cells which are central to the activity of the entire immune system). Garlic may be particularly effective in treating upper respiratory viral infections due to its immune-enhancing properties and its ability to clear mucous from the lungs. It destroys and/or inhibits various bacteria and fungi, with an antibacterial action equivalent to 1% penicillin. Garlic is effective against strep, staph, and even anthrax bacteria.


Everything that's been said about Garlic can be said about onion. Onions and garlic share many of the same powerful sulphur bearing compounds that work so effectively as anti-viral and anti-bacterial agents. Ginger Ginger has been traditionally used to treat colds and flu. Chinese studies have shown that ginger helps kill influenza viruses (even avian flu), and an Indian report shows that it increases the immune system's ability to fight infection.

Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract has a long history of being used against illnesses in which microorganisms play a major role. In more recent years, a drug company discovered that in vitro (in a test tube), an extract from olive leaf (calcium elenolate) was effective in eliminating a very broad range of organisms, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and yeast/mould/fungus.

Habañero and Horseradish

These are stimulants that quicken and excite the body. They energise the body (helping it to marshal its defences against invading viruses). In addition, they help to carry blood to all parts of the body. They are also diaphoretics and thus help raise the temperature of the body, which increases the activity of the body's immune system. Horseradish, in particular, contains volatile oils that are similar to those found in mustard. These include glucosinolates (mustard oil glycosides), gluconasturtiin, and sinigrin, which yield allyl isothiocynate when broken down in the stomach. In test tubes, the volatile oils in horseradish have shown antibiotic properties, which may account for its effectiveness in treating throat and upper respiratory tract infections. At levels attainable in human urine after taking the volatile oil of horseradish, the oil has been shown to kill bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections, and one early trial found that horseradish extract may be a useful treatment for people with urinary tract infections.

Liquid Zinc

Like colloidal silver, liquid zinc is both anti-bacterial and anti-viral, but without the potential toxicity issues found with silver. Zinc is found in all body fluids, including the moisture in the eyes, lungs, nose, urine, and saliva. Proper zinc levels offer a defence against the entrance of pathogens. In the 1800's, surgeons used zinc as an antiseptic/antibiotic after surgery; they noted its amazing healing properties. Wounds would heal, at times, as quickly as 24 hours after an operation, without swelling, and scarring was barely noticeable after a short period of time.

Oil of Wild Mountain Oregano

Numerous studies have shown wild mountain oregano oil (not to be confused with the oregano found in your kitchen) to be a potent antimicrobial. It has been proven useful as an antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agent rivaling even pharmaceutical antibiotics such as streptomycin, penicillin, vacnomycin, nystatin, and amphotericin in its ability to eliminate microbes. Remarkably it accomplishes this without promoting the development of drug resistant strains and other problems often attributed to the use of standard antibiotics. In addition to this already impressive list of abilities Oregano Oil is also a powerful parasitic expellant. Grapefruit Seed Extract Grapefruit seed extract was originally developed as an antiparasitic, but studies quickly showed that it had the ability to inhibit the growth of not only parasites, but fungi, viruses, and bacteria as well. The active ingredients of grapefruit seed extract are non-toxic and are synthesized from the seed and pulp of certified organically grown grapefruit. The process converts the grapefruit bioflavonoids (polyphenolics) into an extremely potent compound that is being used to kill strep, staph, salmonella, E. Coli, candida, herpes, influenza, parasites, fungi, and more.

Apple-Cider Vinegar

ACV (Apple-Cider Vinegar) serves several functions in this formula: ACV is toxic to all kinds of germs that attack the throat. In effect, it acts like a sponge and draws out throat germs and toxins from the surrounding tissue. And finally, ACV stimulates a condition called acetolysis in which toxic wastes that are harmful to the body are broken down and rendered harmless.

Red Seaweed

The antiviral activity of polysaccharide fractions obtained from water extracts of the red seaweed Nothogenia fastigiata was investigated. Fraction F6, corresponding to a sulphated xylomannan, was found to inhibit efficiently the replication of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Furthermore, F6 selectively inhibited the replication of several other enveloped viruses including herpes simplex virus type 2, human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), respiratory syncytial virus, influenza A and B virus, Junin and Tacaribe virus and simian immunodeficiency virus. F6 was only weakly active against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and 2. The mode of action of F6 against HSV-1 and HCMV could be ascribed to an inhibitory effect on virus adsorption.

Damonte E et al., Links Antiviral activity of a sulphated polysaccharide from the red seaweed Nothogenia fastigiata., Biochem Pharmacol. 1994 Jun 15;47(12):2187-92.

Herbal medicines have shown anti-viral action against many viral pathogens that do not have suitable vaccines or where the vaccine is available outbreaks are still apparent


CoV is an enveloped, positive-sense single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) virus belonging to theCoronaviridaefamily. The CoV family consists of several species and causes upper respiratory tract and gastrointestinal infections in mammals and birds. In humans, it mainly causes common cold, but complications including pneumonia and SARS can occur.

There are no specific treatments for CoV infection and preventive vaccines are still being explored. Thus, the situation reflects the need to develop effective antivirals for prophylaxis and treatment of CoV infection.

Naturally occuring saikosaponins isolated from medicinal plants such as Bupleurum spp. (柴胡 Chái Hú), and Scrophularia scorodonia(玄參 Xuán Shēn), exert antiviral activity against HcoV-22E9.

Extracts from Lycoris radiata (石蒜 Shí Suàn), Artemisia annua Wormwood (黃花蒿 Huáng Huā Hāo), Pyrrosia lingua (石葦 Shí Wěi), and Lindera aggregata(烏藥 Wū Yào) also display anti–SARS-CoV effect from a screening analysis using hundreds of Chinese medicinal herbs.

Natural inhibitors against the SARS-CoV enzymes include myricetin, scutellarein, and phenolic compounds from Isatis indigotica (板藍根 Bǎn Lán Gēn) and Torreya nucifera (榧 Fěi).


CV is typically transmitted by fecal–oral route and contact with respiratory secretions. While the symptoms of infection can include mild illnesses such as fever, malaise, rashes, and common cold-like presentation, more severe cases may result in diseases of the central nervous system, including aseptic meningitis, encephalitis, and paralysis. CVA is best known as one of the causative agents of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in young children.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or specific antiviral therapy available to prevent CV infection.

Herbs and traditional medicnes have shown some promise for the development of therapeutics against CV infection.The bioactive compounds linalool, apigenin, and ursolic acid from Ocimum basilicum Holy basil (羅勒 Luó Lè) possess antiviral activity against CVB1. In particular, ursolic acid interferes with CVB1 replication post-infection.Again the herb Bupleurum spp (柴胡 Chái Hú) inhibit CVB1 infection via the induction of type I interferon response.

Dengue Virus

DENV is transmitted by mosquito bites, typically the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Clinical manifestations of DENV infection include inapparent/mild febrile presentation, classical dengue fever (fever, headache, myalgias, joint pains, nausea, vomiting, and skin rash), and life-threatening hemorrhagic diseases, specifically dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS) in severe cases

Despite being an old disease, current immunisation and therapeutic options available for prevention and control of DENV infection are severely limited. Management of dengue-associated diseases consists of preventing the viral infection by mosquito control and relieving symptoms in the infected individuals only

Natural products in;cuding the flavone baicalein in Scutellaria baicalensis exerts potent activity against DENV.
In addition, several natural compounds such as quercetin found in Withania somnivera and Centella asiatica as well as marine seaweed extracts inlcuding Fucus vesiculosis possess significant anti-DENV properties


EV71 is transmitted by fecal–oral route, but transmission by respiratory droplet is also possible. It is one of the major causes of HFMD in children, is sometimes associated with severe neurological disease
Medication and preventive vaccines against EV71 are presently in development and palliative care is used to ameliorate the symptoms.

Several natural products and herbal medicines have been shown to possess inhibitory activity against EV71 infection.

Extracts and pure constituents of Ocimum basilicum Holy basil block EV71 infection and replication.

Raoulic acid (from the New Zealand plant, Raoulia australis inhibits both CVB and suppresses EV71.

Gallic acid from Woodfordia fruticosa flowers (蝦子花 Xiā Zǐ Huā) also exert anti-EV71 activity.

Finally, epigallocatechin gallate from green tea has been identified to interfere with EV71 replication

Hepatitis B Virus

HBV causes hepatitis B and the infection is transmitted by exposure to blood or body fluids containing the virus. Although spontaneous recovery is common following acute hepatitis B, medication is recommended for chronic infection because of the risk of developing cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The development of HBV vaccine and nationwide hepatitis B vaccination program in endemic countries such as Taiwan have helped control HBV infection as well as reduce the incidence of childhood HCC.

Despite the existence of preventive vaccines, the present HBV-infected population, including those in areas where vaccination program is unavailable, remains at risk for end-stage liver diseases. Therapeutic treatment against HBV includes anti-viral drugs however, eradication of HBV from the host proves difficult once persistent infection is established, and the situation is further aggravated by risks of selecting drug-resistant viral mutants, treatment failure in non-responders, and potential future viral reactivation. Therefore, anti-HBV drug discovery is still a matter of importance for supporting current therapy and hepatitis B management program to treat some current 300-400 million carriers globally.

Anti-HBV agents derived from natural products and herbal medicines have shown anti-HBV effects. Isochlorogenic acid A from Laggera alata Winged-StemLaggera, amide alkaloid from Piper longum Indian Long pepper (假蒟 Jiǎ Jù) are anti-HBV.Herpes

The saikosaponins from Bupleurum spp. (柴胡 Chái Hú), and extracts from Polygonum cuspidatum/Fallopia japonica or Japanese Knot weed are antiviral against HBV in vitro.
Curcumin longa Turmeric inhibits HBV gene replication and expression

Hepatitis C Virus

Transmission of HCV mainly occurs by blood-to-blood contact, such as through intravenous injections, blood transfusion, and various exposures to blood contaminants (tattooing, piercing, razor and toothbrush sharing, etc.). Due to the highly mutable nature of HCV, a preventive vaccine is not yet available. Since immunisation against HCV is at present unavailable, the discovery of anti-HCV entry inhibitors could help develop preventive therapies/measures against hepatitis C.

About 70% of infections become persistent, resulting in an estimated 300 million carriers worldwide of which 1-3% may progress to end-stage liver diseases including cirrhosis and HCC.
In the current therapeutic treatment against HCV severa obstacles remian including limited efficacy for certain viral genotypes, inevitable selection of drug-resistant mutants, serious side-effects, high cost of medication, patient adherence issues, and challenges in the difficult-to-treat populations such as non-responders and liver transplant patients.

Silybum marianum Milk Thistle including sliymarin and its flavonolignans have demonstrated anti-HCV activity
Again Curcumin longa Turmeric is a potent inhibitor of HCV replication.

Other natural compounds hincluding epigallocatechin-3-gallate (green tea) , griffithsin, ladanein, and tellimagrandin are potent inhibitors of HCV . 

Herpes Simplex Virus

Herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) usually causes mucocutaneous lesions that occur in oral/perioral (typically by HSV-1) and genital (commonly by HSV-2) areas, as well as on other body sites.

HSV causes lifelong infection by establishing itself in sensory neurons and can be reactivated by various stimuli including sunlight, fever, immunosuppression, menstruation, or stress.
Transmission of HSV results from contact with infected lesions and can occurfrom infected mother to newborn. Although the disease is usually self-limited and can be treated with antivirals, severe complications can occur, particularly in neonates and immunosuppressed individuals, leading to risk of blindness with keratoconjunctivitis, and the potentially fatal meningitis and encephalitis.
No vaccine is available against HSV and there are currently no drugs that can eradicate latent HSV infection.

Epiafzelechin, extracted from Cassia javanica Java cassia inhibits HSV-2 replication;

The Chinese Herbal Formulas Long-Dan-Xie-Gan-Tan (龍膽瀉肝湯 Lóng Dǎn Xiè Gān Tāng) and Yin-Chen-Hao-Tang (茵陳蒿湯 Yīn Chén Hāo Tang) both inhibit HSV-1 and HSV-2 infectivity

Hippomanin A, geraniin, 1,3,4,6-tetra-O-galloyl-beta-d-glucose, and excoecarianin isolated from Phyllanthus urinaria Stone breaker (葉下珠 Yè Xià Zhū) can potently impede HSV infection.

A plethora of other natural anti-HSV agents have also been identified. Meliacine derived from Melia azedarach China Berry is observed to stimulate tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and IFN-g production, and reduce HSV-2 shedding.

Houttuynoids A-E are flavonoids isolated from Houttuynia cordata Fish Mint (蕺菜 Jí Cài) exhibit potent anti–HSV-1 activity.

Extracts from Rhododendron ferrugineum Rhododendron , Rubus fruticosus Blackberry and proanthocyanidin-enriched extract from Myrothamnus flabellifolia inhibit HSV-1 infection.

Human Immunodeficency Virus

HIV is the causative agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which is a progressive failure of the immune system due to CD4+T-lymphocyte depletion that leads to manifestation of life-threatening opportunistic infections and malignancies. To date, AIDS has resulted in more than 25 million deaths and there are currently about 34 million HIV-infected individuals with an estimated 2-3 million newly diagnosed cases annually.

Despite nearly 30 years of research since its discovery, at present there is no effective preventive vaccine or cure for HIV infection. The highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which consists of a cocktail of nucleoside analog/non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors, has dramatically decreased the morbidity and mortality associated with HIV/AIDS

Extracts of Artemisia annua Wormwood(黃花蒿 Huáng Huā Hāo) and Artemisia afra have recently been reported as potential anti-HIV medicines

The Calophyllum species including Caulophyllum thalictroides Blue cohosh and Calophyllum brasiliense contain several coumarins that exert inhibitory effect against HIV.

Influenza Virus

The influenza A, B, and C viruses cause respiratory infection yielding symptoms that include fever, headache, sore throat, sneezing, and muscle and joint pains, and can develop into more severe and potentially fatal conditions such as pneumonia.

IFA (most epidemic) has a wide host range including birds and humans as well as other mammals, whereas IFB seems to naturally infect humans and IFC (less frequently encountered) can be isolated from humans and swine.

Influenza virus infection has produced considerable morbidity in humans. An estimated 250,000-500,000 deaths occur annually due to seasonal epidemics, and in major pandemics, this number has been observed to rise to some 20-40 million deaths, as in the case of the 1918 H1N1 Spanish Flu.Despite the availability of vaccines based on predicted circulating strains, influenza viruses are known to continuously evolve making vaccines less effective or even ineffective. Resistant strains against the currently approved neuraminidase inhibitors including oseltamivir and zanamivir have also already appeared. Due to the drug resistance problems, the rapid evolution of influenza viruses, and the occurrence of several recent outbreaks (e.g., H5N1, H1N1, H7N9), more sophisticated antiviral strategies are urgently needed to prevent and control potential pandemics with emerging influenza strains.

Sambucus nigra Elderberry (接骨木 Jiē Gǔ Mù) extract exerts antiviral effects against IFA, IFB, as well as respiratory bacterial pathogens and is a natural neuraminidase inhibitor.

Pelargonium sidoides African geranium root extract inhibits the entry of IFA, impairs viral hemagglutination as well as neuraminidase activity, and improves the symptoms of flu.

Taraxacum officinale Dandelion (蒲公英 Pú Gōng Yīng) root extract impedes IFA infection and decreases its polymerase activity as well as the nucleoprotein (NP) RNA level.

Spirooliganone B from the roots of Illicium oligandrum Chinese Anise exhibits potent anti-IFA activities.

Xanthones from polygala karensium, and homoisoflavonoids from Caesalpinia sappan Indian redwood (蘇木Sū Mù) and Chalcones from Glycyrrhiza glabra Licorice root extract exhibit potent IFA activity

Measles Virus
MV causes measles, an acute infection of the respiratory system characterized by fever, conjunctivitis, coughing, runny nose, nausea, and a generalized macular red rash over the body. Complications can occur leading to pneumonia and encephalitis, which can be potentially fatal.

Although highly contagious through contact of respiratory droplets or airborne aerosols, immunization against measles given as a three-part MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella) has made MV infection relatively uncommon in developed countries

Despite the existence of a successful vaccine against MV, the virus remains a major killer of children in developing countries. Another serious problem is the re-emergence of measles in vaccinated populations and in non-immunised adults, as highlighted by outbreaks in recent years.

The following show anti MV activity
The herbal decoction Sheng-Ma-Ge-Gen-Tang (升麻葛根湯 Shēng Má Gé Gēn Tang).

The Cherokee remedy spicebush plant biflavonoids isolated from Rhus succedanea Japanese wax tree (野漆 Yě Qī) and Garcinia multiflora

Calcium spirulan from the blue-green alga Spirulina platensis

Cajanus cajan Pigeon pea possesses anti-MV activity, although the bioactive constituents remain elusive.

The two tannins chebulagic acid and punicalagin (found in the plants Terminalia chebula,T. Citrina andT. Catappa) show robust effects against MV infection


Brand Carahealth

This tincture contains a blend of natural antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and immune stimulant herbs that are specifically formulated to both prevent and treat the winter flu including the current flu pandemic. The tincture will naturally boost the immune system to prevent bacterial, viral or fungal infections. The tincture can be prescribed to treat or prevent colds, flu, fungal infections and any indeed any chronic infection.This tincture includes berberine containing herbs; berberine being a powerful antiviral alkaloid. It also contains Elderberry, which is specifically a natural neuraminidase inhibitor an acts like drug Tamiflu to inhibit viral replication.

For further details on this topic, to lecture for your group or institution on this subject. or to arrange an online appointment contact Carina This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu.

Cert IV TAE. 


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