Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Best Herbs to Treat Flu and Other Viruses



Those that know me know that I am not an advocate of the flu shot. However,  the purpose of this blog post is not to discuss that subject.  Instead, I would rather focus on the benefits of two of the best antiviral herbs, sambucus and mullein and their effectiveness in treating and possibly preventing the flu, as well as many other viruses.

Sambucus

Sambucus nigra, otherwise know as black elderberry,  has been shown to be one of the best defenses against influenza.  It is a small, antioxidant-rich fruit common to Europe and North America that is still commonly consumed as a jam or wine..

A recent study by a group of Chemical and Biomlolecular Engineering researchers from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Engineering and IT has determined that  elderberry fruit can help the fight against influenza.  Compounds from elderberries can directly inhibit the virus's entry and replication in human cells, and can help strengthen a person's immune response to the virus. "What our study has shown is that the common elderberry has a potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus," said Dr Golnoosh Torabian, one of the researchers involved in the study.

When taken with Vitamin C and zinc, Sambucus is quite effective in reducing symptoms of the flu.  This combination will help strengthen the immune system.  Nature's Way Gummies contain Sambucus,  Vitamin C and zinc.  They have a pleasant taste suitable for children.

Mullein

Common mullein, or Verbascum thapsus, pictured left, should look familiar to you. It is a medicinal plant readily found in roadsides, meadows and pasture lands.

Mullein contains various chemical constituents like saponins, iridoid and phenylethanoid glycosides, flavonoids, vitamin C and minerals.

A number of pharmacological activities, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiviral activity have been associated with the mullein plant. With regard its antiviral activity, one test-tube study suggests that mullein extract is particularly effective against the influenza virus. It has been used to treat pulmonary problems, inflammatory diseases, asthma, and spasmodic coughs, all symptoms which often accompany the flu.

I often harvest plants from our property for medicinal purposes. I use the leaves to make a tea to treat respiratory infections.  I also make a tincture from the leaves.  To make an ear oil to treat infections, I  combine the flowers with garlic and olive oil.  As a master herbalist, I enjoy these activities. However, for those that may not, mullein is readily available in tea, tincture and capsule form.

Both sambucus and mullein are great to have on hand during cold and flu season. They can be purchased online by clicking the corresponding links.

Of course, always check with your healthcare practitioner. before taking any herbal supplement.