There are some useful research studies showing that certain bioactive natural compounds can kill viruses; here are 8 of the best.
1) Echinacea – a variety of this herb has been proven to reduce the severity and time taken to overcome a cold virus. But there are other varieties. For example, Echinacea purpurea is particularly effective against membrane-containing viruses. This includes all strains of human and avian influenza viruses tested (including a Tamiflu-resistant strain), as well as herpes simplex virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and rhinoviruses (1).
2) Olive Leaf Extract – Olive leaves contain oleuropein a bitter tasting precursor to elenoic acid. This has been shown to be a strong inhibitor of pathogens such as E coli (2) and various viruses including herpes, influenza, coxsackie, and the polio virus in lab tests, even in transformed cells (3).
3) Oregano oil – proven to treat gut infections where it is known to kill pathogens and yeasts, it is also useful to treat mouth infections from gum problems to ulcers and cold sores. It’s effects with Herpes are covered in research (4) and many heath specialists believe the herb must come from the Mediterranean and be the wild type.
4) Garlic – crush garlic and you release allicin and other sulphur-containing compounds like ajoene. In one study (5) the potency order for virucidal activity against influenza, herpes, rhinovirus and others was: ajoene > allicin > allyl methyl thiosulfinate > methyl allyl thiosulfinate. Ajoene was found in oil-macerates of garlic but not in fresh garlic extracts.
5) Pau d’arco, (Tabebuia), an evergreen tree from South America, and its derivatives lapachol, alpha and beta- lapachone, napthoquinones and xyloidone have all been shown to have anti-viral properties. For example beta- lapachone with curcumin can inhibit HIV (6). It can also cause cell cycle arrest in cancer cells.
6) Punica granatum (pomegranate) extract was the most potent compound in 74 Moroccan herbs against Herpes Simplex, Sindbis virus and polio virus (7).
7) Elderberry – has research against a number of viruses, starting with the active ingredient Sambucol and the flu virus (8/9).
8) Astragalus – can inhibit the coxsackie B virus(10) and Herpes Simplex type 1 (11).
There are more active compounds but these will start you off. The research is not on a large scale but at least there are some sensible options. It should be remembered that a half of all antibiotics in the UK are prescribed for viruses, for which they simply do not work.
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2. J Biol Chem. 1972 Sep 10;247(17):5369-75.
3. J Biol Chem. 1973 May 10;248(9):2978-83
6. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Mar 1;90(5):1839-42.PMID: 8446597