As viral infections are uppermost in everyone’s minds right now, I thought it might be helpful to provide you with a list of some of the better known alternative remedies to treat viral infections and to support a healthy immune system.
This list is not all-inclusive, and it is of vital importance that you talk to your doctor about every one of these before taking them.
Also important is the fact that we don’t have many studies of any of these products in fighting coronavirus. Most of what I will discuss has been studied on Influenzas, H1N1, Cocksackie virus, and other upper respiratory infections.
The first one is Oregano Oil. Oregano possesses a compound called carvacrol that has been shown to be antiviral. Oregano does not kill viruses, but it appears to inhibit the virus’ ability to translate proteins responsible for the viral binding to cells.
A 2010 randomized, double-blind study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggested oregano was beneficial as a throat spray for upper respiratory infections. Astragulus is a very popular plant used in traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda practices.
It is one of the most researched and promising botanical plants shown to have antiviral properties. Compounds called saponins found in astragulus have been well-researched and found to hinder influenza proliferation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory found that it inhibits avian flu viruses. Elderberry is another botanical that has had a lot of research focused on its therapeutic value against influenza.
An Israeli study found that elderberry was effective against 10 different influenza strains. It has been shown to increase cytokine activity, thereby validating its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.
A 2019 study by the University of Sydney observed that certain compounds in elderberry inhibit the flu virus’s entry and replication in human cells. Also deserving mention is Linus Pauling’s favorite, Vitamin C.
In 2017 the University of Helsinki reviewed 148 studies that indicated Vitamin C is beneficial in alleviating or preventing infections caused by bacteria and viruses. Keeping inflammation down is very important in both preventing and treating infections and your source of vitamin C should be considered.
Avoid sugary drinks like orange juice no matter how much vitamin C is in them. Adequate levels of Vitamin D are also of great importance. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk and greater susceptibility to infection. Vitamin D boosts the body’s mucosal defenses, which are crucial for protecting your lungs from upper respiratory viruses.
Finally on the list, we have N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC. When someone gets a viral upper respiratory infection, the lungs are subject to a lot of oxidative stress. NAC is a powerful antioxidant and increases a vitally important substance in your body called glutathione. NAC lessens the oxidative stress of the illness and helps you recover quicker.
Nothing, no supplement, herb, or botanical has the preventive power of washing your hands as often as possible.
If you don’t feel well, stay home and stay isolated. Slowing down for a few weeks may be more powerful for your overall health than anything else you can do.
Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at http://drwilley.com.