Antiviral Herbs

Antiviral Herbs: Our Top Ten Picks

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Are you looking to add some virus-kicking herbal additions to your diet?

Herbs have been used for centuries to prevent and treat a multitude of infections and disease.

The unique makeup of herbs interacts with the body to influence our cells activitiy.

Antiviral therapies and vaccines have been important in limiting the impact of viruses on the body and decreasing the severity of viral infections.

That’s why we wrote our in-depth guide to herbs for HPV, which focused on those of us wanting to help our bodies fight off the HPV infection.

New viral infections continue to develop globally such as Ebola, MERS-CoV, and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Several antiviral herbs have been highlighted for their broad-spectrum effect on the immune system.

We have outlined our top 10 favorite antiviral herbs to help your body ward off those persistent viruses.


Astragalus has been used in Chinese Medicine for centuries

Astragalus is a legume that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to replenish Qi. Qi is believed to be the vital energy of the body that helps boost the immune system. The herb is considered an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body maintain balance.

The herb has a stimulating effect on the immune system. Consuming Astragalus can increase the number of white blood cells that help us fight off pathogens like viruses.

Particularly, Astragalus has been found to have an effect on cardiovascular and neuroendocrine systems. It has also been used in the treatment of a wide variety of infections and an adjunction to cancer therapy.

The active compounds have also been specifically studied for their inhibitory effect on cervical epithelial cell growth (cervical cancer cell growth).

Green Tea Extract (EGCG)

Green Tea
Green Tea Extract can help antiviral response against a range of viruses

Another plant compound known to provide antiviral activities against viruses is green tea extract.

The active compounds within green tea are catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG has been found to play a role in cancer chemoprevention, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, and other biochemical disorders.

In viral infections, EGCG has been found to inhibit the early stage of infections by interfering with a viruses proteins.

Broccoli Sprout Extract

Broccoli Sprout Extract
Broccoli sprout extract can help the body to repair damaged DNA

Several anti-viral compounds are found in broccoli sprout extract. Sulforaphane, Indole-3-carbinol, and DIM, which contain powerful metabolites that support the body in the repair of DNA damage.

Research has found sulforaphane exhibits anticancer activity, cardiovascular disease prevention, hypotensive effects, and myopia prevention. The anti-cancer effect of sulforaphane is due to its impact on phase II detoxification enzymes and prevention of generation of phase I.

Sulforaphane from broccoli seeds has been found to have high anti-viral activity on the influenza A virus as well as HPV.

Ganoderma Lucidum – Reishi Mushroom

Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi Mushroom has several potential benefits for HPV sufferers

Reishi is called the mushroom of immortality. Traditionally administered throughout Asia as a cancer treatment and to promote health and longevity.

The mushroom prevents infection by bacteria and viruses by providing an immune surveillance system, identifying and eliminating abnormal molecular patterns. Studies have found that Reishi inhibits cancer cell growth through activating proteins that induce apoptosis, cell death.

Clinical studies have also shown that the use of Reishi can dramatically impact the clearance of HPV.

AHCC – Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake Mushrooms
AHCC extract from Shiitake Mushrooms has potential to help support your body in fighting HPV and other viruses

Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) is an extract obtained from shiitake mushrooms.

The compound AHCC has been studied for its therapeutic role in protecting against viral infection in humans.

Promising research evaluating the use of AHCC on HPV showed a profoundly positive effect. 8/10 participants taking a daily dose of 3g of AHCC for 6 months, tested negative for HPV infection at the end of the study.

According to a new research paper published in Italy, AHCC has shown a protective response to a wide range of viral infections, and this could support its use in the prevention of human pathogenic coronavirus, including COVID-19.

AHCC has been extensively investigated as an immune stimulant in both animals and humans. The extract appears to be effective against West Nile virus, influenza virus, avian influenza virus, hepatitis C virus, papillomavirus, herpes virus, hepatitis B virus, and HIV.

Lentinula Edodes – Shiitake Mushroom

Lentinula edodes, or shiitake mushroom, is the third most cultivated mushroom worldwide. The mushroom is used commonly in cuisine and has also been found to have a number of therapeutic properties.

Shiitake impacts the immune system through its polysaccharide content. High levels of Beta-glucan in shiitake mushrooms are known to inhibit viral replication and tumor cell growth. Shiitake is also the medicinal mushroom that is used to produce AHCC.

Coriolus Versicolor – Turkey Tail

Turkey Tail
Turkey Tail is another mushroom with immune-boosting properties

Coriolus versicolor, better known as turkey tail, is a tree-growing mushroom. This herb has been used as another immune support for centuries.

Turkey tail contains polysaccharopeptides, Krestin (PSK) and Polysaccharid peptide (PSP) that have powerful immune-boosting properties.

The peptides in turkey tail have been found to increase immune cells, allowing the body to fight infections and naturally strengthen the immune system.

Turkey tail has also been studied for its effective clearance of oral HPV 16 and 18, and early stages of cervical cancer caused by HPV.

Korean Red Ginseng aka Panax Ginseng

Korean Red Ginseng
Red Ginseng has long been used as a natural remedy for reducing inflammation

Korean red ginseng is one of the oldest used traditional medicines. The slow-growing root is a popular remedy for reducing inflammation and creating balance in the body.

Studies have found ginsenoside extracts from ginseng to have anti-inflammatory effects on cells, increasing the antioxidant capacity in cells.

Korean ginseng has been specifically studied for its diverse benefits on a range of viral infections. The roots have direct antiviral effects by inhibiting viral attachment, membrane penetration, and replication.


A popular supplement for use against colds and flus

Elderberry is a purple-colored berry derived from the elder tree. Traditionally used to fight infections, elderberry has become a common supplement to treat colds and flu.

Elderberry, has been studied for its anti-viral effect against infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), a pathogenic chicken coronavirus. The study found the extract was able to disrupt the virion structure and inhibit the virus at an early stage of infection.

Glycyrrhiza – Licorice Root

Licorice Root
Licorice root has been traditionally used around the globe to help with dry coughs

Licorice is one of the most widely used botanical medicines. Originally used in Egyptian, Chinese and Indian cultures for its role in alleviating viral respiratory tract infections like a dry cough or hoarseness.

Recent research has evaluated the underlying mechanisms of licorice in inhibiting viral infections. Finding licorice to play a role in supporting the liver and has an inhibitory effect on HIV replication.

Studies on the role of licorice on influenza virus have found it able to inhibit the recovery of hemagglutinins, suggesting a beneficial treatment of inflammatory processes related to viral infection. Following the SARS outbreaking 2003, licorice has been studied for its effect on inhibiting SARS-CoV replication in vitro.

Licorice extract should be taken with caution. Heavy consumption of licorice can increase the risk of hypertension and preterm birth in pregnancy.

So, how can you get started with taking anti-viral herbs?

These, as well as many other botanical compounds offer a natural and effective way to support the body through infection and disease. The growing research around herbs and their ability to influence the immune system provides a promising outlook for the future.

Papillex contains several of the well-researched herbs mentioned above including reishi mushroom (ganoderma), astragalus, green tea extract (EGCG), and broccoli sprout extract (sulphoraphane, DIM, I3C).

Before taking a new anti-viral herb you should consult with a naturopathic doctor or professional health care provider to ensure that it is a safe and effective fit for you.


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