Viral infections are particularly tough to deal with as they cannot be treated with antibiotics. They pose a challenge to the body’s immune system because they hide within the cells and use the cell to replicate. There are some antiviral medications for specific viral infections, but most of these medications cause severe side effects. Natural viral infection remedies help to fight the infection by boosting the body’s natural defenses against the virus.
Viral Infection Remedies With Ayurveda
1. Ashwagandha for the Flu
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has proven anti-viral activity and is often used to treat the influenza virus – which causes the flu. The active constituent of this herb is known as withaferin and it can help to stop the replication of the virus even in strains that are resistant to anti-viral medications. Ayurvedic texts recommend mixing ashwagandha root or leaf powder in a glass of warm milk to treat flu. If you do not have access to ashwagandha powder, you can use ashwagandha capsules instead.
2. Garlic for the Common Cold
Garlic is a therapeutic powerhouse as it has natural antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. Studies show that allicin and ajoene – the active bio-agents in garlic are effective against the rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. Garlic can also be used to treat viral pneumonia as well as the herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores. A glass of warm garlic milk before going to bed will help to reduce the severity of cold symptoms and will also reduce the recovery period. Garlic oil supplements contain the natural compounds found in garlic and can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic.
3. Soapbark for Gastroenteritis
Soapbark (Quillaja Saponaria) is often used to treat cough and bronchitis but recent studies show that soapbark extract is effective in the treatment and prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis. The rotavirus is particularly dangerous as it causes severe gastroenteritis in children and leads to 60,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations in the US every year. Soapbark extract contains active triterpenoid saponins, which block the rotavirus from entering cells and also exhibit strong immune-enhancing activity. Soapbark capsules are effective as a standalone treatment or as an adjunct to the rotavirus vaccine.
4. Pomegranate for Genital Herpes
The pomegranate (Punica Granatum) tree is generally associated with the delicious fruit it provides but studies show that the pomegranate plant has antiviral properties. The aqueous extract of the pomegranate plant is effective in treating genital herpes as well as meningitis and encephalitis. Currently, there is no known cure for genital herpes and once you are infected, the lesions will recur from time to time; however, the pomegranate plant may help to reduce the frequency of the sores and allow them to heal faster. In India, a healing decoction is made from the leaves, roots, and bark of the tree but supplements that contain pomegranate extract will also be effective in treating herpes.
5. Neem as a Broad Spectrum Anti-viral Treatment
The neem (Azadirachta Indica) tree is one of the most revered medicinal plants in India and is mentioned in almost every Ayurvedic text. This is because it has a wide range of therapeutic benefits including potent anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-carcinogenic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. Studies show that neem extract is effective against multiple viruses and could be used as a broad spectrum anti-viral treatment. Traditionally, the leaves and bark of the neem tree is boiled to make a bitter decoction but neem supplements will be just as effective.
Viral infection remedies that are used at home tend to be slow acting and the results can vary among different individuals. While they can help your body fight and recover from infections, you also need to ensure that you follow a healthy diet to provide it with adequate nutrition to support healthy immune function. In case of severe symptoms or any deterioration in your condition, make sure to visit your health care provider for an accurate diagnosis and medical treatment, as some viral infections can cause life threatening complications if not managed appropriately.
- Cai, Zhi, et al. “Promising Anti-Influenza Properties of Active Constituent of Withania Somnifera Ayurvedic Herb in Targeting Neuraminidase of H1N1 Influenza: Computational Study.” Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics, vol. 72, no. 3, 2015, pp. 727–739., doi:10.1007/s12013-015-0524-9.
- Bayan, Leyla, Peir Hossain Koulivand, and Ali Gorji. “Garlic: A Review of Potential Therapeutic Effects.” Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine 4.1 (2014): 1–14. Print.
- Roner, Michael R, Ka Ian Tam, and Melody Kiesling-Barrager. “Prevention of Rotavirus Infections in Vitro with Aqueous Extracts of Quillaja SaponariaMolina.” Future medicinal chemistry 2.7 (2010): 1083–1097. PMC. Web. 3 July 2018.
- Jadhav, Priyanka et al. “Antiviral Potential of Selected Indian Medicinal (Ayurvedic) Plants Against Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2.” North American Journal of Medical Sciences 4.12 (2012): 641–647. PMC. Web. 3 July 2018.
- Alzohairy, Mohammad A. “Therapeutics Role Of Azadirachta Indica (Neem) and Their Active Constituents in Diseases Prevention and Treatment.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2016 (2016): 7382506. PMC. Web. 3 July 2018.