How to treat viral infections naturally
By Sogol Mousavi
Depending on your age, your mother or grandmother probably used some type of herbs or plants to aid in healing you when you were ill without you realising it. Even in the world of natural health, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial remedies are far more common than those which effectively combat viral infections. However, such remedies do exist!(4) Read on to find out about the most powerful anti-viral foods and herbs, which can not only help you ward off cold and flu bugs this winter, but also improve your health and resistance to several other dangerous viruses that one can be exposed to year round.
One such example is HPV, which is in the top 5 most commonly reported STIs in Australia. HPV is a group of common viruses that are shared through skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity, and are highly infectious. According to the World Health Organisation, there are over 100 types of HPV, of which 13 are high risk (known to cause cancer) (1).
Currently, a visit to the doctor is needed for a proper diagnosis. Common treatments may include antiviral drugs, topical medications, or minor surgery. Most cases of HPV go away on their own, but there is no cure for a HPV infection. However, there are a few ways to treat the symptoms naturally.
The first is through diet by increasing your consumption of immune-boosting foods. This includes green leafy vegetables, which provide Vitamin A, and foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and capsicum. Probiotics, such as Greek yogurt or fermented food and drinks such as miso soup or kombucha, will also contribute to fighting the infection (2).
The second way is through the use of antiviral herbs to enhance the immune system and prevent viral infections. In addition, they can be used to provide cardiovascular, digestive, and anti-inflammatory support. They can be used as infusions, teas, or herb-infused oils. The top antiviral herbs include Elderberry, Echinacea, Calendula, Garlic, Astragalus Root, Cat’s Claw, Ginger and Liquorice Root. Golden Seal is also another herbal option that acts as an antimicrobial, which makes it an effective natural antibiotic and immune system booster (2).
Before using these antiviral and antibacterial herbs, it would be wise to consult with a naturopath or herbalist, so they can provide dosing instructions, as every individual is unique and different herbs should be consumed in different quantities and in different ways. Furthermore, although most herbs are considered to be safe, there is still the possibility of drug interaction. Always consult a doctor before stopping any medications or taking any herbal supplements, particularly if you are pregnant or nursing (3).
Naturopathy appointments are available in the Endeavour Wellness Clinic six days a week, with evening clinics available Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and weekend appointments are also available. To book a consultation please book online or call the clinic 1300 859 785.
1. Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer [Internet]. World Health Organization. World Health Organization; 2016 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs380/en/
2. Goolsby J. 11 Anti-Viral Herbs for Fighting HPV [Internet]. Dr. Axe. 2017 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from: https://draxe.com/how-to-treat-hpv/
3. 20 of the Best Antiviral and Antibacterial Herbs and Plants Ever! [Internet]. NaturalON – Natural Health News and Discoveries. 2015 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from: http://naturalon.com/20-of-the-best-antiviral-and-antibacterial-herbs-and-plants-ever/view-all/
4. 7 Anti-Viral Foods That Will Keep You Healthy Year-Round [Internet]. Natural Living Ideas. 2016 [cited 2017Sep12]. Available from: http://www.naturallivingideas.com/anti-viral-foods/