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Herbs for Flu and Viruses

Right now, everyone is scrambling and upset over Covid-19, and I totally understand why. I've currently moved to work-at-home for my main job due to some of my immunity issues, and I'm actively practicing social distancing on a regular basis. I have picked up a couple of things that I ordered online from small local stores, but that is about it recently. (Oh and I picked up my sewing machine because all of my pottery classes that I've been taking have been canceled!)

Here are a few suggestions for the flu and viruses. As usual, check with your doctor and even WebMD for any interactions with medicines that you are currently taking. This is especially important if you have food sensitivities - check with your doctor before using herbal medicine.

COVID-19 is a new game for us, but these are some traditionally used herbal medicines that may help you get through this. As usual - if you start to exhibit issues breathing, it would be highly recommended that you see a doctor. COVID-19 attacks the lungs and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the lungs - it is nothing to mess with, should you start having these issues.

Antiviral Herbs

I've concentrated on easier to find varieties that you can add to cooking.

Oregano - super effective herb against viruses. The essential oil is highly caustic, so I recommend the herbal form. Use in cooking, chew on one throughout your day - it will definitely help you!

Sage - Very effective antiviral that has been used for years. Diffuse the essential oil in your home or work area, and add to dishes or eat raw.

Basil - May fight certain viral infections. Another easy-to-find herb that you can added to dishes or eat raw.

Rosemary - This herb contains a compound called oleanic acid. Oleanolic acid has displayed antiviral activity against herpes viruses, HIV, influenza, and hepatitis in animal and test-tube studies.

Garlic - Easily obtained, easily added to dishes! Animal and test-tube studies indicate that garlic enhances immune system response by stimulating protective immune cells, which may safeguard against viral infections.

Lemon Balm - Lemon balm is a lemony plant that’s commonly used in teas and seasonings. It’s also celebrated for its antiviral medicinal properties. Find this herb and steep it in a tea for added health benefits.

Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower) - Echinacea has an impressive amount of immune-boosting properties, and echinacea purpurea, a variety that produces cone-shaped flowers, was used by Native Americans to treat a wide array of conditions, including viral infections.

Ginger - Ginger has been shown to have impressive antiviral activity thanks to its high concentration of potent plant compounds.

Dandelion - Dandelions are widely regarded as weeds but have been studied for multiple medicinal properties, including potential antiviral effects. If you harvest these from the wild - make sure that you are getting them from an area where pesticides haven't been used.

Ready Made Remedies

This is a great tonic for if you can't make your own Fire Cider! It contains apple cider vinegar, raw honey, onion bulbs, garlic bulbs, ginger root, chili peppers, horseradish roots, dandelion leaves, tumeric roots - so it's basically a simple Fire Cider. Fire Cider is an excellent antiviral that can be homemade. I'll throw in my recipe below!

I threw in this because I have found that Mickelberry Gardens tonics are available nationwide from CVS Pharmacies.

If your nerves are constantly frazzled from being afraid and panicking, you need relaxation to help your immune system work properly. This honey tonic contains apple cider vinegar, lemon balm, and skullcap, which are also antiviral herbs. Anti-anxiety herbs included are passionflower, chamomile, and lavender essential oils. This one is a blend that is good for cold and flu season and also helps with your anxiety from all of the changes and infections going on in society right now. Also available at CVS Pharamcies nationwide, or online.

This is a great natural cough syrup without added nasties from commercial cough syrup. Contains honey, apple cider vinegar, wild cherry bark to help with coughs, mullein leaf to help with lung health, stinging nettle leaf, rose hips , sage leaves, echinacea tops, bee propolis, and organic lemon essential oil.

Sarah at Scorpio Rising Botanicals is local to the Kansas City metro area (Independence) and offers three different herbal oxymels (a mixture of vinegar and honey) Spicy CBD, Purple Dead Nettle and Mulled Elderberry. I would recommend the Purple Dead Nettle and Spicy CBD for antivirals specific to COVID-19. Elderberry has been shown to produce some issues with the way it works when you have this virus. Sarah offers local pick-up if you are interested in saving on shipping!

Wishgarden Herbs makes wonderfully effective blends that are available nationwide at Sprout's and Natural Grocer's. This blend includes baptisia root, elder flower, yerba santa leaves, yarrow aerial parts, echinacea root, goldenseal root extract, lovage root, cinnamon bark and osha roots, all of which are great for the immune system. Dosage is 3-4 droppers full, I tend to use mine in juice because of the taste, 3-4 times per day.

Sarah offers several different supportive herbal blends for this time of year. Let's face it, spring time is always a time to get flus and colds, but these could also be effective support against other viruses.

The herbs in Breathe Easy Elixir have traditionally been used to support immune systems in times of crisis as well as to help promote easy respiration in the lower and upper respiratory system.

The Reishi Double Extraction tincture contains wildcrafted reishi mushrooms, which are an effective antiviral but also an adaptogen, cardiotonic, hepaprotective, lung tonic, nervine, and immunomodulator. Basically - it's very healthy for you to take, and if you get a virus or flu, very effective in helping you overcome it.

The Adapt & Restore tincture is helpful for nervous system stress, especially for someone who has been stressed out for more than three months! So it's a great support for your body and immune system and helps you tie together those frazzled nerves.

Lastly, this is an easy and effective Fire Cider recipe that I have personally adapted to be a great antiviral agent.

Fire Cider with a Big Kick

Two bottles raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg's is great! Sam's Club also has an affordable organic variety.)

Local honey

One whole red onion

Two whole garlic bulbs

Horseradish root

Turmeric root

Ginger root

Cayenne or jalapeno peppers (about four)





One lemon

One orange

Three sticks of cinnamon

I chopped up all of these ingredients (including the lemon and orange, which I sliced lengthwise and left the peel on) and added the ingredients into a mix to four large jars.

You may want to use less if you plan on only making a jar for yourself! It will keep for quite awhile, though, so sometimes keeping it on hand is a good idea.

I then poured the apple cider vinegar (ACV) over them.

You can add a bit of honey now, but don't add too much as you will add more later on.

Wait four to six weeks for this mixture to settle.

Strain into a bowl using cheesecloth, and then rebottle into your previous bottles.

Add a couple of tablespoons of honey (to taste) to make this a little less tangy.

I recommend refrigerating this, but it will last about a year without refrigeration, kept in a cool and dark area away from sunlight. Refrigeration may prolong the use - just check a small amount to make sure that it's still good before proceeding to take a larger amount.

I will note that if you happen to find yourself with a cold or virus, you can take a bit of the liquid out of this mix before it's sat for the full six weeks. If you need it - it's there for you.

There are many ways to enjoy this elixir.

  • Take a shot (about 1-2 Tablespoons) straight up

  • Dilute the fire cider tonic with warm water, juice or apple cider

  • Swap vinegar in a salad dressing for fire cider

  • Add to fried rice or the healthier version, cauliflower fried rice

  • Use in a Bloody Mary - non-alcoholic preferred, as it keeps the antiviral properties intact

  • Drizzle over steamed veggies

  • Use as a marinade for tofu, meat, etc.

  • Add to soup or chili

  • Use as a hangover cure

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