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Winter is when we need more antiviral protections. We all seem to be increasingly vulnerable to all kinds of illnesses caused by viruses, including the flu, strep throat, or the common cold.
Unlike bacterial infections, which can be easily cured with antibiotics, viruses do their best to resist until our bodies finally fight them. This year it is especially important to protect ourselves from the Influenza (flu) and the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV infection) that has already caused more than 1000 deaths.
Here are some natural ways to protect yourself from viruses and keep your immune system strong.
-Ginger: It has been used medicinally for over 5,000 years and is known to be one of the healthiest spices on the planet. Fresh and dried ginger can treat a variety of ailments, including viral infections and fevers. It contains the natural oil gingerol, which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that remove toxins from the body. There are endless ways to add ginger to your diet, the most effective being fresh ginger tea. Make it at home: in a pot, cut a piece of fresh ginger (with the peel) and pour boiling water over it. Add honey and lemon and you have the perfect cold remedy.
-Green Tea: Green tea has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antimicrobial properties. It contains catechins, a specific group of flavonoids that block the enzymes of viral infections, stopping their reproduction. Here's how to make your next drink to get the maximum benefits. Boil some water, take your favorite cup and put a green tea bag inside, pour the boiling water over the tea bag and let it steep for 10 minutes before removing the bag and drinking. You can tilt the same blades 2-3 times to get the maximum catechin value.
-Elderberry: They have been used throughout history to reduce the severity and duration of viral infections. Daily doses of 60 ml for adults and 30 ml for children can lead to a full recovery in as little as 3 days. The elderberry extract binds to the spikes of a viral protein and destroys them, rendering the virus ineffective. The most common way to consume elderberry is through supplements and syrup, both of which are found in any health food / supplement section.
-Garlic: Beginning in ancient India and Europe, garlic has been used to treat a variety of infections and infectious diseases. Garlic has a long-standing reputation as a powerful antimicrobial, with antibacterial and antiviral properties, which are great for fighting the flu and the common cold. It contains the compound allicin that strengthens the immune system's ability to fight germs and increases the response of white blood cells to fight disease when they encounter viruses. Garlic can be incorporated into any diet whether it be raw (pasta sauces, gravy, sandwiches), cooked (meat or tofu marinade), or even in a honey and ginger tea.
-Melisa (Melissa Officinalis): This lemon-scented plant has several antiviral properties that effectively treat the common cold, flu, and cold sores. Lemon balm blocks the attachment of virus-infected cells to healthy cells, which slows and stops the spread of the virus within the body. Lemon balm can be picked up at your local grocery store and used as a replacement for lemon peel in a variety of recipes, or even as a tea. To make a lemon balm tea, simply put 1 tablespoon of lemon balm leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes, strain, and enjoy.
-Grass of San Juan: It has multiple active ingredients including hypericin, hyperforin, and adhyperforin that are responsible for many medicinal benefits. This herb has been used since the time of the ancient Greeks to treat a variety of ailments. St. John's wort helps fight viruses and boosts the immune system. This herb can be purchased in supplement form at your local health store.
-Mix of 4 essential oils: This essential oil blend is an extremely powerful combination of lemon, cinnamon bark, cloves, rosemary, and eucalyptus. It has antiseptic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, and immunostimulating / stimulating properties. This oil, when diffused, is even shown to significantly reduce the levels of various bacteria in the air. This essential oil blend can be used day to day through a diffuser that disperses it throughout the room, massage, lotions and spray application.
-Grape seed extract: Grape seed extracts have proven antimicrobial properties and have been shown to treat a variety of infections (fungal and viral). It is derived from the pulp and seeds of a grape. Grape seed extract has documented antiviral activities against multiple viruses, including human norovirus, which is shown to increase with time and dose. It is a preventive option against viral diseases transmitted by food. Grape seed extract is a supplement available in capsules, tablets, and in liquid drop form.
-Licorice root: It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries due to its strong antiviral effects. It is full of triterpenoid compounds, which strongly increase viral immunity. Licorice root is also recognized as a broad spectrum antiviral. Licorice also contains glycyrrhizin which reduces virus replication and prevents attack on healthy cells. There are two main ways to take licorice root: through supplements or tea. Use 15 grams of dried licorice root per cup of water, bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
-Calendula: Although used more as an ornamental plant, calendula has been shown to fight viruses by reducing their ability to multiply. It contains high levels of flavonoids that protect healthy cells from harmful free radicals. The oils and acids contained in the plant have been shown to effectively fight pathogens and various strains of bacteria due to their antimicrobial and antiviral components. Calendula petals can be added fresh to salads and sauces or dried and used in tea.