Throat cancer linked to HPV infection
Chinese researchers examined 55 studies and found that 28% of laryngeal cancer patients had cancerous tissues positive for human papillomavirus infection. An analysis of 12 studies showed that cancerous throat tissues were 5.4 times more likely to test positive for HPV infection compared with non-cancerous tissues. The findings appeared in the Journal of Infectious
By Genevra Pittman NEW YORK | Fri Nov 30, 2012
(Reuters Health) – A sexually transmitted infection usually thought of in connection to cervical cancer is also tied to a five times greater risk of cancer of the vocal chords or voice box, a new report suggests.
Combining the results of 55 studies from the past two decades, Chinese researchers found 28 percent of people with laryngeal cancers had cancerous tissue that tested positive for human papillomavirus (HPV).
But that rate varied widely by study, from no throat cancer patients with HPV to 79 percent with the infection.
“We’re finding that HPV appears to be linked to a number of squalors cell carcinomas of the head, neck and throat,” said Dr. William Mendenhall, a radiation oncologist from the University of Florida in Gainesville who didn’t participate in the analysis.
However, he told Reuters Health, “I think the risk of HPV on laryngeal cancer is probably relatively low. Most of the patients we see currently that come in with laryngeal cancer have a strong history of cigarette smoking, also heavy drinking.”
Along with tobacco and alcohol, having a poor diet and exposure to certain chemicals can increase a person’s risk of laryngeal and other head and neck cancers.
The American Cancer Society estimates 12,360 people will be diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in the United States in 2012 and that there will be 3,650 deaths from the disease.
Along with their larger review, researchers led by Dr. Xiangwei Li, from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking University Medical College in Beijing, analyzed 12 studies that compared cancerous and non-cancerous tissues from a total of 638 patients. They found the cancerous throat tissue had 5.4 times the odds of testing positive for HPV infection, compared to non-cancerous tissue.
The analysis was published last week in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Mendenhall said that of all head and neck cancers, HPV seems to play the biggest role not in laryngeal cancer, but in cancer of the tonsils and back of the tongue.
However, he added, “the exposure is probably decades earlier. Someone who develops a base of tongue cancer when they’re 50, they probably were exposed to the virus years before, in their teens or 20s.”
At least half of sexually-active people get HPV at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but the virus is usually cleared by the immune system. Only some of the 40-plus HPV strains have been tied to cancer.
Based on the current findings, it’s difficult to know how many of the laryngeal cancers in the original studies were actually caused by the virus, researchers said.
But Mendenhall said extending HPV vaccination to boys and young men, as the CDC has recommended, “will hopefully reduce at least some of these HPV-related cancers.”
SOURCE: bit.ly/U4DHm8 Journal of Infectious Diseases, online November 21, 2012.
(This story corrects journal name in paragraph 9 and source line in story posted Nov 30, 2012.)
HPV , a DHerbs.com article
The human papillomavirus is a virus that infects keratinocytes (cells on the outer skin) or mucous membranes of humans. There are over a hundred and twenty different varieties that have been identified.
It is estimated that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Although most of the most common varieties of HPV cause no symptoms in humans, some can create warts (including but not limited to genital warts) while others (in a small number of cases) may lead to cancers of the vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, oropharynx, and anus. Recent studies suggest that HPV may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, while HPV 16 and 18 infections are associated with increased risk of developing oropharyngeal (throat) cancer
Causes and Risks
There are three ways that HPV can be transmitted.
First, genital HPV types can be transmitted from mother to child during birth. However, the occurrence of such transmissions is relatively rare, with about two cases per 100,000 children occurring in the United States.
Second, it is also theoretically possible to become infected by sharing contaminated objects. For instance, finger-genital contact would have the capacity to transmit the virus, although such transmission is also very rare.
The most common means of transmission is via sexual intercourse. There are at least forty HPV varieties that infect the genital tract. As Doctor Laura Egendorf shows in the book Sexually Transmitted Diseases, if a woman in college has at least one different partner per year for four years, the likelihood that she will leave college with an HPV infection is greater than 85%.
Not everyone suffering from HPV will experience the same symptoms. There are those who have HPV but experience no symptoms at all. The explanation below offers information on the most commonly reported symptoms experienced.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the body’s immune system will naturally clear away HPV within two years for 90% of the cases. The most common physical symptoms are skin and genital warts.
The skin warts have different names depending on their location and impact on the human body. They include:
- Common warts: occur on areas such as the hands, feet, elbows, and knees. In general they have a cauliflower-like surface and are raised from the skin.
- Plantar warts: found on the soles of the feet. These warts are difficult because they grow inward and create pain upon walking.
- Subungal/periungal warts: form under the fingernail (subungal) or around the finger and cuticle area (periungal). Because of their location, they can be more difficult to treat.
- Flat warts: most commonly found on the arms, face, and forehead. They frequently occur in children and teenagers.
Unlike genital warts, skin warts are not likely to spread from person to person.
Many different varieties of HPV can lead to genital warts. However, types 6 and 11 account for about 90% of all genital warts cases. It is important to remember that even if you or your partner is not displaying genital warts, the infection can still be transmitted.
Doctors believe there is no medical cure for HPV. DHerbs believes the body can heal itself, given the opportunity.
There are ways to protect your self from HPV, although they range in the degree of effectiveness. There are measures that can be taken to help prevent the transmission of the virus, but the only way to guarantee no exposure, and therefore no way to contract the virus, is through abstinence.
The male condom may also reduce the risk of HPV infections. It provides a lesser degree of protection when compared to other STDs because it can also be transmitted by exposure to infected skin and mucosal areas that are not protected by the condom. Female condoms are slightly more effective because they protect more of the skin. Some studies suggest that regular condom use limits the spread of HPV to other body parts on already-infected individuals. In conclusion, be smart about sex. Get regular health exams, and make sure that your partner does too.
Human papilloma virus can be treated with herbs. There are many known herbal protocols for HPV, including essential oils and immune-system boosting herbs taken as a tonic. Essential oils of thuja and tea tree, can help eliminate warts.
Immune system enhancing herbs used in the eradication of HPV include:
• Astragalus: This herb promotes the resistance to disease. It increases the level of interferon and antibodies in the body and also stimulates the activity of T-helper cells. This helps in treating immune-deficient diseases.
• Goldenseal: This is antibacterial and helps in the eradication of warts.
• Reishi Mushroom Extract: This herb is a potent stimulant of the immune system. It wards off many types of viral diseases.
• Green Tea extract: It contains polyphenols, catechins and falvonoids, which are protective anti-carcinogens. A study of 51 patients showed 69 percent reduction in cervical dysplasia lesions/HPV in patients who received green tea extracts as either an ointment or capsule (Ahn WS et al 2003).
• Curcumin: Is an herbal extract of Turmeric, which affects the cellular transcription responses. It is mainly effective against high risk HPV 16.
• Echinacea: It helps to fight HPV by enhancing the body’s immune response.
• Lemon balm: This antiviral herb is useful for the treatment of warts.
• Birch: This herb contains a mild acid, betulinic acid, which breaks down the hard wart coverings.
• Garlic: Garlic juice can be applied topically for the elimination of warts.
• Olive Leaf: Effective against different types of viruses as well as HPV.
• Ginkgo Biloba: Performs as an anti-oxidant and prevents cellular damage.
• Bayberry: A herb used to strengthen local resistance to infection and thus can be used as a topical treatment for warts.
• Hawthorn: Herb includes flavonoids and tannins used in healing HPV.
• Red Clover: Red clover is one of the richest sources of isoflavones, are found to decrease the risk of cancer reoccurrence in women.
• Fenugreek: An herb that prevents cancer by raising the levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and other antioxidants in the blood stream.
The herbs included in Papillex, a phytoceutical complex formulated to treat HPV naturally, are:
• Green tea extract
• Reishi Mushroom Extract
HPV herbal treatments (according to LIVESTRONG.com):
- Echinacea Root -. According to “Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine,” echinacea simulates the production of white blood cells and lymphocytes, which have the ability to attack pathogenic micro-organisms such as HPV.
- Goldenseal Root – is a perennial herb in the buttercup family and also used medicinally by Native Americans. Goldenseal root was traditionally used to clean wounds, treat inflammation and heal skin afflictions, although its antibiotic and antiviral properties are now better understood. Goldenseal can be taken internally or applied externally to the genital warts, where it is effective at killing viruses.
- Chaparral Leaf – Natives of the Southwest used chaparral leaves as a treatment for many viral diseases, including sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and chicken pox. Contemporary use of chaparral has proven to have strong antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-tumor properties, as cited in “Medical Herbalism.” Chaparral is also a good anti-inflammatory and increases vitamin C levels in the adrenal glands.
- Olive Leaf Extract has been used medicinally for countless generations in the Mediterranean and Middle East where olive trees commonly grow. Olive leaf extract is rich in phytochemicals and has been used for fighting common colds and influenzas. Timesonline.co.uk reports that research in 2005 at Southern Cross University in Australia proves olive leaf extract has antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Fresh olive leaf extract was shown to have an antioxidant capacity almost double that of green tea extract and 400 percent higher than vitamin C.
- Astragalus is a Chinese medicinal herb used since ancient times. Astragalus has antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which enhance the immune system and improve the body’s ability to fight off viral infections, such as HPV
BACK TO EDEN 12-DAY CLEANSE METHOD from Victory over HPV Virus:
The backbone of her initial program was a twelve-day cleanse, restricting her diet to only foods that she could juice, along with water, tea, and vegetable soup. In other words, no bananas, no avocados, no grains, seeds, nuts, beans, meats, fish, eggs, or dairy — just lots of fresh watery fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, the first nutritional line of defense.
In herbalist John Christopher’s mucusless diet, he recommends three juices — grape, apple, and carrot — each having specific healing properties. Without a juicer, J.T. decided to skip the carrot juice, and since she doesn’t much like grape juice, she selected apple juice to be her juice of choice for the next twelve days. She bought two gallons of organic apple juice and set about drinking a cupful, warm or cold, about every three waking hours.
She loves fresh, garden-grown tomatoes, and August was the perfect month for those. There were also lots of organic salads, corn on the cob, an apple a day, and lots of celery sticks.
To her surprise, she wasn’t particularly hungry, and the chronic fatigue that had plagued her for over twenty years went away. Her chronic devastating headaches diminished, and her “brain fog” disappeared as well. The shocking news seemed to have turned into a blessing, as she would never have chosen to do a twelve-day fruit-and-vegetable fast otherwise.
Her supplement regimen included the LBS II she had used for years, along with other Nature’s Sunshine products: Liver Cleanse Formula, Kidney Activator, Astragalus — a wonderful immune-supporting herb, safe for people with auto-immune diseases — and MSM, which has specific anti-cancer properties. Not a terribly heavy program, all things considered.
A few days into the program, J.T. attended a muscle-testing workshop held at the Natural Market in Groton and reported feeling “wonderful!” During a scan of products in the store, her energy field was drawn to NSP Alfalfa. We muscle-tested out amounts — two, twice a day — and added it to her program
Later, doing a bit of research on her own, she found that alfalfa was also useful for raising pH and fighting cervical (and other) cancers. She was excited that her body had picked out such a useful herb all on its own.
Finally the twelve days passed, and J.T. began adding some foods from her old diet back into her daily life. Surprise! She reports, “The first time I ate an English muffin, I got so ill, I had to go lie down! Pasta did the same thing to me. I never considered wheat as the cause of my chronic conditions.
“Before, whenever I ate, I would have to go lie down, like somebody pulled the plug. Miraculously, during my twelve-day cleanse, it all went away — the exhaustion, the brain fog, all of it! Now I do rice and corn, potatoes and yams. I haven’t given up carbs. As long as I don’t touch wheat, my exhaustion is completely gone — and it hasn’t come back.”
That alone would have been a happy ending to J.T.’s story — but it’s not the end. After three months, wheat-free and on her herbal regimen, she returned to her OB/GYN for her follow-up testing. The doctor, in turn, was shocked by the initial report — the HPV viral testing (a new test) found no traces of the virus. Viruses may go dormant, but they’re not supposed to go away.
Needless to say, J.T. was thrilled! They both waited with bated breath for the PAP smear test results — the check on the cells themselves — to come in. It, too, was clean! And with no virus left behind, there seems to be no reason for concern regarding her dysplasia’s return
From Susan Weed’s article “Grandmother Speaks…Genital Warts; Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) “:
The best strategy is to nourish the immune system…“Regardless of treatment, one in four HPV-infected people will have a recurrence within three months.”
- Homeopathic Thuja is a “ground remedy” for the genitals, and is especially indicated when there are genital warts. Higher dilutions, such as 30C, are best.
- While there is no food that prevents or cures HPV infections, the likelihood of warts or cancer is determined by the immune system – which can be nourished and strengthened with whole grains, well-cooked greens, roots, cabbage family plants, olive oil, organic dairy products and meats, onions, garlic, seaweed, mushrooms, and nourishing herbal infusions of astragalus, burdock, and nettle.
- St. Joan’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a natural antiviral. One of its alkaloids, pseudo-hypericin, kills HIV. But ingesting it in concentrated form causes hypersensitivity to sunlight, making it useless as a drug. Fortunately, the tincture of the fresh plant – even in large, frequent doses – counters viruses without triggering sensitivity. Avoid capsules or teas; they can cause sensitivity. When I feel the need to prevent a viral infection, I use one dropperful of Hypericum tincture in a little water three or four times a day for a few days. When I want to treat viral infections, I use one or two dropperfuls in water every hour or two until symptoms abate, and continue at a lower dose until I no longer need it.
- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) are mint family plants with antiviral constituents which are especially effective as salves.
- Celandine (Celadonium majus) juice is the most effective way I know to remove external genital warts. It is safe, painless, and easy to use if you live where evergreen celandine grows – in Europe, in North America, from Nova Scotia to Georgia and west to Missouri, throughout Europe, and in waste places in temperate-zone cities. The fresh sap from leaf stalks or the root works fastest, and best, but topical applications of tincture are somewhat effective, too.
- American mandrake (Podophyllum peltatum) is the acknowledged queen of external genital wart destruction. This poisonous plant is used in a concentrated form – Podophyllin – as a topical treatment. Although plant-based, Podophyllin can cause severe side-effects, including burns that scar, fatal reactions, and birth defects or fetal death if used during pregnancy. To prevent damage to healthy tissues, all skin except for the warts must be thoroughly covered with petroleum jelly before it is applied, and the Podophyllin must be wiped off before it penetrates too deeply, usually within one to four hours. Weekly treatments over six or more weeks are the norm. A less concentrated, and thus safer form – Podofilox – is available by prescription for use at home. (But trichloroacetic acid is safer, and celandine is more fun.)
- Eastern white cedar, Thuja occidentalis, is the “tree of life.” Thuja is primarily a homeopathic remedy, but thuja tincture or essential oil applied twice a day to genital warts can “burn” them off.
- Trichloroacetic acid is as effective as Podophyllin in removing warts, but less likely to leave scars or provoke severe systemic reactions, and is considered safe to use during pregnancy. It is applied in the doctor’s office, usually weekly for six weeks.
From “HPV and Herbal Treatment” by Joshua Muscat
The basis of treatment has been the use of one of the two species of western red cedar (Thuja plicata or Thuja occidentalis). No conclusive research has been conducted to show exactly how it is that Thuja is working, but I theorize based on the research that there is that it is stimulating CD4 T-cells. CD4 T-cells are heavily invested in scavenging viri-infected cells. I think that most likely Thuja accomplishes what the cauterization and cryosurgery attempt to achieve (stimulus to the antibody recognition of the HPV infection) without any of the tissue damage, discomfort, and general distress. Using Thuja for this purpose however does requrie a bit of work on the user end. If indeed Thuja is working via immune stimulus, then it is possible that it may make recurrence less likely due to immune memory and thus the bodies ability to fend off the virus through future recognition and early response.
Two preparations of Thuja are needed for women. The first is a fresh plant tincture of Thuja leaves. This is a preparation where freshly picked Leaves are soaked in a bath of 200 proof alcohol at a ratio of one part herb by weight to two parts alcohol by volume. When shopping for such a preparation just tell the person at the herb store or health food store that you need fresh Thuja tincture 1:2. They will know what you are talking about. The tea is not an acceptable alternative. 30 drops of the tincture should be combined in a cup with just enough water to be soaked up by a tampon (experiment with the water in order to get the right amount). Get a tampon with a plastic applicator and place it in the cup until it sucks up all the water. At this point insert the tampon. You may wish to change the tampon two or three times a day depending on what you feel comfortable with.
Also you will want to get some Thuja essential oil. It is important to note that if used improperly, Thuja essential oil can be a harmful substance (damaging the nervous system and kidneys). If used as directed however, it is perfectly safe. One other problem with essential oils in general is that most of what is on the market is very poor quality. Many manufactures cut their essential oils with other ingredients to stretch their profits. This is fine if you are making scented candles, but it becomes a problem if you want to use an essential oil as medicine. The only company that I know has quality products is Original Swiss Aromatics (I am sure there are others, but I do not know what they are). In any case inquire about the source of the oil before you buy it, and as a rule of thumb essential oils that are real are also expensive (I would expect $10-$15 for 15ml). Once the oil has been procured then fill a one-ounce bottle with olive oil and add 20-30 drops of essential oil. Apply this mixture onto the outer effected areas three times a day. Continue treatment for two to three weeks after all signs of the warts are gone and pap smears have returned to normal.
For men only the olive oil and essential oil mix is necessary. Apply the mix three times a day onto the entire penis (and scrotum if necessary). Continue for two to three weeks after all signs of infection have cleared up. Some people choose to continue treatment for a couple weeks at a time periodically to ward off possible recurrence.
Some HPV herbal remedies:
From Hanna Kroeger’s book, “Heal Your Life with Home Remedies and Herbs. She recommends the following to eliminate HPV. Any sex partners should be treated at the same time: “Blue flag, blue malva, blue vervain, papaya leaves and mullein. Drink concord juice daily.”
This herbal combination is available from Kroeger Herbs in capsules at a cost of about $10.00 per bottle. It is called “Pap.” Take one bottle of this remedy, then test the body using medical radiesthesia. A homeopathic remedy called “HPV” is also available from some online stores and can be used in conjunction with the herbal remedy
UNDERSTANDING VIRAL INFECTIONS
Extracted from “Anti-Viral Activity of Plant Extracts and Herbs” by Jill Davies, PhD”
Over 400 different viruses are known to infect humans and cause diseases – ranging from the common cold to certain forms of cancer…Diseases caused by viral infection, include: colds, flu, hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), mononucleosis (glandular fever), shingles, childhood diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox, warts and verrucas, some forms of meningitis and encephalitis, polio, rabies, AIDS, and some forms of leukaemia and cancer.
A virus is really little more than a fragment of genetic material (RNA or DNA depending on the type of virus) enclosed within a protein ‘coat’ (known as a ‘capsid’) or to quote Peter Medawar’s memorable description as ‘simply a piece of bad news wrapped up in protein.’
Acute viral infections are a head on crash between a virus and the immune system. Unlike bacterial infections which gradually increase in their virulence, viral infections have what is known in the trade as a “one-step growth-curve”. A virus, once it has penetrated the host cell is no longer detectable (this is known as viral eclipse). It has the time to replicate itself many times over, totally unhindered by the immune system tucked away neatly inside its cosy host. Only releasing all these thousands of viruses when the cell literally bursts at the seams. One moment you are hale and hearty, the next POW! you are in the full throes of a major acute infection.
An acute infection is however not the only way a virus interacts with its host. Over the many generations of co-evolution viruses and hosts have adapted to each other. Even the common cold was a deadly plague 5,000 years ago, when it was a new kid on the block. Some viruses instead of precipitating an acute episode lie dormant within the hosts body – no viral proteins or particles are produced and these latent viruses remain in a state of suspended animation until the immune system weakens through stress, bacterial infection, accumulated toxins, or nutritional deficiency when, just when you needed it least, the virus makes the most of the lowered line of defence to have an outing itself. The herpes viruses are the archetypal examples of persistent latent viral infection. Cold sores the day before your most important interview, blind date, or family photo opportunity come courtesy of this very process of persistent latent viral infection. Post viral syndromes like Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS), a disease previously known as just CFS or ME also appears to be a persistent viral infection. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV – the virus that causes glandular fever), herpes virus number 6 (HSV6) and a retrovirus (the same type of virus as HIV and human leukaemia viruses) have all been put forward as the possible cause.
The worst plague of all time was not AIDS or the Bubonic plague but more recently in 1918, it wiped out about 40 million people in just a matter of months. No pandemic before or since has killed more in such a short time. In that year you could have been arrested for sneezing in public.
The disease? ‘Flu.
Influenza, a disease once thought to be the result of the influence of celestial transits, really has been the most dreadful viral disease in human history. What has made it such a scourge? Well, firstly, it is an RNA virus and so has a mutation rate up to 1 million times faster than DNA viruses. Only one other virus, HIV, mutates faster. Such changes mean that the needed remedies to stop the virus are continually changing, like shooting at a moving target. This process, known as ‘antigenic drift’ lies behind the yearly flu epidemics.
Flu doesn’t just infect human’s either, but also pigs and ducks. Ducks for example often have several different strains of ‘flu thriving in the digestive tract with no apparent effect but such close proximity of different strains very occasionally results in a genetic reshuffle producing a recombinent strain of increased virulence. The 1918 epidemic was a recombinent strain created in a pig cell – the epidemic was referred to as ‘Swine flu’. With flu there are two proteins on the viral coat, which determine the shape of the key, which needs to fit the host cell receptor to cause infection. They are known as H (for haemoglutinin) and N (for Neuraminidase). There are at least 14 different subtypes of H antigen and 9 of N antigen. Each subtype of H or N is totally different – the antibodies for one are no good for another. The combination of the two antigens gives the designation for the ‘flu viruses success. Over 140 subtypes of the virus, each mutating over a million times faster than DNA and occasionally being spliced together in the new combination in the bellies of pigs and ducks. Truth as they say?..
In 1969 the US surgeon general, William H Stewart made the now infamous statement “the war against infectious disease has been won”. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
In the modern era of AIDS, and under the threat of biological warfare, of Ebola, of emergent viruses and persistent latent viral infection, antiviral compounds will be needed for some years yet. The briefest glance over the way the world’s most deadly virus – influenza, – chops and changes might warn us to be on the look out for new antiviral herbal and plant compounds.
The ‘magic bullet’ approach of modern medicine originated with the scientist Ehrlich. The idea was to ‘blitz the bug and spare the host’. But this is not possible with a virus, as a virus only ‘comes alive’ when it becomes part of the host. This is why antiviral drugs lag so far behind antibiotics; there are only a handful. Luckily, however, whilst there are few effective antiviral drugs available, there are many plant extracts with proven antiviral activity.
Alongside antiviral and viral evolution the plant kingdom has been exposed to similar selection processes producing antiviral and immune stimulant properties and compounds. Many of the chemicals used by the plant to protect from viral infection also have antiviral activity in higher species. Using those antiviral herbs in combination with good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can continue to combat viral attacks and maintain our legacy as survivors.
The herbal approach to viral infection is two pronged:
· To stimulate the immune system and thus produce more immune cells and
· The specific use of antiviral herbs to disrupt the replication cycle so it cannot survive.
To support the immune system, herbalists have traditionally employed herbs that contain chemicals known by the tongue twisting designation “High Molecular Weight heterogenous polysaccharides”. Certain types of these chemicals enhance the body’s general immunity, for instance by increasing the total number of lymphocytes and helper T-cells or the activity of natural killer cells or macrophages (the ‘pac-man’ type of cell which gobbles up invaders) or by increasing the number of immune stimulating messenger molecules known as cytokines (e.g. interferon, interleukins).
Immune enhancing polysaccharides have been identified in herbs such as Siberian ginseng, astragalus, liquorice, bladderwrack and saw palmetto.
Traditionally, immune enhancing herbs like these are combined with those that increase the action of the eliminative channels. Detoxification and elimination is
fundamental to the enhancement of immune function. Herbs to support the eliminative channels include marshmallow and rehmannia for the kidneys, mullein and lobelia for the lungs, burdock and fenugreek for the skin and barberry and gentian for the digestion. The addition of herbs containing insulin, for instance burdock and elecampane, helps to balance blood sugar levels which is essential because fluctuations, either too high or too low, can considerably compromise immunity.
Nervines like skullcap and lobelia are often useful alongside these herbs to ease tension and counteract the action of stress, which is well-known to lower immunity.
The role of these immune enhancing herbs as part of a broad systemic treatment cannot be over-estimated – ultimately the body’s own defences are strengthened and recovery is therefore faster and complete. However, specific antiviral plants can also be of significant use in dealing with the “speeding” up of the destruction of the virus by the immune system, which is ultimately the only way of overcoming a viral infection.
Antiviral compounds from herbs interrupt the virus replication cycle at one of these stages. For example, the chemical known as prunellin (a sulphated polysaccharide) from Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris) blocks the receptor used by the HIV virus so the virus cannot ‘dock’. A different chemical from nettle roots (UDA – an N-acetylglucosamine specific lectin) inhibits the same virus but by preventing the genetic information from the virus fusing with the host cell’s genome.
Some compounds work by interfering with the enzymes needed to make copies of virus components. Pokeweed antiviral protein works in this way, as does baicalin (from Plantain) and Skullcap. These are all herbs found growing in our gardens, lawns and roadsides.
This next section explores the range of anti-viral remedies available and in use for various illnesses. Many foods and herbs are known for their antiviral properties, which means that they prevent or kill viruses. Some foods and herbs also have the ability to boost the immune system. So make your own antiviral herbal cocktails and teas:
THE BEST ANTIVIRAL FOODS AND HERBS May 2, 2011 | By Brielle Thompson
- GARLIC’s antiviral properties can be attributed to a substance called allicin, which is activated when garlic is crushed
- ST. JOHN’S WORT The U. of Maryland Medical Center states that laboratory research shows that St. John’s Wort may kill or slow the growth of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV; however, it interferes with medications used to treat people with the virus and the herb is contraindicated with several common medications such as antidepressants and anticoagulants. St. John’s Wort can be dried and consumed, or can be ingested as a tea.
- ECHINACEA is a powerful immune-boosting herb. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, echinacea can shorten the duration of the common cold and flu, and reduce symptoms such as sore throat, cough and fever. To be effective, it should be taken at the first sign of infection, such as a runny nose, sore throat or fatigue.
- ASTRAGALUS has immune-boosting properties. The U. of Maryland Medical Center states that studies have shown that astragalus has antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system. Researchers have investigated astragalus as a possible treatment for people whose immune systems have been compromised by chemotherapy or radiation.
- VITAMINS A, C, and E are all antioxidants vital to protecting the body against infection. Foods high in vitamin A include carrots and sweet potatoes. Red peppers are surprisingly high in vitamin C, along with the obvious fruits like oranges and grapefruit. Vitamin E can be found in sunflower seeds, almonds and some fish.
Annie’s Remedy.com recommends 30 anti-viral remedies including:
- Aloe Vera Gel Aloe vera Tender Perennial succulent : The leaf juices of the aloe plant have important medicinal uses…
- Ashwagandha root Withania somnifera Ashwaganda, Ajagandha, Indian ginseng, Winter cherry often touted as the Indian version of ginseng because,like ginseng
- Astragalus root astragalus membranaceus Huang qi , yellow leader
- herbaceous perennial : Astragalus is especially useful for strengthening the body against viral infections of the respirato…
- Balsam of Peru Myroxylon pereirae Tolu Balsam Tropical Tree : Balsam of Peru, or Tolu, is used mainly in aromatherapy and perfumery for its vanilla and cinnamon s…
- Bupleurum Bupleurum chinense chai hu, Chinese thorowax root
- Perennial herb : Bupleurum is an important Chinese tonic herb for the liver and circulatory system….
- Carrot Seed Daucus carota L. Wild Carrot; Queen Anne’s Lace; Bird’s-nest Perennial Herb : The carrot was well known to the ancients, and is mentioned by Greek and Latin writers under various…
- Chaga Mushroom Inonotus obliquus Cinder conk, Birch mushroom
- Mushroom : Chaga and the similar reishi mushroom both have a reputation as tonics for longevity and health w…
- Chamomile Matricaria recutita Camomile, Chamomilla, German chamomile Annual herb : Because of it’s extraordinarily gentle effectiveness, chamomile is the first herb of choice for many…
- Cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum, C. cassia Cassia Bark, Sweet cinnamon Evergreen Tropical Tree : The simple touch of cinnamon infuses your body and soul warmth and energy. Familiar, every…
- Cubeb Piper cubeba Java pepper herb : Outside of culinary use as a “red alternative” to black pepper, cubeb is little used in the West. ..
- Dong Quai Angelica sinensis Chinese Angelica, Dang-gui Herbaceous perennial : Since ancient times, dang-quai has been an important herb for women. Historically, it has been presc…
- Echinacea Echinacea angustifolia Purple coneflower Herb : There are dozens of dozens of biochemical compounds that act in therapeutic synergy in this complex…
- Elderberry Sambucus nigra Elderberry tree : Elderberries have had many traditional healing uses throughout the ages, and have been used for cons…
- Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus Eucalyptus tree : Eucalyptus opens the lungs and encourages breathing, clears clogged nasal passages and bronchial con…
- Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Sweet Fennel, Fenkel: Fennel is best known as a digestive aid, but the uses for fennel go far beyond the kitchen.
- Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis Yellow Root Perennial herb : Goldenseal is a folk medicine staple widely used in many herbal salves and ointments .
- Grapefruit Oil Citrus paradisi Evergreen subtropical tree : Grapefruit is not only a great breakfast item, but the extracts from the seeds, pulp and inner rind…
- Grapes Vitis vinifera Grapeseed: Grape skins contain the powerful antioxidant compound resveratrol, which has been shown in studies …
- Juniper Berries Juniperus communis tree : Juniper closely resembles cypress, and like cypress it is valued for its detoxifying action on the …
- Lavender Lavandula spp Woody Perennial Herb : Lavender has some powerful properties for such a gentle, sweet smelling flower. Lavender can lif…
- Lemon Citrus limonum: Lemon is one of natures most versatile fruits, and because of its high vitamin C content, antibacterial…
- Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis Melissa herbaceous perennial herb : Lemon balm is an aromatic mint with a venerable reputation for having calming properties. …
- Mullein Verbascum thapsus, sps Flannel Leaf, Mullein Dock, Aaron’s Rod Biennial : The ancient reputation that mullein enjoyed in both in Europe and Asia
- Myrtle Myrtus communis Evergreen shrub : The leaves of the myrtle tree are very aromatic and the plant has a number of medicinal uses.
- Niaouli Oil Melaleuca quinquenervia: Much like tea tree in its antiseptic properties, but with a much milder, fruity aroma. …
- Orange Citrus sinensis, Citrus spp. Mandarin Orange, Tangerine tree : Oranges are a healthy source of vitamin C and other nutrients,as well as one of the most versatile …
- Oregano Origanum vulgare Wild Marjoram herb : Oregano has a very ancient reputation and has been used in both the kitchen and the sickroom ..
- Pau d’arco Tabebuia spp lapacho, taheebo: : There is a great deal of practical evidence that pau d’arco can be used with success to treat colds,…
- Pomegranate Punica granatum : Pomegranates are touted for their heart protective antioxidants today…
- Reishi Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum Ling-zhi, ling chih, ling chi mushroom
- Fungus : Reishi, or Ling zhi mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicines …
- Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis Woody perennial herb : Rosemary is such an extremely useful herb, with so many culinary, medicinal and aromatherapy attributes…
- Sandalwood Santalum album tree : Sandalwood is one of the few fragrances that is equally popular among men and women. It’s uplifting …
- Sarsaparilla Smilax sarsaparilla zarzaparrilla-perennial trailing vine : Sarsaparilla makes a good all round tonic, and the spicy, pleasant smelling root is what gave old …
- Sassafras root Sassafras albidum Sassafrass, Saloop, ague tree, root beer tree, A cup of sassafras root tea has been a traditional spring tonic in the South for hundreds of years, …
- Tea Camellia sinensis Green Tea, Black teaShrub : Black tea, Oolong/Wu long tea and green and white teas are all from the same plant, Camellia sinensis…
- Tea Tree oil Melaleuca alternifolia Melaleuca — Tea tree is also an all purpose remedy for respiratory infections, acting as an anti-infective agent…
- Thyme Thymus vulgaris Common Thyme, Wild Thyme
Anti-herpes cold-sore herbs shown to be effective:
Andrographis (a bitter Asian herb) and Echinacea and vitamin cocktail
* Garlic – Medicinal usage of garlic dates back to ancient Egypt. It contains many compounds that experts believe offer antiviral, antimicrobial, and antibacterial benefits. Studies have shown that garlic is an effective antiviral herb when used against the common flu virus as well as common bacteria such as Bacillus, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus.
Garlic is a powerful antiviral herb and is most effective when used fresh. The bulb can be eaten whole, diced up, or juiced. For those who find the taste of garlic unappealing or are concerned about bad breath, garlic capsules and tablets are widely available.
* Oregano – Another one of the effective antiviral herbs, oregano has been used for hundreds of years to fight infections. It has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties. A study at Cornell University found that oregano was very effective against 30 different germs.
When used as an antiviral remedy, oregano can be taken in capsule form, made into herbal tea, or taken diluted in extract form. Simply using it in food for seasoning will offer some health benefits but will not provide the concentrated amounts of antiviral essential oils needed to combat a viral illness.
* Astragalus – Astragalus is another powerful antiviral herb that strengthens the immune system. It is a very effective antiviral herb for battling the common cold and flu. In addition to aiding the body in fighting off viruses, astragalus has a warming effect, which helps comfort the body. Astragalus is available in several forms. It can be sliced and boiled as part of a meal, made into an extract, or taken in capsule form.
* Echinacea – Echinacea is well known for its immune-boosting properties. It is believed that it can increase interferon production as well as stimulate white blood cell production, enabling the body to fight more effectively against viruses.
Echinacea, as well as the other antiviral herbs mentioned, is best taken early on when a viral illness is suspected in order to significantly enhance its effectiveness. Echinacea is generally available in capsule or extract form and can also be made into a delicious tea.
* Schizandra – Schizandra is commonly found in traditional Chinese medicine. It is highly antiviral and has been used successfully against viral hepatitis. Capsules are the most commonly found form of schizandra, but some herb markets may carry the dried berries.
* Mullein – A lot of health benefits can be derived from the mullein plant. It provides antiviral, anti-inflammatory, calming, expectorant, antihistamine, and emollient properties. For viruses that come with congestion, it is an excellent choice. Mullein is available as a tea, syrup, infusion, tincture, and decoction.
* Elderberry – Elderberry has been used as an herbal remedy against colds, flus, and upper respiratory infections for nearly 3,000 years. Recent studies have shown that it is effective against all strains of the flu virus and can prevent the spread of viruses. While it is available in multiple forms, the most effective remedies are as lozenges or syrup.
* Green Tea – Studies of green tea have found that two catechins called epigallocatchin gallate (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG) were very effective in inhibiting replication of the influenza virus. Green tea is generally taken in tea form, although capsules are available as well. Green tea does contain caffeine, so those sensitive to caffeine should use it with caution.
* Licorice – Licorice is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial effective against yeast, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Science has identified eight constituents of licorice with antiviral properties as well as twenty-five with antifungal properties. Like echinacea, licorice can boost interferon production. Individuals with high blood pressure should avoid using licorice, however, as it can raise blood pressure, cause sodium retention, and promote potassium loss.
Antiviral Essential Oils
There are also some excellent antiviral essential oils that are helpful when fighting viral illnesses. Oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree, juniper, and lemon balm are great choices and also have other medicinal properties that are helpful when treating illness as well.
* Eucalyptus Oil – Eucalyptus contains three known antiviral compounds- quercetin, hyperoside, and tannic acid. There are multiple ways eucalyptus oil can be used. One of the most common uses is simply adding a few drops of oil to a warm bath. The scented steam is especially useful in viruses that cause congestion. You can also mix a few drops of eucalyptus oil into a carrier oil such as sunflower or canola oil and use as a massage oil or apply to pulse points.
* Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is another effective herb with antiviral properties that is known to treat a wide variety of problems. The oil can be applied full strength to affected areas three times a day. For sore throats, mix a few drops of oil to half a cup of warm water and gargle.
* Juniper Oil – Studies have shown that juniper oil contains a potent antiviral called deoxypodophyllotoxi n. In studies, juniper oil has been found to be effective against both the herpes and flu viruses. It can be used in a diffuser, as a massage oil, in a soothing bath, rubbed on in lotion form, or applied as a compress. Use during pregnancy is not recommended, as juniper oil can stimulate the muscles of the uterus.
* Lemon Balm Oil – Another herb with antiviral properties, lemon balm oil has many uses. When researched as part of a study on treatments for cold sores and genital sores caused by the herpes simplex virus, researchers found that lemon balm oil helped heal sores and prevented the virus from spreading. Test subjects also reported that it provided relief from redness and itching as well. Lemon balm oil can be used topically, diffused, or taken internally.