Winter is the time of year when we seem to be particularly vulnerable to all kinds of illnesses that are caused by viruses including colds, flu, and cold sores. A virus is not to be confused with bacteria, which causes infection. Viruses are tiny bits of nucleic acids that contain information and use your body’s cells tor create more copies of themselves.
There are very few treatments, allopathic or natural that can kill a virus outright, as usually a virus must run its course. However, the list of natural remedies here comes as close to stopping a virus in its tracks as Mother Nature can get.
Silver has been utilized as a medicine since ancient times to treat scores of ailments, including the bubonic plague. Colloidal silver is a suspension of pure metallic silver in water, that is used to dramatically reduce the activity of the HIV virus in AIDS patients, slow down the ravages of the hepatitis C virus and combat other viruses in general. It works by interfering with the enzymes that allow a virus to utilize oxygen thus, in essence, suffocating it so it cannot do damage in the body.
The common black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has long been used to reduce the length and severity of flu symptoms and studies. Taking 60 ml a day for adults and 30 ml for children helps to facilitate a complete recovery, often in three days. Elderberry extract binds to the tiny spikes on a virus protein that are used to pierce and invade healthy cells and destroys them so that the virus is ineffective. Elderberry may also be effective against the herpes simplex virus and some HIV strains.
The herb Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is supportive of the immune system and has a direct anti-viral action against colds and viral bronchitis. Preparations that include both the roots and the flowering tops are the most effective at helping the body resist the viruses.
Garlic has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. The compounds allicin and alliion are responsible for this common plant’s reputation as a triple threat. Garlic is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and it is especially effective against viruses if chewed raw.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) contains a group of flavonoids called catechins, which appear to inhibit viral infections by blocking the enzymes that allow it to reproduce. Green tea has been known to be effective in inhibiting HIV, herpes simples and the hepatitis B virus.
Liquorice contains a substance called glycyrrhizin that reduces the replication of viruses and halts their ability to penetrate replicate inside healthy cells. It has been noted to be effective in the treatment of many viral illnesses including HIV strains and viral hepatitis.
The leaves of Olive trees (Olea europea) contain a substance called elenoic acid and calcium elonate has been identified as a powerful inhibitor of a wide range of viruses in laboratory tests., including influenza, herpes, polio and coxsackie viruses. These substances block the production of enzymes that allow viruses to replicate.
Fevers can also be risky for adults in some cases. See your doctor for a fever that’s 103°F (39°C) or higher that isn’t responding to medication or lasts longer than three days. Also seek treatment if a fever is accompanied by:
- severe headache
- sensitivity to bright light
- stiff neck
- frequent vomiting
- trouble breathing
- chest or abdominal pain
- convulsions or seizures
A viral fever makes your body much warmer than usual. This causes your body to sweat in an effort to cool down. But this leads to fluid loss, which can cause dehydration.
Try to drink as much as you can when you have a viral fever to replenish lost fluids. It doesn’t have to be just water, either. Any of the following can provide hydration:
- sports drinks
- decaffeinated tea
Babies and toddlers may benefit from a specially formulated drink with electrolytes, such as Pedialyte. You can purchase these drinks at a local grocery store or online. You can also make your own electrolyte drink at home.
Try herbal remedies
People sometimes try herbal remedies to treat a fever. Keep in mind that these supplements have been shown to improve fever in animals. There’s no reliable evidence that they work in humans. Their safety in children is often unclear or unknown, too. It’s best to avoid these remedies in children.
It’s also important to note that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t monitor the quality of supplements like they do for drugs. Talk to your doctor before trying any supplements. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Moringa is a tropical plant that has a variety of nutritional and medicinal benefits. Almost all parts of the plant contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and antibacterial agents. A 2014 study trusted Source found that moringa bark reduced fevers in rabbits.
More research is needed to determine how this plant can reduce fevers in humans. Some research suggests it may be gentler on the liver than over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen.
Don’t use moringa if you:
- are pregnant
- take medications that are substrates of cytochrome P450, such as lovastatin (Altoprev), fexofenadine (Allegra), or ketoconazole (Nizoral)
In one case report, the consumption of moringa leaves leads to a rare disease of the skin and mucous membranes called Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS). This suggests people at risk of developing SJS should avoid using moringa. However, this was the first reported case and the reaction should be considered extremely rare.
Kudzu root is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. It has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce pain. A 2012 study also suggests that it reduced fevers in rats, but human studies are needed to evaluate this properly.
Avoid using kudzu root if you:
- take tamoxifen
- have hormonal-sensitive cancer, such as ER-positive breast cancer
- take methotrexate (Rasuvo)
If you take diabetes medications, talk to your doctor before trying kudzu root. It may lead to low blood sugar, requiring a change in medication.
You can help cool down your body by surrounding it with cooler temperatures. Make sure you don’t overdo it. If you start to shiver, stop immediately. Shivering can cause your fever to rise.
Things you can do to safely cool off include the following:
- Sit in a bath of lukewarm water, which will feel cool when you have a fever. (Coldwater will actually cause your body to warm up instead of cool down.)
- Give yourself a sponge bath with lukewarm water.
- Wear light pajamas or clothing.
- Try to avoid using too many extra blankets when you have chills.
- Drink plenty of cool or room-temperature water.
- Eat popsicles.
- Use a fan to keep air circulating.