Viruses are just a part of life, and they actually require a living cell host (us humans!) in order to replicate and infect because they lack their own cellular structure. Common viruses you may encounter in your daily life include the common cold, influenza, gastroenteritis and herpes to name a few. If you’re like us and want to decrease your need for a trip to the doctor’s office or urgent care in the middle of the night, read on for a list of our favorite natural anti-viral supplements and general immune support!
Of importance to note, these natural antivirals are most effective if you can get them started at the very first sign of illness. Common viral illness symptoms include:
- Fever and/or chills
- Muscle aches
- Sneezing and runny nose
Elderberry has been widely used across global cultures and is actually a safe and effective treatment for Influenza A and B with no observed side effects. The anthocyanidins (the beautiful deep purple color) and flavonoids are the primary immune stimulating components. This powerful compound has demonstrated the ability to reduce the duration and symptoms of illness for the common cold, influenza, sinus illness and for illness prevention after an exposure. A common dose is ½ teaspoon every few hours/5 times per day for children under 4 and increase to 1 teaspoon with the same frequency for anyone 4 and up.
This natural immune booster is great to have on board through cold and flu season because the phytochemical compounds have the ability to reduce viral infections as well as inhibit the virus from infecting your healthy cells in the first place. If you are ill, Echinacea also helps to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and treat upper respiratory issues. We like the Herb-Pharm alcohol-free extract (follow bottle directions) but you can also find this herb in capsules and cough drops at your local health food stores and co-ops.
Garlic is another powerful immune boosting agent with both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties for common and rare infections. You can use raw garlic, too, but many people like the convenience of capsules. By supplementing with garlic daily, especially through cold and flu season, you have a greater chance of preventing viral illness and/or shortening illness duration! If experiencing any ear pain or other ear infection signs, we also love Garlic and Mullein oil ear drops. Use 2 drops in symptomatic ear 2-4 times per day.
Ensure proper fluid intake to avoid dehydration and prioritize getting enough rest to allow your body to heal and recover unrushed.