Antiviral herbs – 12 of the strongest natural substances

Antiviral herbs – 12 of the strongest natural substances

Antiviral herbs and substances that have the strongest effect on viruses

Viruses have only a dozen or so genes and use millions of tricks to cheat the immune system. Consisting of proteins and nucleic acids, seemingly primitive microorganisms can instantly become resistant to chemicals that destroy their structure.  

Viruses are not affected by antibiotics or available pharmacological agents. But there are several herbs that are effective in dealing with different types of viruses.

When it comes to drugs the list of potential side effects is often longer than the list of benefits. 

On the other hand, herbs with antiviral activity are safe and effective. Many of them have a wide spectrum of activity while strengthening the immune system.   

Why are antiviral herbs not treated as drugs?

In the treatment of viral infections, modern medicine offers only symptomatic treatment in the form of antipyretics, anti-inflammatory and analgesics. 

No reliable studies that would confirm the clinical efficacy of antiviral drugs have yet appeared. Despite this, packaging often has misleading information that a substance has antiviral activity.

An example is the active substance of many tablets and syrups – inosine pranobex. Described as a drug with antiviral activity, however, the description of the active substance does not show that it even inhibits or reduces the spread of viruses.  

That’s why it is worth using natural substances that have the ability to destroy viruses.

Herbs with antiviral activity 


In folk medicine, mullein was widely used in respiratory diseases. It was used to treat cough, bronchitis and asthma. Mullein dilutes sputum and has anti-inflammatory effects.  

The components in mullein flowers destroy the herpes virus, influenza viruses and the bird flu virus. This was confirmed by clinical studies conducted all over the world. 

Mullein tea

Pour a tablespoon of dried flowers with a glass of boiling water and let stand covered for 15 minutes. Sweeten with honey or elderberry juice.
Drink 4 times a day with a viral infection. Once as a precaution.


It saved many from a serious disease. To this day, the French remember how garlic saved a lot of people in 1926 during a terrible flu epidemic in Marseille, when people died like flies. From ancient times it remains the most popular remedy for infections.    

Garlic’s effectiveness in fighting influenza, pneumonia, rotavirus and HIV has been confirmed many times. 

Garlic mixture against viruses

Chop 10 cloves of garlic and mix with 15 tablespoons of thick honey.
Preferably honeydew, buckwheat or linden. Add 3-4 drops of propolis. Eat a tablespoon of the mixture 3 times a day. A spoon a day as a precaution.

You can also mix 2-3 chopped cloves of garlic a day with butter or milk.
Remember to wait 10-15 minutes after chopping.

Crushing garlic opens cell membranes releasing allicin, which is responsible for the destruction of viruses and pathogens.

Black elderberry

For the flu virus, there is nothing like black elderberry.

The substances in black elderberry fruit inhibit the penetration and replication in influenza virus cells. Among others, delphinidin is responsible for antiviral properties. [1]

Black elderberry works much better than superfoods such as Akai. Studies in Israel have shown that with the help of elderberry 90% of patients infected with influenza virus recover after 3-7 days [2]. At the same time, elderberry syrup reduces fever and alleviates flu symptoms.

Olive leaf

Olive leaf is another fantastic natural antiviral plant. The first written mention of their medicinal properties appeared in 1854 in the Pharmaceutical Journal where olive leaf tea was described as very effective in treating malaria and fever. The recipe printed in the journal was this: 

Boil a handful of olive leaves in a liter of water, until there is half a liter of decoction. Serve the patient in quantities of ‘wine glass’ every 3-4 hours until healed.

Pharmaceutical Journal

In recent years studies on humans and animals have confirmed that olive leaves have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties. 


Oregano is able to neutralize viruses thanks to the active substance – carvacrol – contained in essential oils. It starts fighting noroviruses (attacking the gastrointestinal system) within an hour of administration [3]. Mexican oregano oil is also effective against respiratory viruses and herpes [4]

Oregano syrup against viruses and infections 

Take a tablespoon of oregano herb, a tablespoon of thyme and a tablespoon of licorice root powder, pour 2 glasses of water and boil for 5 minutes. After it boils, brew it for half an hour. Sweeten it with honey.

For a better taste add some lemon juice, 30g of glycerin, 3 cloves and a pinch of cinnamon.

Drink a tablespoon of syrup 3-4 times a day for viral infection.


Ginger is an excellent remedy for gastrointestinal infections. It also actively works against respiratory viruses, blocking their “adhesion” [5]. Fresh ginger root works best.  

Ginger antiviral Syrup

Peel a 5 cm piece of ginger, cut into small cubes or grate it. Put 3 slices of lemon at the bottom of the jar. Cover with ginger, sprinkle with cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Pour honey and repeat until the jar is full. Let stand for a minimum of one hour at room temperature.

Mix and put in the fridge.

During infection, take a tablespoon 3-4 times a day.
You can also add a teaspoon to tea for flu infections.

Milkvetch or locoweed

It has gained popularity in recent years as it turned out that the plant reacts with DNA. It protects telomeres against degradation and shortening. 

Milkvetch root also has strong antiviral properties. It inhibits RNA replication of many strains of viruses. It also strongly stimulates and tones the immune system. 


Licorice root has been used for centuries as a medicine against viral diseases by Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. 

Studies have confirmed that terpenoid compounds contained in licorice root are extremely effective when it comes to viral immunity. They destroy viral herpes, influenza, SARS, HIV. [6]

Licorice decoction

Take 3 teaspoons of powdered licorice root and 2 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil then boil for 3 minutes. Strain. Drink 100 ml of decoction several times a day.

Cat’s claw (uña de gato)

Originally from the Amazon rainforest, cat’s claw has a diverse chemical composition that conditions its multidirectional effect. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral [7], analgesic and immunostimulating.  

Pot marigold, ruddles, common marigold or Scotch marigold

In the 12th century St. Hildegard wrote that “marigold will disperse the poison and cleanse the bowels.” In medicine, it is used to treat insomnia, headaches or stomach ulcers. However, marigold flowers also actively fight rota and rhinoviruses [8] by reducing their reproduction.    

Marigold flower tea

Take 1 teaspoon of the flower and a glass of boiling water and cover for 15 minutes. Drink ½ cup 3-4 times a day before a meal.
A slightly stronger brew is great for gargling.

Baikal skullcap (Chinese skullcap)

Is an adaptogen that increases resistance to stress external conditions. Used to treat many diseases including Lyme disease. Thyroid extracts inhibit viral activity and prevent influenza epidemics [9].


Cloves are one of the richest sources of phenolic compounds: eugenol, eugenol acetate and gallic acid. They are great in fighting bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. They inhibit inflammatory processes.   

A glass of warm tea with cloves, lemon, ginger or lemongrass sweetened with honey helps with flu, colds, respiratory infections.

Propolis or bee glue

Not exactly a plant or a herb, but it destroys and blocks viruses, bacteria and pathogenic fungi. Bee glue is used in infections of the respiratory system, infections of the gastrointestinal tract, stomach diseases and to strengthen immunity.

Immune system

The best weapon against viruses is a strong immune system. This is our brave army that protects the body against bacteria and viruses. To avoid weakening our immune system, avoid those factors:

  • Long-term stress, strong emotions
  • Physical or mental fatigue
  • Lack of sleep
  • Exposure to rapid temperature fluctuations

Herbs and plants, e.g. black cumin, purple coneflower, larch, aloe strengthen the immunity. They stimulate lymphocytes, granulocytes and macrophages to work. Linden, marjoram, basil, fennel, savoury, nettle, thyme and many other herbs are helpful.  

Eucalyptus oil is also effective against influenza viruses but it should not be taken orally without consulting your doctor. Inhalation or rubbing into the body gives similar effects because active substances penetrate the body through mucous membranes or skin. 

To prevent home epidemics, it is good to spread chopped onion pieces around the house.

Discover the Forgotten Power of Plants with Dr Nicole Apelian

You’ll find 800+ beneficial plants and remedies in “The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies”. It includes recipes of tinctures, teas, decoctions, essential oils, syrups, salves, poultices, infusions and many other natural remedies that our grandparents used for centuries. What’s also special about this book is that it has between 2 and 4 high definition, color pictures for each plant and detailed identification guidelines to make sure you’ve got the right plant.

Click below to find out more about plants and their properties.


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