Are we all trying to Keep Calm and Carry On out there? Friday night was the first ‘news’ I’ve watched all week, and Crikey with a Capital C … Nuff said.
This blog is all about Us, You and Me, and the current COVID-19 virus that's spreading across our world. Because ... we’ve all got horses, and probably dogs, cats, chooks, kids et-al to care for, so we need to stay well for them.
You may not know it yet (we were literally about to announce it in the next couple of weeks once we'd moved into our new offices, which Covid has now put paid to) but we have a sister offshoot, doing what we already do for horses but for us humans 😊)
Why I’m mentioning it is because we have a lovely range of organic and biodynamic tinctures, many of which are antiviral, which means if you’re looking for some sort of protection at the moment, this may suit. And the beauty of tinctures is that if you can’t stomach a herbal tea, tinctures are incredibly easy to get down, just a couple of droppersfull 2-3 times/day.
Either way, I figured there was never a better time to put together a Natural Herbals Antivirals blog which might give us all – literally - food for thought, because unlike prescription meds, antiviral herbs often have little to no side-effects. I’m sure many of us already have a couple of handy antiviral herbs in the kitchen, i.e. oregano and garlic, for when we’re rustling up a pasta sauce - both can be traced back as early as Ancient Egypt as being powerful anti-viral medicine.
Antiviral herbs inhibit the development of viruses, with many of the best also boosting the immune system which attacks viral pathogens - they're quite literally natural flu remedies. They’re nutrient-dense while modulating the immune system, and assisting in whole body defence. Even better, they have a number of other health benefits such as being cardiovascular-protective, liver-protective and digestion supporters, as well as being rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory tonics. They’re great for overall resilience - you don’t necessarily need a reason to take them as they’re great for general maintenance to keep the body strong and protected.
And let’s not forget the super-mushrooms, where some, i.e. Chaga and Reishi, actually increase the antiviral effect, while continuing to protect the body and helping with stress relief. Even if you simply slice a raw chestnut mushroom into a lunchtime salad or sandwich, you’re getting a bit of medicinal magic into your system.
Science is now showing that natural alternatives are proving capable of fighting off many common viral threats; for example, one amazing botanical is Oregano Oil which has been shown to help kill off MRSA (more on Oregano Oil below). So, maybe looking at natural and traditional medicinals may be a useful source to help us through this current COVID-19 time.
Here’s a selection of some of my favourite herbal antiviral medicinals to help support our immune protection.
) This is one of my favourite and regularly used Amazonian rainforest herbs that features in many of our EquiNatural blends. The bark and root have been used by Central and South Americans for centuries to treat health problems including fevers, stomach ulcers, digestive conditions and dysentery. This powerful plant has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties, and is also used to treat digestive problems such as ulcers and leaky gut syndrome.
) Calendula flower has been shown to fight viruses such as rhinovirus, thought to reduce the virus's ability to multiplicate. They can heal inflammation, infections, ulcers and also ear infections, which makes it very useful for children. It's also recognised as a cleansing herb that helps treat chronic infections and reduces inflammation, and because of its high sulphur levels is beneficial for joint, soft-tissue and osteo issues. Current research is showing it beneficial in halting the degeneration of AMD (Advanced Macular Degeneration).
We already know ginger's powers as an excellent remedy for nausea and upset stomach, but it also wages war against viruses, by blocking the attachment of viruses to areas that are commonly infected first, like the airways.
Pau D’Arco (Tabebuia impeteginosa) A nutrient-dense tree, and another powerful rainforest medicinal that I use in plentiful supplies at EquiNatural, well researched for its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Indigenous Amazonian people use it for many ailments ranging from infections, colds, coughs and flu. Extensive research has also shown its anticancerous chemistry, along with its renowned ability to eliminate candida and other fungal based infections. Garlic (Allium sativum) Garlic has a long history of use when it comes to infections, some of which included using garlic as a treatment forleprosy, parasitic infections, and as an antibiotic for infectious diseases. Today, garlic’s reputation as a potent antimicrobial is well-known, helping to combat flu, colds, HIV and pneumonia. Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)
Another popular immunostimulant adaptogens in our EquiNatural herbal range, and used since ancient times for its highly protective, immunoprotective and immunostimulant properties. Studies have also shown that Astragalus contains natural antiviral properties, suggesting that it’s beneficial for when the immune system needs stimulating to help prevent colds and similar viral infections. Astragalus is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to increase endurance and resistance to a wide range of stressors, whether biological, chemical, physical, mental, etc., helping the endocrine system directly curb the damaging effects to a variety of pathogens.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) Colds or flu, elderberry is a must - it's a great immunity booster which come winter, we've always got a homemade vat of it on the go. Studies have shown that people infected with influenza virus A and B experienced 91% improvement after taking elderberry for seven days, while also reducing fever and increasing feelings of improvement. Top tip – it’s commonly taken alongside echinacea, speaking of which ...
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) Echinacea is one of the most popular antiviral herbs out there when it comes to fighting viruses and bacteria, and for good reason. Not only does it have the ability to boost the immune system by stimulating the production of the killer army lymphocyte cells which help fight infection, but it also contains complex and powerful phytochemicals that fight and help reduce infections once they occur.At EquiNatural we use the purpurea genus, considered by some the most medicinal species; every part of the echinacea plant contains valuable active compounds which is why we utilise the whole plant, from flower to root, in our blends. When it comes to maintaining seasonal wellness for us humans, echinacea is an unrivalled powerful herb for immunity support, especially for winter. The key to echinacea’s benefits lies deep in its compounds, which are made up of alkylamides, polysaccharides and glycoproteins, all of which contribute to the herb’s immune-boosting powers. It’s no surprising that echinacea is one of the most well-studied and celebrated plants in herbalism today. Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) We all know how important milk thistle is as being an excellent liver tonic, but this powerful plant has so many healing abilities. When extracted in alcohol its silymarin is known to have antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Another of our proprietory herbs used in almost all of our equine blends.
Chaga – One of the foremost super-mushrooms, in superfood terms Chaga is particularly well known for its antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ability. In one study Chaga exhibited antiviral activity against the hep.C virus, while another study reported 100% inhibition of two strains of the human influenza virus. The science also showed chaga displayed activity in scavenging free radicals. Immunostimulating effects have also been observed in several published studies, which may have important implications on the body’s ability to fight disease or counteract the effects of immune-suppressing chemicals.
Another popular adaptogen herb in our EquiNatural herbal blend range. Eleuthero has been used for centuries in Eastern countries, and is one of the most studied and widely used antivirals in the world, having been successfully used since ancient times to fight infections and respiratory diseases. Eleutherosides, one of the active components, are reported to stimulate the production of interferon (a protein that inhibits virus replication) and enhance natural killer cells and antibody activity. Eleuthero is a nutrient-dense root that also contains a high level of polysaccharides, a vital component within many medicinal plants renowned to boost the immune system and lower blood sugar levels, which is why we use it in our CushTonic to support our PPID horses.
) Finally we get to Oregano, and I can’t recommend this highly enough. Oregano Oil is pretty spectacular – I’ve always got a bottle on the go at home as it contains truly significant antiviral properties. However, be warned - Oregano Oil burns! This is why you should only buy a diluted
version, and never, ever
use a pure essential oil. Diluted Oregano Oil gives off a ‘hot’ sensation but be reassured that this is normal as it’s almighty potent. Trust me when I say It’s not an agonising burn – kids can tolerate it - but it’s not necessarily pleasant, so bear with it as it passes within 30-seconds or so. Studies show its active component, carvacrol
, can deactivate viruses like the human Norovirus
(aka the ‘vomit bug’) literally within one hour of contact. In addition, oregano oil has been shown to be effective against viruses like herpes simplex virus
type 1 and human respiratory syncytial
virus. At home we use it at the first sign of symptoms, i.e. that first hint of sore throat with swelling of the throat glands, or that early super-dry irritable cough. It’s also awesome for toothache, whether due to a cavity right through to agonising abscesses. For tooth issues, drop a couple of drops directly on the injurious site. Repeat regularly – it’s really worth it. For colds/flu-like symptoms, either drink a couple of drops in a finger of water or rub the oil on the soles of your feet – within 20-minutes you’ll taste oregano in your mouth. The ONLY Oregano Oil I can recommend is Oreganoil P73, which you can buy ready diluted from Amazon here – it’s pricey but Truly Madly Deeply worth it. https://www.amazon.co.uk/North-American-Herb-Spice-003/dp/B0014AUUVE/ref=sr_1_11?adgrpid=53653423112&gclid=CjwKCAjwgbLzBRBsEiwAXVIygKDLtjqLz0QfqgFuqXpL-ebwbUHfDr8Tmff5IrOlHvX7W2QOEjPfuBoCJuQQAvD_BwE&hvadid=259083290766&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=1007149&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=b&hvrand=1525037958037353723&hvtargid=kwd-300614771697&hydadcr=28150_1724812&keywords=oregano+oil+p73&qid=1584206931&sr=8-11
So there we have it. Personally I’m quietly hoping that being usually well-covered in all things horse, dog, wheelbarrow, plentiful mud, filthy jods and other general yard detritus, will maybe give me a tad more resistance. This may, of course, come back to bite me good and hard on the derriere but with a bit of luck, my homemade antiviral tincture cocktail, alongside a good slug of daily ACV and a few raw garlic cloves through the day, will keep this dreadful Covid thingy away.