During these times of laboratory engineered and antibiotic resistant superbugs, it’s good to have on hand an arsenal of superhero virus busting herbal allies. From many years of research, experimentation and collaboration with other herbal researchers, I have come up with a list of 6 must have herbal superstars. Let me introduce you to:
• Isatis Leaf & Root (Isatis Indigotica): Isatis has been used for over 1000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine to support reduction of heat, cool the blood and throat, and support the immune system. Known as daqingye in Chinese and as dyer’s woad in English, it was once primarily used as a source of indigo dye. It has been shown to exhibit antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Isatis might be able to fight bacteria and viruses that can cause infections. It is particularily effective in infections involving the nose, throat, sinuses and upper respiratory tract. It is often used to combat colds and the flu. It also seems to be able to reduce fever and swelling. There is some interest in using isatis for cancer, especially prostate, because it contains chemicals that might keep cancer cells from multiplying.
• Wild Indigo Root (Baprisia tinctoria): Wild indigo is traditionally used for its antimicrobial action on focused infections, particularly of the ear, nose and throat. It has been used in serious conditions such as malaria, typhoid and scarlet fever. Wild Indigo is believed to help liquefy phlegm and support its drainage. It also stimulates lymph and inter-tissue fluid circulation, which supports proper function of the immune system. It is also effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders such as stomach pains, indigestion, gas and bloating.
• Osha Root (Ligusticum porteri): A traditional Native American herb used to support the body during periods of upper respiratory stress and congestion, Osha displays a strong affinity for the respiratory system supporting the elimination of mucous. For these reasons it is a staple in many herbal cough remedies. It also has antiviral and antimicrobial properties and supports proper functioning of the immune system. The Native Americans burned the root as an incense to ward off negative energies that could harm the physical or emotional body.
• Lomatium Root (Lomatium dissectum): The root of the Lomatium plant has been used extensively by the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest and Northern Nevada where it grows. It is used primarily for pathogenic upper respiratory conditions due to its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Lomatium is also commonly found in formulas designed to support the immune system during chronic viral infection outbreaks.
• Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum): The parts of the plant used are the tops and leaves. Studies show this herb helps treat minor viral and bacterial infections by stimulating white blood cells to destroy disease-causing microorganisms more effectively. Herbalists currently use boneset to treat viral infections, such as colds and flu. One study shows boneset is anti-inflammatory, lending some support to its traditional use in treating arthritis. It reduces fever, bone aching fever, thus the name boneset. It also encourages sweating by dilating the blood vessels—thereby breaking the fever. It relaxes the joints and eases the terrible pain which often accompanies the flu. It helps clear up mucous build-up in the lungs. It gently empties any toxins which may be stored in the colon. One Native American named Joe Pye became so renowned for using boneset to cure typhoid during colonial times that the herb was nicknamed “Joe Pye weed.”
• Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata ): Andrographis is a plant that is native to South Asian countries such as India and Sri Lanka. The leaf and underground stem are used to make medicine. Andrographis is frequently used for preventing and treating the common cold and flu. Some people claim andrographis stopped the 1919 flu epidemic in India. Andrographis is used for sore throat, coughs, swollen tonsils, bronchitis, pneumonia and allergies. Andrographis is also used as an astringent, bacteria killing agent, painkiller and fever reducer. Andrographis might stimulate the immune system by improving the blood cell count.
I recommend the herbs chosen are in a liquid extract form when possible. Liquid extracts are generally the most potent, full spectrum and pollutant free form of herbal medicines.
Blend together in a 1 or 2oz dropper bottle, as an equal 6 part herbal formula.
This combination is a formidable defense against contracting common viruses. The formula also helps shorten the duration of the virus. This combination also aides in the prevention of secondary infections, such as sinus and ear, as well.
To stop from catching a virus use 1 to 2 droppers full every 1 or 2 hours at the first signs of any onset symptoms. If you become ill anyway, use the same method for kicking the invasion out of your body quickly and with as little pain as possible.
Isatis can be difficult to find in liquid form by itself, but is easily gotten combined with Andrographis in a classic Chinese Medicine combination called Chuan Xin Lian. The best brand for purity for this formula is Plum Flower. Taking this formula in the form of tea pills or tablets is fine, although Far East Summit provides a liquid version called Isatis Formula.
The other 4 herbs can be purchased in extract form at many natural foods markets, or can be ordered online from companies such as Herb Pharm.
Stay healthy, be prepared.