Here’s a list of 22 natural virus killers or virus inhibitors that showed antiviral activity in animal studies or in-vitro. These antiviral herbs and agents shouldn’t be taken as medical or health advice, it’s just for informational purposes and sharing of my opinion from research.
Here are 22 herbs and natural agents that showed antiviral activity in studies (in-vitro or in animals):
- Curcumin (extracted from turmeric)
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom
- Nigella Sativa
- Star Anise
- Amla (Amalaki)
- Green Tea
- Black Tea
- Chaga Mushroom
- Grape Seed Extract
- Pomegranate Juice
- Holy Basil (Tulsi)
- Olive Leaf Extract
- Oregano Oil
|Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and doesn’t provide any medical advice. Always consult a licensed medical doctor before using any natural supplement.|
There’s limited scientific research on humans when it comes to antiviral herbs, so more testing needs to be done before anything can be legally recommended as safe and appropriate. But you’ll find some good studies below on herbs and natural agents that showed antiviral activity in animals or in-vitro. They might give us an idea of their potential for future studies.
An in-vitro study means that it was performed outside of a living organism (e.g., like in a test tube or Petri dish), not on a human being.
Curcumin Antiviral Activity (an extract from turmeric)
Curcumin is a substance that’s extracted from turmeric. Turmeric is a beautiful golden root that comes from the Curcuma longa plant.
Curcumin scientific studies show the following effects in-vitro or in animals:
- antiviral 5
- anti-inflammatory 4
- anti-depressive 1
- antioxidant 3, 4
- nerve-protecting qualities 1
- anticancer effects 2
- anti-cytokine 6
There’s more evidence demonstrating curcumin’s antiviral activity.
- antiviral effects against Zika virus
- suppressed HIV virus
- inhibited the flu virus (influenza A)
- inhibited herpes, type 1 and 2
- reduced the severity of flu symptoms
- inhibited cytokines caused by the flu
Curcumin is naturally found in the food spice called turmeric. Turmeric has many uses and can be featured in soap, recipes, and beauty products. I love to use turmeric in my cooking. I also add it to my daily meal routine. Here’s the brand I take – (click for my favorite herbs and products page on this website).
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Antiviral Properties
Lion’s mane is an absolutely gorgeous mushroom. It’s pure white and grows in a way that cascades downward like a waterfall of thin marshmallows and heaven combined.
The highest quality lion’s mane should be made from the fruiting bodies of the mushroom. That’s basically the most beautiful white part that looks like a lion’s mane!
- A study showed that hot water extracts of lion’s mane had antiviral effects against the Dengue virus, which is carried by mosquitoes. Even high doses of this mushroom showed no toxic effects to cells in-vitro. 7
- Another study showed that a special extract made from lion’s mane restrained the activity of an important HIV enzyme, in-vitro. 9 The more of the extract they used, the more it inhibited the HIV enzyme.
- Can help preserve nerve tissue
- May improve mild mental impairment
- Increases nerve growth factor (helps nerves grow)
- Boosts nerve regeneration
- A special extract from lion’s mane showed powerful anticancer effects against human breast cancer cells and liver cancer cells in-vitro.
Lion’s mane has been used for thousands of years in soups and broths for culinary purposes. It’s absolutely delicious to cook with. To see the brand I use to make delicious cold broths with, here’s my favorite herbs and products page on this website.
Nigella Sativa Antiviral Activity
Nigella sativa is a small plant that produces tiny black seeds. These seeds are a delicious spice used in recipes all across the world.
A common name for this spice is “black seed” or “nigella seeds”. Many people buy nigella seeds and sprinkle them on their baked goods. Other people prefer to use a tiny amount of “black seed oil” in their salad dressing. Black seed oil is extracted from the tasty seeds of the nigella sativa plant. They taste similar to the spice cumin (earthy notes).
- A scientific mini-review of literature concluded that Nigella sativa may have potent antiviral activity against SARS-CoV (a strain of coronavirus). Human studies need to be done to assess safety and efficacy. 48
- A study showed that black seed oil had antiviral activity against murine cytomegalovirus, in mice. 50
I love to use black seed oil in my salad dressing (just a teaspoon for seasoning). To see the brand I buy for cooking purposes, here’s a link to my herbs and natural products page on this website.
Star Anise Antiviral Properties
Star anise is one of the most beautiful spices I’ve ever seen. It naturally grows in the shape of a star and has a distinctly sweet smell of candy licorice. It brews into a warm comforting tea that’s delicious and fragrant.
- A study revealed that an antiviral prescription drug used to treat the flu, oseltamivir, contains an ingredient taken from star anise: shikimic acid. 10
- Another study showed that a water extract of star anise had antiviral effects against avian viruses, in-vitro. 13
An example of a water extract is hot tea. It’s like boiling some star anise in water. Tea is just a water extract from tea leaves. It’s a very simple and easy DIY.
- reduced demyelination of nerves in central nervous system & boosted remyelination in mice (helps nerves grow back)
- reduced inflammation
- anticancer effect
- kills germs
- anti-parasites (worms)
|HOMEMADE CHAI TEA LATTE RECIPE|
In the winter, I make a delicious homemade chai tea by boiling star anise, cloves, fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, freshly sliced ginger, and green cardamom pods, on my stove for 20-45 minutes. I add organic black tea at the end of boiling time (last 3 minutes). Next, I add half goat milk or almond milk with honey, stir, strain, and sip. The house smells better than the holidays. I’m not kidding. It’s SO good.
To see the organic star anise I buy and use for the above tea recipe, you can visit my favorite herbs page on this website.
If you want a good recipe for star anise tea, you can either boil it alone in water for 15-30 minutes then strain (it will be stronger the longer you boil), or just search a good recipe online for “chai tea”. MAKE SURE THE RECIPE HAS STAR ANISE IN IT.
These chai lattes are such a pleasant warming addition to my winter rituals.
Amla Antiviral Activity
Amla (Emblica officinalis) is an exceptionally treasured fruit in India that’s become popular around the world recently. It has a vibrant tart taste with sweet and bitter undertones. This fruit is often powdered and dried for use in cooking. It’s been used for thousands of years in ancient herbal medicine and is easy to buy online.
- A study showed that a water extract of amla fruit had substantial antiviral activity against the HIV virus, in-vitro. 47
- Results from a different study revealed that a compound from amla roots had strong antiviral activity against the flu (influenza A H3N2) and and EV71 viruses, in-vitro. A different compound from amla also moderately killed human cancer cells, in-vitro. 49
Amla is also known as Indian gooseberry or Amalaki. They’re all the same thing.
Amla can be purchased for cooking purposes. It makes delicious chutneys, pickles, and condiments. Here’s the brand I buy for my kitchen – (click to see page on this website for my favorite herbs).
Spirulina Antiviral Properties
Spirulina is a beautiful blue-green natural algae that’s also known as a superfood. It’s packed with nutrients, plant protein, and has been studied for anti-inflammatory properties.
- A study showed that a cold water extract of spirulina had antiviral effects against the flu, in mice. Fewer mice died from the flu when they took spirulina. It was safe to consume, even in high doses. 14
Spirulina is so nutritious that NASA packed it up and sent it with the astronauts on their space mission.
- Another study showed that extracts of spirulina under salt stress had antiviral effects against hepatitis A and herpes 1 viruses, in-vitro. 15
Spirulina has many uses and can be added to energy bars, salads, smoothies, or just mixed in water. Many people enjoy spirulina tablets for convenience.
BONUS POINT: A pigment protein in SPIRULINA promoted remyelination in the brains of rodents, according to a study. 20
Green Tea Antiviral Properties
Green tea is a super popular drink all around the world. It’s well-known for it’s fabulous benefits and ceremonial traditions. It’s been studied as an antioxidant and serves as a meditation aid for many truth-seekers.
- A scientific review showed that compounds in green tea had antiviral effects against the herpes virus, HIV, the flu virus, Zika virus, and others (mix of in-vitro, animal, and human studies). 16
- Of interest: an in-vitro study showed that COFFEE extracts weren’t effective against some viruses. But a derivative from GREEN TEA was effective. 18
I always buy organic green tea leaves and unbleached tea bags. I do this to reduce my exposure to unwanted pesticides and chemicals.
- A natural catechin found in green tea leaves, EGCG, was found to have antiviral effects against Ebola virus, according to a study in-vitro and in-vivo. 17 It slowed down the reproduction of the virus and helped protect animals from infection.
I love to sip green tea in the morning and when I’m writing or studying. Here’s the organic green tea I drink – (click for my favorite herbs page on this website).
Black Tea Antiviral Activity
Black tea is one of the most popular social drinks around the world today. It’s famous in many cultures while offering a punch of antioxidants at the same time.
- Theaflavin from black tea had antiviral effects against bovine coronavirus in an in-vitro study. 19
I love drinking black tea in my homemade chai tea recipe. It’s also great plain when I’m in a hurry. Sometimes I take it to-go on my drive to work.
Tea can stain teeth over time. I always cover my front teeth with my top lip when sipping from a cup. It’s an art.
- In a Japanese clinical trial, gargling with black tea extract helped prevent flu virus infection (influenza), in humans. 21
I love drinking black tea both hot and iced. In the summer, it’s refreshing to add a squeeze of fresh lemon over iced black tea. Here’s the brand I brew – click for my favorite herbs page on this website.
Chaga Antiviral Properties
Chaga is a powerful mushroom that’s recently received lots of attention as a superfood with a multitude of benefits.
- A study showed that a water extract of chaga mushroom destroyed the hepatitis C virus in-vitro. In 10 minutes, it halted the infective nature of the virus by 100-FOLD! 23
That is seriously amazing.
If you see a chaga mushroom growing on a tree in the woods, it looks like a black ugly growth, like part of the trunk got burned. But if you open the mushroom up, the inside is a beautiful golden-orange, similar in color to turmeric.
- A different study showed that extracts of chaga mushroom had antiviral activity towards the HIV virus, in-vitro. 24
Urban legend says that some herbs or plants that reflect colors of the sunset (e.g., golden, orange, yellow) may be tied to the healing properties of the Sun.
I love using chaga mushroom in my cooking. It’s delicious in tea, lattes, smoothies, and Asian-style broths. It’s earthy, velvety, and contributes a subtle umami flavor to dishes. Here’s the brand I buy – (click for my favorite herbs page on this website).
Grape Seed Extract Antiviral Properties
Grape seed extract is taken straight from the bitter seeds found in grapes. The fruit of the grape is removed, the seeds are cleaned and dried, then crushed into a powder from which extracts are made.
- A study showed that grape seed extract had antiviral effects against multiple food-borne viruses, including hepatitis A and murine norovirus, in-vitro. 25
- A different study revealed that grape seed extract had antiviral effects against hepatitis C virus and cut down inflammation caused by the virus, in-vitro. Cytokines were significantly reduced. 26
I love eating salads for lunch in the summer. Sometimes I sprinkle the contents of a grape seed extract capsule on my salad to add a subtle dimension of bitter flavor. Other times I mix it in with a sweet salad dressing to create a deliciously balanced flavor. Here’s the brand I buy – (click here for my favorite herbs page on this website).
Pomegranate Antiviral Properties
Pomegranates are an ancient fruit packed with nutrients and antioxidants. They bleed a gorgeous bright red pigment and contain abundant beneficial properties.
- An in-vitro study showed that a water extract from pomegranates had antiviral activity against herpes 1 and 2 viruses. Pomegranate powder also worked. 27
- Another study showed that an extract from pomegranate peels had powerful antiviral activity against the flu virus, in-vitro. 28
Pomegranates had legendary sacred qualities and were part of the priestly garments in the Bible. They were also part of the temple’s interior design.
Pomegranate juice is naturally sweet, which is pleasantly surprising. I only buy the kind without added sugar.
- A scientific article reported that pomegranate extracts demonstrated antiviral activity against HIV, in-vitro. 29
My favorite way to eat pomegranates is through their juice. I love to eat them fresh, but they’re messy and take a lot of time to pull apart. The juice is absolutely delicious: sweet and slightly tart, much tastier than cranberry juice!
This is the pomegranate juice I love to drink – (click for my favorite herbs and products page on this website). This juice pairs well with savory dishes.
Hyssop Antiviral Properties
Hyssop is a gorgeous flowering herb that attracts butterflies and bees in the garden. The flowers are blue-violet in color and have been used in cooking and spiritually since ancient times.
- An in-vitro study showed that extracts from hyssop had strong antiviral effects against HIV, with no toxicity to healthy cells. 30
Hyssop has been traditionally honored as an herb of purification throughout history. It’s been used in spiritual practices to ward off negativity, to protect, to cleanse, and to attract positive energy.
- Another study showed that hyssop essential oil potently destroyed the herpes 1 virus, in-vitro. 31
- Ginger, thyme, and sandalwood essential oils also destroyed the herpes 1 virus (in the same study listed above).
Hyssop is extremely powerful. It has many uses and can be found in soap, culinary seasonings, and cleansers of many varieties.
I use hyssop essential oil mixed into my homemade face cream recipe. I don’t like to use chemical ingredients in my natural beauty products. To see the brand of hyssop oil I buy and use for my face cream, click here on my favorite herbs page on this website.
Antiviral Activity of Cloves
Cloves are one of the warming spices during the holidays that makes gingerbread and hot apple cider smell so good. They’re part of what makes cinnamon apple pie cozy and comforting. Not only are cloves tasty, they’ve demonstrated antiviral activity in studies as well.
- A study showed that a compound taken from cloves, eugeniin, had antiviral effects against the herpes virus, in-vitro. 32
- A review of scientific literature revealed that clove essential oil had strong antiviral effects against polio, adenovirus, and Coxsackie B virus, in-vitro. 33
- Note: oregano oil also worked well to fight the 3 viruses listed directly above, in the same review.
Cloves were traditionally used in ancient medicine to improve digestion, to increase circulation, to treat malaria, and to reduce inertia in the body.
I love to cook with cloves, especially in chai lattes and fruit-based desserts. For quick portion control in cooking, it’s easy to open up a capsule of cloves and drop the contents into my recipe. Here’s the brand of cloves I use for culinary purposes – (click for my favorite herbs page on this website).
Quercetin Antiviral Properties
Quercetin is a natural compound found in fruits and vegetables. Onions, cilantro, red wine, and dill weed are high in quercetin. It’s been studied for numerous beneficial properties.
- A study showed that quercetin had antiviral activity towards the flu virus during the beginning stages of infection, in-vitro. 34
There are many traditional medicinal herbs used throughout history that are full of quercetin. Many Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs contain this awesome flavonoid.
- A different study revealed that quercetin had antiviral activity against a common cold virus (rhinovirus), in-vitro. 35
- Quercetin also decreased lung inflammation and cytokines caused by the virus, in mice. 35
I enjoy sprinkling the contents of a quercetin capsule in my homemade face cream recipe. It adds that extra special something that helps my skin glow. Quercetin can be found in many beauty products. To see the brand of quercetin I buy, here’s my favorite herbs and products page on this website.
Holy Basil Antiviral Properties
Holy basil is a common plant in India, also known as tulsi. It’s been treasured for thousands of years. Many people enjoy the flavor of the tea that’s brewed from its leaves.
In ancient times, holy basil was traditionally prized for its natural intelligence to restore balance within the human constitution.
Holy basil has been esteemed, especially recently, for its antiviral properties in scientific studies.
What is the scientific name of holy basil? Ocimum sanctum
- A molecular simulation study found that an extract from holy basil might be a preventive measure against COVID-19 virus. 36 Well-controlled human studies are needed to determine if this is true or not. We just don’t know yet.
- A different study showed that holy basil extract had antiviral activity against the avian flu virus (H9N2), in ovo. 37
Legendary healers called holy basil the sacred plant of the gods. Energetically, holy basil was considered a living means through which God manifested Himself in the plant kingdom. It served as a bridge between heaven and Earth. In this way, God could reach humanity directly in a form that supported healing and rejuvenation. This is what ancient legend said.
I love using holy basil in my cooking to add a wonderful flavor to my Asian-style broths. For convenience and portion-control, I drop the contents of a couple holy basil capsules into my recipe to ensure controlled amounts every time. Here’s the brand of holy basil I use for culinary purposes – (click for my favorite herbs page on this website).
Copper Antiviral Effect
Copper is a naturally-occurring element found in many foods such as pistachios, sesame seeds, sweet potatoes, and spirulina.
Copper is famous for killing germs on surfaces. It makes a great ingredient for natural household cleaners.
- A study showed that the flu virus was powerfully inactivated by sitting on a copper surface. 38
- A different study showed that human coronavirus 229E was quickly inactivated when it sat on a copper surface. The more copper in the surface’s metal, the faster the virus inactivated. 39
Many people buy copper-lined dishes, glasses, and cookware. Some people install copper countertops in their kitchen. I think this is a fabulous idea.
I buy and use colloidal copper in my homemade face cream recipe. Here’s the brand I buy for natural beauty purposes: (click for my natural herbs and products page on this website – scroll towards the middle-end of list).
Olive Leaf Extract Antiviral Effects
Olive leaf extract comes straight from the leaves of olive trees. These leaves were used thousands of years ago for therapeutic purposes.
- A study showed that olive leaf extract had antiviral effects against the herpes 1 virus, in-vitro. 40
- A different study demonstrated that olive leaf extract had antiviral activity against the flu virus, in-vitro. 41
I like to use olive leaf extract for culinary purposes. My favorite way to use it is sprinkled on a savory salad with fresh fruit like mangos and a balsamic sesame dressing. For easy portion-control, I sprinkle the contents of an olive leaf capsule on top (or mix in salad dressing). Here’s the brand of olive leaf capsules I buy for seasoning – (click here for my favorite herbs page on this website). It adds a unique subtle dimension of bitterness.
Neem Antiviral Activity
Neem is a popular herb that comes from the neem tree.
Neem was cherished in ancient times and traditionally used to purify the blood, to kill microbes, and to help clear up skin.
A lot of research has been done on neem’s antiviral properties:
- A water extract from neem leaves showed antiviral activity against the Dengue virus (type 2), in-vitro. 42
- Another study showed that polysaccharides from neem leaves had antiviral activity against poliovirus (type 1), in-vitro. 43
Neem has many different uses today. Many people like it in their soap. Others enjoy it in skin cream. I enjoy it for culinary purposes. My favorite way is to sprinkle the contents of 2 neem capsules all over my salad for lunch as a light seasoning. It adds a rich taste that’s unlike any other seasoning out there. Here’s the brand I buy for culinary purposes – click here for my favorite herbs page on this website.
Oregano Oil Antiviral Activity
Oregano is a common household spice that gives spaghetti sauce that magical herbal zest. The plant contains tiny green leaves that produce a potent oil when crushed and extracted.
Oregano oil is super popular today and has been studied extensively to assess its antiviral properties.
- Carvacrol, the primary active compound in oregano, had antiviral effects towards the murine norovirus, in-vitro. 44
- A different study showed that oregano oil had significant antiviral effects against the H1N1 flu virus, in-vitro. 45 In the same study however, the herb Echinacea actually showed stronger antiviral effects, much better than oregano oil did. The study also stated that oregano oil was more toxic to cells than Echinacea.
I LOVE oregano in cooking! I add it to my gluten-free pizza, marinara sauces, and anything Italian. YUM.
Cinnamon Antiviral Activity
Cinnamon is a delicious warming spice that comes from the bark of cinnamon trees. It’s been used throughout history as a culinary ingredient as well as a traditional medicinal herb.
- A study revealed that the leaves and bark from cinnamon showed antiviral activity against human rotavirus, inhibiting it approximately 33%, in-vitro. 46
Honestly, I’m not that impressed by a 33% inhibition. There might be better herbs to study. Or, I wonder if it would have had more inhibition with a higher concentration? More studies need to be done.
I boil raw cinnamon sticks in my homemade chai latte. The flavor is divine.
Gold Antiviral Activity
Gold is a universal symbol that represents health and wealth. Metaphysically, it’s known to contain all the elements unified in one precious metal. Gold is unique in that it never decays. Its nature reflects the concept of immortality.
Gold has been studied for its antiviral activity. Scientific studies revealed the following:
- A study showed that gold nanoparticles demonstrated antiviral activity against the measles virus, in-vitro. 51
- A different study showed that functionalized gold nanoparticles had strong antiviral effects against the flu virus, in-vitro. 52
Ancient legend said that gold was literally tied to the healing energy of the Sun. It stated that gold was an evolutionary force that restored balance and promoted recovery.
Gold was used as medicine in the practice of Ayurveda and Siddha medicine for thousands of years.
Gold is naturally present in the human body as a trace element.
Gold can be used for many purposes, such as gold flakes in cocktails or sprinkled on top of cupcakes. It’s used in some sophisticated electronics and biotechnology. I like to use colloidal gold to put in my homemade face cream. Here’s the brand I buy and use for a natural face cream recipe: (click link to visit my favorite herbs and products page on this website).
Charcoal Antiviral Activity
Activated charcoal is a super fine black powder created from burning carbon-based materials at high temperatures. Microscopically, each particle of charcoal is full of pores and absorbs many materials extremely well.
Emergency room doctors sometimes use activated charcoal to treat drug overdose. It has the ability to pick certain substances up and carry them out of the system.
- A study showed that charcoal picked up 99.89% of bovine coronavirus while sand picked up approximately 0% (as a control). This study was done in-vitro. 53
Charcoal is popular in many different industries today. I love to use activated charcoal soap. I also love to use activated charcoal capsules to sprinkle the contents on my toothbrush for an occasional toothpaste. Here’s the brand of activated charcoal I use for hygiene purposes only – click for my herbs and natural products page on this website.
All the above-listed herbs have shown antiviral activity in scientific studies in-vitro or in animals. Hopefully, you’re now aware of some antiviral effects of 22 different natural compounds, including turmeric and green tea. Some herbs are broad-spectrum, others are very specific to certain viruses. It’s important to discern the exact target of each agent in order to get a better idea of its potential.
Well-controlled human studies are needed on all these compounds to determine their effect in the human system. We just don’t know yet. But this research project was certainly very educational and a lot of fun to do. I sure hope you learned at least one new thing today from this article.
Love and blessings to all of you.
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All statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to mitigate, diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease (it’s an opinion-based article only).
Always ask your medical doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding natural antiviral herbs (don’t rely on this article). The internet is awesome, but it shouldn’t take the place of your doctor’s advice. All people are different; what works for one person may not work for another. It’s wise to do our own research, but always ask your doctor before using any kind of supplement or changing your diet in any way.