Author: Rositsa Tashkova, Master of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
History remembers the worst pandemic in the recent past - that of the Spanish flu in 1918, during which more than 500 million people worldwide became ill and 50 million died - mostly children and young people between 20 and 40 years. More American soldiers died from the Spanish flu than in World War I at the time. [ref.10] For comparison, currently the number of people infected with the new coronavirus in the world is 96.2 million, and the number of dead - 2.06 million.
The smallpox virus is one of the most common causes of death in young children. The disease is extremely contagious (9 out of 10 people who are not protected are infected), it is transmitted by airborne droplets and is dangerous for people of all ages. Although there is an effective vaccine against the disease, many people remain unvaccinated, allowing it to spread. In 2019, a peak in the spread of the disease was observed, as 869,770 people became ill and 207,500 of them died. [ref.11]
Unfortunately, no effective drugs have yet been found for most viruses. Treatment is usually supportive and relies on the body's own immune system for the outcome of the disease. Because viruses are very different from bacteria [ref.1], antibiotics cannot cure a viral infection.
Currently, the danger of two simultaneous epidemics - influenza and coronavirus, poses a new challenge. In addition to the proper wearing of a mask, the use of disinfectants and soap, physical distance, we can support our body with healthy food, good sleep and aromatic herbs with antiviral properties while we expect better times :)
This is not another article that promises a panacea. Here we will summarize which are the medicinal plants with the strongest antiviral properties, which we can easily find in the countryside, and which are the viruses against which they have shown effectiveness.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
It is very common in our country and is characterized by its lemon aroma when the fresh petals are rub.
- Herpes simplex (HSV1 and HSV2);
- Adenovirus serotype 3 and 8 (ADV-3, ADV-8);
- Coxakivirus B1 (CVB1);
- Enterovirus 71 (EV71);
- Hepatitis B (HBV).
There is evidence that basil also affects the immune system, increasing the levels of certain immune cells.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary owes its antiviral properties to oleanolic and carnotic acid, which it contains.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale);
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra);
- Sage (Salvia officinalis);
- Oregano (Origanum vulgare);
- Mint (Mentha piperita);
- Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale);
- Ginseng (Panax);
- African pelargonium, African geranium (Pelargonium sidoides). [ref.9]
The only way to deal with these epidemics is our common efforts and a sense of responsibility to ourselves, but also to everyone else - friends, loved ones, strangers, the elderly, sick people, and young children.