Lifestyle Works

Five Potent Antiviral Herbs

Over the last few months, many people are being attacked by some aggressive virus strains here in New Zealand, leaving them debilitated and weak lasting for days and even weeks.

Antibiotics help in the field of bacteria, but don’t have any remedial effect on viruses, and even current medical science just has to leave the immune system to work at killing the virus and restore the body back to health itself.

This all seems a bit unprofessional and unscientific to just step back in our modern world and say there is nothing medicine can do. So should we all go into panic mode, or take a more pragmatic and calm approach. Just remember, viruses are part of our every day life. From the flu, to herpes to HIV, hundreds of thousands of these devastating microbes live among us. But we are not left without aid. There is help, just as far away as our garden. Here is a list of the top five herbs known to fight viruses.

1. Garlic- The most known and recognized disease fighting herb that also happens to be a beneficial food. Garlic is truly antimicrobial and kills viruses and bacteria without disrupting intestinal flora. Most effective against cold or flu viruses and more effective than penicillin against infections. Very easy to administer, just include it in your favorite meal. Caution, it can lose potency when heated above 55°C, also avoid consuming too much raw garlic, as it can cause gastrointestinal disruption.

2. Lemon balm- This hearty and delicious herb is a great addition to your herbal medicine garden or cabinet. It is effective against many different viral infections. Such as influenza, colds, chicken pox or shingles. The oil that is contained in the plant is what gives it the power to fight viruses. Whether made into a cream, tincture, or used in a delicious disease fighting tea, lemon balm is a great tool to keep on hand. Caution if pregnant.

3. Ginger- Typically regarded as an anti-nausea medicinal herb but also harbors major disease fighting power! Antibacterial and antiviral. You can use it daily as a preventative measure, or use when already sick to help your body fight off disease quicker. Ginger is typically spicy and not advisable for pregnancy.

4. Elderberry- These berries grow on large bushes and pack major punch against what ails you. It is tough on viruses and even better for its immune enhancing properties. Elderberries are usually made into a syrup, but be aware that the plant in raw form can be poisonous for consumption and should only be used when cooked and prepared properly.

5. Oregano- Another common kitchen staple that is full of flavor on top of being one of the most effective antiviral herbs. Extremely easy to grow either indoors or in outdoor herb gardens. Eating and cooking with oregano is beneficial to health but the most effective manner is to take oregano oil capsules or apply high quality oregano essential oil to the skin via a carrier oil such as coconut.

 Good personal hygiene is a main component for warding off these diseases, but if we do all we can to aid the body, it is remarkable how it will fight back to restore our health back to its good original healthy state.

Source reference:

Beetroot & the Blood

Football teams are claiming it improves their athletic performance, and according to new research from Kansas State University, it also benefits heart failure patients. The special ingredient: beetroot.

Recently, the Auburn University football team revealed its pregame ritual of taking beetroot concentrate, or beet juice, before each game. The juice may have contributed to the team's recent winning season.

"Our research, published in the journal Physiology in 2013, has shown that the nitrate found in beetroot concentrate increases blood flow to skeletal muscles during exercise," said David Poole, professor of exercise kinesiology and anatomy and physiology at Kansas State University.

This work shows how beetroot juice may preferentially increase blood flow to fast-twitch muscle fibers — the ones used for explosive running.

In addition to improving athletic performance, the research also found that beetroot juice can improve the quality of life for heart failure patients.

"Remember, for every one football player in the United States, there are many thousands of heart failure patients that would benefit from this therapy," Poole said. "It's a big deal because even if you can only increase oxygen delivery by 10 percent, that can be the difference between a patient being wheelchair-bound versus getting up and walking around and interacting with his or her family."

The benefits of beetroot come from the nitrate found within it. The amount of nitrate in one 70-milliliter bottle of beetroot juice is about the same amount found in 100 grams of spinach.

"When consumed, nitrate is reduced in the mouth by bacteria into nitrite," Ferguson said. "The nitrite is swallowed and then reduced to nitric oxide, which is a potent vasodilator. The nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels, similar to turning on a water faucet, and allows blood to go where it needs to go."

The beetroot juice consumption resulted in a 38 percent higher blood flow to the skeletal muscles during exercise and was preferential to the less-oxygenated, fast-twitch muscles.

"Heart failure is a disease where oxygen delivery to particular tissues, especially working skeletal muscles, is impaired, decreasing the capacity to move the arms or legs and be physically active," Poole said. "The best therapy for these patients is getting up and moving around. However, that is often difficult. Increasing the oxygen delivery to these muscles through beetroot can provide a therapeutic avenue to improve the quality of life for these patients." Clinical trials are currently underway.

~ Kansas State University. 23 October 2014

Recipe of the Month

Beetroot Salad
4 med beetroot, peeled
1 small red onion

1 t honey
¼ c olive oil

2 T lemon juice
1 t lemon rind

2 T fresh coriander leaves, chives, or parsley

Grate onion and beetroot. Toss with coriander and combined remaining ingredients. Serves 4-6