Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fight Influenza with Herbs

Influenza, also known as seasonal flu, is an extremely infectious condition caused by one of many different types of flu virus. The virus that causes influenza targets your lungs and upper airways, causing symptoms such as aches and pains and a spike in your body temperature. Herbal medicines have been used for many years to help treat influenza. Meet with your doctor before using herbs for this condition to weigh the risks and benefits.

Herbal remedies cannot cure a cold or flu. But they can bring relief of symptoms, stimulate the immune system and speed recovery. We will describe several herbal remedies useful for colds and flu. Later we will describe important herbs for treating flu.

For example, flavonoids can inhibit neuraminidase (NA), an important genetic segment in influenza. The order of the inhibition potency by some flavonoids has been discovered. Some herbs can modulate immune responses such as enhancing the production of antiviral antibodies. Some herbs have continuous effects before and after the influenza infection, and can be used for both prevention and treatment. Some herbal extracts can be potential adjuvants for the improvement of immune responses of influenza vaccines.

Many of the herbs have been used for thousands of years in traditional medicines such as Chinese medicine for healing colds and fever. Scientific studies of these natural products are helpful for the development of antiviral vaccine adjuvants and drugs. The latest discoveries of herbs with effective anti-influenza activities are introduced here. The herbs or herbal extracts are explained with their backgrounds, effects and interactions, dosages, active components, scientific mechanisms, and references. For example, sometimes a low dosage may show a significant protective effect.

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