The use of herbs in managing infections dates back to several centuries ago. Unlike today, traditionally, people mostly used herbs to a variety of infections. Currently, herbs are part of the modern medicine used in the management of various infections, including viral infections.

Herbs can be prepared into topical preparations, boiled or chewed as has been the common practice. Some can even be inhaled in steam or prepared as supplements. Regardless of which form you take them, herbs will still deliver their powerful compounds which may help fight viruses. They are much marketed by natural medicine practitioners due to their high concentration of potent compounds. This article discusses 11 herbs that can help you fight viral infections.

1.      Licorice

Licorice is a herb that has served in the traditional Chinese medicine for a couple of centuries. It contains potent compounds, such as glabridin, glycyrrhizin, and liquiritigenin among others that are believed to have powerful antiviral effects. The root extract of licorice is said to be effective against severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV) – a virus associated with severe pneumonia. Other viruses it can fight effectively include herpes virus, HIV, and RSV.

2.      Ginger

Many people, for a good reason, like using natural remedies made from ginger, such as elixir, lozenges, and teas. Ginger contains powerful plant compounds which has been shown to possess potent antiviral properties. Test-tube studies indicate that ginger extracts has antiviral activities that effectively fight RSV, avian influenza, and feline calicivirus (FCV), which is more or less thethe same to human norovirus. Ginger can also interfere with the multiplication of virus and block their entrance into host cells, thanks to its powerful compounds, such as gingerols and zingerone.

3.      Oregano

Oregano is a herb from the mint family and gains its popularity due to its incredible medicinal properties. It contains potent plant compounds like carvacrol, which have antiviral properties. Published studies have shown that oregano oil and carvacrol can inhibit the activity of murine norovirus (MNV). MNV is a contagious virus associated with stomach flu in humans. It resembles human norovirus and is mostly used in the scientific studies because it norovirus is hard to grow in lab settings. Other viruses that oregano oil and carvacrol can effectively act against include respiratory syncytial virus, associated with respiratory infections; herpes simplex virus (HSV-1); and rotavirus, the primary cause of diarrheal diseases in infants and children.

4.      Sage

Sage also comes from the mint family and has an aromatic scent. This herb has been used for a very long time in traditional medicine to treat viral infections. The commonly used parts of sage are its leaves and stem, which contain safficinolide and sage one – powerful plant compounds believed to have antiviral properties. Research indicate that sage may help combat human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), which can complicate to AIDS. It said that the compounds in sage work by preventing the virus from entering the host cell. Additionally, studies have shown that sage can effectively fight Indiana vesiculovirus (infects pigs, cows, horses and other farm animals) and HSV-1.

5.      Garlic

Garlic is another herb that you can use to manage different health problems and combat viral infections. Studies indicate that garlic extracts can help clear warts, which are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Other studies also suggest that garlic may elicit antiviral effects against rhinovirus, which causes respiratory infections, viral pneumonia, HIV, influenza A and B, and HSV-1. It said that garlic boosts the immune system and makes it more responsive by activating immune cells, which can protect against viral infections.

6.      Basil

There are several types of basil, including holy and sweet types, which may help combat certain viral infections. This herb contains powerful compounds like ursolic acid and apigenin, which may fight hepatitis B, herpes virus, and enterovirus. Holy basil, commonly referred to as tulsi, can improve immunity and help fight viral infections.

7.      Fennel

Fennel is another herb with potent compounds that may fight viral infections. Its extracts have been shown to have powerful antiviral properties against herpes virus and parainfluenza type 3 (PI-3), associated with respiratory infections in farm animals. Additionally, fennel essential oil has a powerful component called trans-anethole, which may also fight herpes viruses with its powerful antiviral properties.

8.      Peppermint

Peppermint is another member of the mint family which has exhibited strong antiviral effects. It is commonly used in extracts, teas, and tinctures meant to combat viral infections. The leaves of peppermint and its essential oil are loaded with powerful plant compounds like rosmarinic acid and menthol, which possess both antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. The antiviral properties of peppermint leaf extract can effectively fight respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as well as reducing the markers of inflammation.

9.      Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is commonly added to teas and seasonings. It is also popularly used for its medicinal qualities. Extract made with lemon balm is an excellent source of powerful essential oils and potent plant compounds, which possess antiviral effects. Published studies have shown that lemon balm’s antiviral properties can fight herpes viruses, avian virus, which infects birds, HIV-1, and enterovirus, which is associated with severe diarrhea in children and infants.

10.  Ginseng

Two varieties of ginseng, American and Korean, are sourced from the root of plants which are a member of the Panax family. Ginseng has been used in the traditional Chinese medicine for a very long time, and is also celebrated for its antiviral properties. Korean red ginseng, for example, has been found to have significant antiviral effects against herpes viruses, hepatitis A, and RSV. What’s more, ginseng contains compounds called ginsenosides which have antiviral effects against norovirus, hepatitis B, and coxsackieviruses – which causes a serious brain infection called meningoencephalitis among other serious diseases.

11.  Dandelion

Dandelions should not be seen only as weeds. Studies have indicated that they have potent medicinal properties, antiviral effects being one of them. They can help fight influenza, hepatitis B, and HIV. Additionally, dandelion extracts can also fight dengue, which is a virus carried by mosquitoes and causes dengue fever.


Herbs have been used to treat several infections for a very long time. The commonly used herbs, even in the kitchen, such as oregano, basil, and sage can help fight various infections caused by viruses. You can easily add them into tea or other recipes to benefit from their antiviral properties.

Crystal Kadir

MS, Durham University GP The work of a family doctor includes a wide range of clinical diversity, which requires extensive knowledge and erudition from a specialist. However, I believe that the most important thing for a family doctor is to be human because the cooperation and understanding between the doctor and the patient are crucial in ensuring successful health care. On my days off, I love being in nature. Since childhood, I have been passionate about playing chess and tennis. Whenever I have time off, I enjoy traveling around the world.