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VIRUSES


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Centuries before the first caveman appeared, viruses existed on earth. In their earliest forms, viruses were harmless messengers delivering hereditary information from newly developed life to its offspring in plants, fungi, protozoa, animals and eventually humans.

As viruses evolved and adapted to environmental changes around them, they ceded their messenger roles to cells and took on a more sinister role of infecting genes. In fact, virus is the Latin word for poison.
A virus is a tiny infectious agent that can only replicate inside the cells of another organism. The virus particle is 100 times smaller than a single bacteria cell. The bacterial cell is more than 10 times smaller than a human cell and a human cell is 10 times smaller than the diameter of a single human hair. These tiny parasites enter cells and reproduce, potentially damaging or killing the cells along the way.

Viruses may lead to mild to severe illnesses in humans, animals and plants. This may include flu or a cold to something more life threatening like HIV/AIDS.

Viruses by themselves are not alive. They cannot grow or multiply on their own and need to enter a human or animal cell and take over the cell to help them multiply. These viruses may also infect bacterial cells.
The virus particle or the virions attack the cell and take over its machinery to carry out their own life processes of multiplication and growth. An infected cell will produce viral particles instead of its usual products.
A virion (virus particle) has three main parts:

  1. Nucleic acid: This is the core of the virus with the DNA or RNA (deoxyribonucleic acid and ribonucleic acid respectively). The DNA or RNA holds all of the information for the virus and that makes it unique and helps it multiply.

  2. Protein coat (capsid): This is covering over the nucleic acid that protects it.

  3. Lipid membrane (envelope): This covers the capsid. Many viruses do not have this envelope and are called naked viruses.

Viruses are not simply taken into cells. They must first attach to a receptor on the cell surface. Each virus has its specific receptor, usually a vital component of the cell surface. It is the distribution of these receptor molecules on host cells that determines the cell-preference of viruses. For example, the cold and flu virus prefers the mucus lining cells of the lungs and the airways.

These viruses enter the body from the environment or other individuals from soil to water to air via nose, mouth or any breaks in the skin and seek a cell to infect.

A cold or flu virus for example will target cells that line the respiratory (lungs) or digestive (stomach) tracts. The HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) that causes AIDS attacks the T-cells (a type of white blood cell that fights infection and disease) of the immune system.

A healthy immune system can fight off these viruses very quickly but, the more compromised the system is, the more deadly the virus attack will be. An unhealthy sedentary lifestyle accompanied by poor eating habits, processed and fast foods, toxins and unhealthy hygiene practises will cause a more serious infection and may even be fatal.

Steroid drugs compromise the immune system which can lead to serious virus and bacteria infections.

Antibiotics cannot treat viruses but are often mistakenly prescribed as a protective measure by doctors in case the infection is cause by bacteria. The result of this is too kill off even more of the friendly bacteria that provide protection against viruses in the body and this allows an easy gateway for viruses to enter and take over the system and proliferate if they are already there.

LIFE CYCLE OF A VIRUS

  1. A virus particle attaches to a host cell. This is called the process of adsorption.

  2. The particle injects its DNA or RNA into the host cell called entry.

  3. The invading DNA or RNA takes over the cell and recruits the host’s enzymes.

  4. The cellular enzymes start making new virus particles called replication.

  5. The particles of the virus created by the cell come together to form new viruses. This is called assembly.

  6. The newly formed viruses kill the cell so that they may break free and search for a new host cell. This is called release.

Some viral infections are short-lived, like colds, the flu and sore throats. Others are lifelong: hepatitis and AIDS (which many people believe is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

Throughout history, viral epidemics have plagued mankind and proven more powerful than the mightiest of armies. A flu epidemic wiped out Charlemagne’s army in 876 AD. Thousands of American colonists in the 1720s died after being exposed to a flu virus. The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed more than 22 million people worldwide. The Hong Kong flu killed more than 70,000 Americans in the late 1960s. In the early 1980s, a new viral disease surfaced that still plagues us today: AIDS. In the late 1990s, a lethal, fast-killing virus appeared called ebola. Like AIDS, there is still no cure for ebola.

After finding a cell to enter, the virus taps into that cell’s reproductive equipment to duplicate itself. It makes thousands of copies of itself and in the process, damages or destroys the host cells. All this cellular debris and loose viral particles signal the immune system to fight back. White blood cells zoom to the infected scene, releasing chemical toxins, fever stimulators and other agents built to fight invading viruses. Viruses test the body’s infection-fighting capacity. As a consequence, symptoms including pain, redness, swelling, heat, fever, and rash often result.

Viruses are stubborn and sneaky and possess a keen sense of survival. A virus attempts to bypass the body’s built-in alarm system (the immune system) by growing in areas where the immune system has no access. Viruses also use mutation (altering their identity)resulting in a delayed response by the immune system. They can also cause suppression of the immune system: examples would be HIV and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

TYPES OF VIRUSES

Not all viruses are covered here yet but most of the antiviral natural remedies listed here may help to prevent and treat most types of viruses.

Rhinovirus (common colds and coughs)

The rhinoviruses (over 100 strains) consist of a single-stranded RNA nucleic acid molecule and are not surrounded by an envelope. This virus is responsible for approximately 50 per cent of common colds and only infects the upper respiratory tract. Once infected, the body makes a specific antibody to avoid re-infection to the particular strain it has encountered.  Most people recover within a few days from a cold although a cough may linger on a while. If it does not stop after three weeks it is best to consult a health care professional.

Nature cures to help prevent and fight of  colds and coughs

Berries: red, blue and black coloured berries are all rich in powerful antioxidants and can help prevent colds and the influenza viruses from taking hold of the body. Consume one bowl per day.

Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium which is known to improve the immune system function. Consume two brazil nuts daily to prevent colds and influenza.

Chicken broth: A bowl of homemade chicken broth can boost the immune system and help to fight off a viral infection quickly. Chicken broth is a good source of protein, an important nutrient for immune system maintenance. It also contains B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and zinc, all of which strengthen the immune system. It also helps the body stay hydrated, which can speed up the healing process. Take a small bowl or mug of chicken broth several times a day when dealing with symptoms of a cold, including a cough and nasal congestion. many of the other remedies for cold and coughs listed here can be added to chicken broth to provide even more protection and relief from colds and coughs.

Chilli pepper contains capsaicin which helps to boost the immune system. It is also rich in  beta-carotene which is essential for a healthy immune system as it helps defend the body against invading pathogens to prevent illness. It also helps to clear congestion, flush out toxins, stimulate the digestion and reduces symptoms of colds and other infections. It is also a good pain reliever, aids blood circulation and prevents diabetes, headaches, heart disease, migraines, prostate cancer, psoriasis and stomach ulcers. To improve immunity, and help with all the above disorders, include at least a pinch or two of hot chilli pepper in the daily diet.

Eucalyptus oil: To relieve headaches from sinus congestion and sooth a sore throat Inhale the infused steam deeply by adding a few drops of the oil to a bowl of just boiled water and leaning over it with a towel over the head .(external use only). Fresh branches from the eucalyptus tree can also be tied together upside down in the shower. NOTE: Not advised for those that suffer with asthma.

Garlic is one of best immune-boosting foods as it has powerful antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties that help the body ward off and fight infections. Regular consumption of garlic helps the body fight infections and inflammatory diseases like the common cold, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis. It can also help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and aid in preventing various types of cancer. To stay healthy, eat one or two raw garlic cloves daily.

Ginger: Apart from being a strong antioxidant, ginger has antibiotic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to eliminate congestion, ease a sore throat, kill cold viruses, combat fever, inhibit pancreatic cancer cell growth, inhibit peptic ulcer disease, promote gastric mobility, decrease chronic pain and lower high cholesterol. Drink one to two cups of ginger tea daily to keep the immune system functioning properly.

Green vegetables such as algae, barley grass, cabbage, chlorella, kale, kelp, seaweed, spinach, spirulina and watercress contain components which are important for the immune system to work correctly. Consume one per day to prevent and fight off colds and influenza viruses.

Green tea can boost the immune system as it contains a flavonoid called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and antioxidants that help to fight bacteria and prevent viruses from multiplying. Regular consumption of green tea can also help to prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis periodontal disease and strokes. Drink a cup of green tea several times a day. Take with half a freshly squeezed lemon to provide an even more powerful remedy.

Honey, lemon or lime and apple cider vinegar: Daily consumption of honey has been found to strengthen the immune system. Its antibacterial, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties help fight infections from bacteria, fungi, viruses and yeasts. Honey also improves the digestive system, treats acid reflux, soothes a sore throat and a cough, improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity and, externally, heal wounds and scars quickly. Start each day with one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water with half a squeezed lemon or lime and a tablespoon of unpasteurised organic apple cider vinegar to help the body ward off and fight any kind of infection. Manuka or locally sourced honey is best. Locally sourced honey may help to prevent hay fever and other allergies.

Mushrooms have a high antioxidant content and are rich in the essential minerals selenium and copper that are important for the immune system. The best ones to consume for this purpose are maitake, reishi or shiitake mushrooms.

Phyllanthus amarus herb is very effective in naturally treating colds.

Raw Juice Therapy can successfully treat a cold. The best organic natural foods to juice are: lemon, orange, grapefruit, pineapple, carrot, onion, celery and spinach. NOTE: Avoid grapefruit if taking any medications.

Swede: This vegetable is high in nutrients that can support the immune system and help to treat the symptoms of colds and coughs. Add to a chicken broth for maximum benefit.

Sweet potatoes are rich in the fat-soluble antioxidant beta-carotene, which protects against damaging free radicals and improves immune cell function. Plus, they have a high amount of vitamin A, which is required for the normal functioning of the immune system and helps develop resistance to infection. In order to absorb the fat soluble nutrients in sweet potatoes always consume them with a little cold pressed oil or with avocado, fish, nuts and seeds. Sweet potatoes also help regulate blood sugar and lower insulin resistance; combat inflammatory problems like asthma, arthritis, and gout; relieve constipation and prevent colon cancer; protect against emphysema and prevent strokes and heart attacks. Eat one-half cup of boiled sweet potatoes daily to improve the immune system and stay healthy.

Thyme and lemon thyme: A tea made with thyme is commonly used for bronchial problems such as bronchitis, whooping cough and laryngitis.  It is also beneficial for the treatment of diarrhoea, chronic gastritis and lack of appetite.  Uses: alcoholism, hangover, headache, colds and coughs, excess mucus, stomach problems, respiratory problems, stomach cramps, worms and parasites and virus infections. Drink a thyme tea two or three times a day.

Turmeric has powerful anti-microbial properties and can help to prevent colds and influenza when a half teaspoon is included in the daily diet. Add to meals or sprinkle on eggs, fish, rice or vegetables. It is particularly good with cauliflower.

Vitamin C is essential for a strong immune system. Consuming the richest sources of this vital nutrient is important in preventing and during a cold. Contrary to what people often think oranges are not the best source of this vital vitamin as they only contain 53 mg per 100 grams and can cause stomach upset in some people.

The highest sources of vitamin C in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Acerola cherries 1677.6 mg

  • Camu camu berries 532 mg

  • Rosehips 426 mg

  • Green chillies 242.5 mg

  • Guavas 228.3 mg

  • Yellow bell peppers 183.5 mg

  • Black currants 181 mg

  • Thyme 160.01 mg

  • Red chillies 143.7 mg

  • Drumstick pods 141 mg

  • Kale 120 mg

  • Jalapeno peppers 118.6 mg

  • Kiwi fruit 105.4 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 102 mg

  • Broccoli 89 mg

  • Brussel sprouts 85 mg

  • Cloves, saffron 81 mg

  • Chilli pepper 76 mg

  • Mustard greens 70 mg

  • Cress 69 mg

  • Persimmons fruit 66 mg

  • Swede 62 mg

  • Basil 61 mg

  • Papaya 60 mg

  • Rosemary 61 mg

  • Strawberries 58 mg

  • Chives 58 mg

NOTE: When consuming vitamin C  rich foods it is also important to consume the same amount of vitamin E rich foods as they have  an opposite effect upon the mineral levels in the body and too much of one will cause an imbalance. It is for that reason that vitamin C supplements should be avoided. Adding some nuts like almonds, brazils or cashew nuts and/or seeds such as flax, hemp, pumpkin, sesame or sunflower seeds to the diet at the same time as vitamin C rich foods can help to keep this balance.

 

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is vital for a strong immune system and is often lacking in people in the Northern hemisphere during the colder months which may add the the cold and influenza epidemics that often occur at this time of the year. The body stores vitamin D which it manufactures in the skin using cholesterol and the suns UV rays but only enough for 60 days providing there has been enough skin exposure to the sun. It is wise to consume red krill oil capsules or oily (non-farmed) fish.

 

Highest sources of vitamin D per serving

  • Krill oil - 1 teaspoon: 1000 IU

  • Eel - 85 g or 3 oz: 792 IU

  • Maitake mushrooms - 70 g: 786 IU

  • Rainbow trout - 85 g or 3 oz: 540 IU

  • Cod liver oil - 1 teaspoon: 440 IU

  • Mackerel - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Salmon - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Halibut - 85 g or 3 oz: 196 IU

  • Tuna - 85 g or 3 oz: 228 IU

  • Sardines - 85 g or 3 oz: 164 IU

  • Chanterelle mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 155 IU

  • Raw milk - 1 glass or 8 oz: 98 IU

  • Egg yolk - 1 large: 41 IU

  • Caviar - 28g or 1 oz: 33 IU

  • Hemp seeds - 100 g or 3.5 oz: 22 IU

  • Portabella mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 6 IU

NOTE: One IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 μg or 0.3 micrograms

Wash hands regularly during the cold and influenza seasons especially after touching any surface others may have touched such as door handles, cash machines, money etc. This is especially important before eating or doing anything that involves the hands touching the mouth such as smoking. It is good to get into the habit of washing the hands as soon as getting home so that the cold virus does not infect others in the household. Always use a tissue when sneezing and coughing and dispose of it properly.

Yoghurt with active live cultures provides beneficial bacteria that have many important functions in the body including the manufacture of nutrients and aiding with digestion. They also help to improve the immune system. Consume a pot of plain organic yoghurt daily with breakfast or as a topping on desserts or in sauces or dips instead of cream.

Zinc has been shown to speed up the recovery from colds and coughs.

Highest sources of zinc in milligrams per 100 grams are:

  • Oysters 78.6 mg

  • Chlorella 71 mg

  • Wheat germ 16.7 mg

  • Beef 12.3 mg

  • Calf's liver 11.9 mg

  • Hemp seeds 11.5 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 10.3 mg

  • Sesame and watermelon seeds 10.2 mg

  • Bamboo shoots, endives and gourds 9 mg

  • Chervil (herb) 8.8 mg

  • Lamb 8.7 mg

  • Venison 8.6 mg

  • Alfalfa seeds (sprouted), amaranth leaves, Crimini mushrooms, Irish moss and tea 8 mg

  • Crab 7.6 mg

  • Lobster 7.3 mg

  • Agave, basil, beefalo, broccoli, elk, emu, oats, ostrich, spinach and turkey 7 mg

  • Cocoa powder 6.8 mg

  • Asparagus, chicken livers, laver seaweed, mushrooms, parsley and rice bran 5.7 mg

  • Cashew nuts 5.6 mg

  • Pork 5.1 mg

  • Jute (herb), lemon grass, mung beans, Portobello mushrooms, radishes and shiitake mushrooms 5 mg

  • Agar seaweed, butterbur, cauliflower, chicory, Chinese cabbage, chives, coriander, green beans, lentils, lettuce, okra, rocket, spring onions, summer squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes and wasabi (yellow) 3.4 mg

  • Peanuts 3.3 mg

  • Cheddar cheese 3.1 mg

  • Mozzarella cheese 2.9 mg

  • Anchovies and rabbit 2.4 mg

  • Cabbage, cucumber, jalapeno peppers, , kidney beans, navy beans, spirulina and turnip greens 2 mg

  • Mussels 1.6 mg

  • Arrowroot, artichokes (globe), beetroot, bell peppers, black eyed peas, borage, broad beans, Brussel sprouts, butter beans, cabbage, carrots, celery, chilli peppers, courgettes, dandelion greens, garlic, horseradish, kale, kelp, mustard greens, peas, pinto beans, potatoes, pumpkin, turnips, Swede, sweet potato, tomatoes (red),  wakame (seaweed), watercress and winged beans 1.2 mg

NOTE: Avoid excess cumin, ginger and turmeric if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication), or hormone therapies and contraceptive pills or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen, have heart problems or during the first three months of pregnancy or are breast feeding.

Coxsackievirus (polio virus, echovirus, hepatitis A)

A virus that belongs to a family of non enveloped, linear, positive-sense RNA viruses, Picornaviridae and the genus Enterovirus. They are part of the enterovirus family of viruses (which also includes polioviruses, echovirus and hepatitis A) that live in the human digestive tract. They can spread from person to person, usually on unwashed hands and surfaces contaminated by faeces, where they can live for several days. In cooler climates, outbreaks of coxsackievirus infections most often occur in the summer and autumn, though they cause infections year-round in tropical parts of the world. In most cases, coxsackieviruses cause mild flu-like symptoms and go away without treatment. But in some cases, they can lead to more serious infections. Some infected people may show no symptoms at all whilst others may develop a sudden high fever, headache and muscle aches, sore throat, abdominal discomfort or nausea.

Hand, foot and mouth disease; a type of coxsackievirus syndrome that causes painful red blisters in the throat and on the tongue, gums, hard palate, inside of the cheeks, the palms of hands and soles of the feet.

Herpangina, an infection of the throat which causes red-ringed blisters and ulcers on the tonsils and soft palate, the fleshy back portion of the roof of the mouth.

Hemorrhagic conjunctivitis; is an infection that affects the whites of the eyes. Hemorrhagic conjunctivitis usually begins as eye pain, followed quickly by red, watery eyes with swelling, light sensitivity and blurred vision.

Occasionally, coxsackieviruses can cause more serious infections that requires immediate medical attention, including:

viral meningitis, an infection of the meninges (the three membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord)
encephalitis, a brain infection
myocarditis, an infection of the heart muscle

Newborns can be infected from their mothers during or shortly after birth and are more at risk for developing serious infection, including myocarditis, hepatitis, and meningoencephalitis (an inflammation of the brain and meninges). In newborns, symptoms can develop within 2 weeks after birth.

The anthraquinones in Chinese rhubarb root can create virucidal activity against polio.

Ebola

The Ebola and Marburg viruses are the only members of a newly identified family of single-stranded, unsegmented RNA viruses, the filoviridae. This family is closely related to the rhabdoviridae, which includes the rabies virus, and the paramyxoviridae. Viruses in this latter family cause childhood diseases such as measles. Filoviruses infect humans and other primates.

Ebola haemorrhagic fever outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus. Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

The Ebola virus is comprised of five distinct species: Bundibugyo, Ivory Coast, Reston, Sudan and Zaire. Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire species have been associated with large Ebola haemorrhagic fever outbreaks in Africa, while the Ivory Coast and Reston species have not The Ebola Reston species, found in the Philippines, can infect humans, but no illness or death in humans has been reported to date.

Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found dead or ill in the rainforest.

Later Ebola spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people. Burial ceremonies where mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. Transmission via infected semen can occur up to seven weeks after clinical recovery. Little is known of the molecular biology of these viruses or the mechanisms by which they cause disease.

Symptoms of Ebola

Sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. The incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) varies between 2 to 21 days. During Ebola outbreaks, the case-fatality rate has varied from outbreak to outbreak between 25% and 90%.

The seeds of the African bitter kola tree have properties that can kill the ebola virus.

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

EBV is responsible for infectious mononucleosis (IM). The virus has an affinity for the B-lymphocytes of the immune system. 

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) belongs to the herpes family of viruses. It is sometimes referred to as Human Herpes Virus-4 (HHV-4). Epstein-Barr is one of the most common viruses in humans affecting approximately 95% of adults by the age of 35-40 years. Transmission of the virus is almost impossible to prevent but, fortunately, the Epstein Barr virus and infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein Barr virus and are almost never fatal. The symptoms of infectious mononucleosis usually resolve themselves within 1-2 months. However, once a person is infected with Epstein Barr virus, it establishes a lifelong infection which can cause recurrent episodes of mononucleosis symptoms later in life.

After the primary infection, EBV remains within the host for life and is intermittently shed from the oropharynx (mouth and throat). Therefore a person might be shedding the virus and passing it to someone else without realizing it or being symptomatic themselves. Because it is shed from the oropharynx, it may be passed via kissing or other contact with saliva. EBV can also be spread via the transfusion of blood products.

Epstein Barr Virus Symptoms

  • Fever is a common symptom of many ailments; it is also present in infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein Barr virus.

  • Sore throat: there are many other causes for throat soreness, however it is also a common sign of mononucleosis.

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome is an illness characterised by severe to debilitating fatigue that impairs daily function and is often made worse by exertion, exercise and other stresses. It may be accompanied by enlarged, painful lymph nodes, sore throat, headache, painful joints, abdominal pain, muscle pain, low-grade fever and cognitive difficulty, especially difficulty concentrating and sleeping.

  • Swelling in the lymph glands.

  • Salivary gland swelling.

  • Swollen spleen.

  • Swollen liver.

It is common for those infected by the Epstein Barr virus to have intestinal parasites and candida. When this is the case intestinal and bowel disorders can be present too.

Prevention of Epstein Barr virus is difficult, because so many adults are already infected with the virus which is spread through contact with the saliva of an infected person. Since a very large percentage of adults are already infected with the dormant virus, no specific prevention procedures are available. Epstein Barr Virus establishes a lifelong dormant infection in some cells of the body's immune system.

EBV is associated with other, potentially life-threatening diseases though including lymphomas and autoimmune diseases. Hodgkins disease and non-Hodgkins lymphoma are malignant processes whereby cancer cells arising from the immune and lymphatic systems proliferate beyond normal levels. Two rare cancers have emerged among some carriers of Epstein Barr Virus. These are: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma and Burkitt's lymphoma. These cancers are rare and may not be caused solely by Epstein Barr Virus. Although rarely seen, other complications involving the central nervous system and heart problems may also occur.

Natural treatments for the symptoms of the Epstein Barr virus

Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables while avoiding sugar, alcohol and coffee will help to support the immune system. Adequate rest and sleep are also important. Stress, whether physiological or emotional, takes its toll on the immune function, so any measures that can reduce or help manage stress are important.

Balancing the intestinal flora is vital in the fight against this virus as this will boost the body's immune system which can then inhibit the replication of this virus naturally. Adding extra fibre and probiotic foods to the diet can help such as psyllium husks, coconut flesh, natural live organic yoghurt and brine pickled foods.

Concentrated chaparral leaf resin has been shown to have significant anti-viral and antioxidant activity especially against the Epstein Barr virus. Two active natural ingredients inhibit the genes responsible for the replication of the virus.

Olive leaf extract and colloidal silver have shown to be useful natural remedies against the symptoms caused by the Epstein Barr virus.

Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)

The incubation period of hepatitis A is about 30 (15-50) days and is a self-limiting infection. Acute symptoms are usually mild to moderate. It is spread by faecal-oral contamination and close personal contact.

The incubation period of hepatitis B is approximately 90 (21-180) days. The severity of the chronic symptoms range from moderate to severe. It is commonly transferred through blood (the virus can live up to two weeks outside of the body), blood products, sexual intercourse or close personal contact. About 10 percent of those infected are carriers with no symptoms. About five to 10 percent of those infected suffer from chronic hepatitis development. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is 50 to 100 times more infectious than human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Globally, in 2013, two billion individuals have been infected with HBV, which is responsible for nearly 600,000 deaths each year.

The incubation period of hepatitis C is 20-90 days. The symptoms are moderate to severe and become chronic in more than 50 percent of those infected. It is transmitted the same way as hepatitis B. Infected persons may not show symptoms.

Hepatitis D only occurs along with hepatitis B co-infection and has an incubation period of 30-50 days and the symptoms range from moderate to severe. Because it is linked to hepatitis B, it can become chronic. See hepatitis B for transmission.

Unfortunately there is no known cure for hepatitis infections. There are herbs and foods that can help the body slow down replication of the virus, reduce the symptoms and help heal the liver. Supporting the immune system is the best way to make sure the virus is kept in check.

Vitamin D helps maintain a healthy immune system and there is evidence of its role in inflammatory and metabolic liver disease, including infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitus B (HBV). Foods rich in vitamin D are: aloe vera, aubergine, carp fish, cod liver oil, eel, eggs, halibut, hemp seeds, krill oil, oily fish, rosehips, sea bass, trout, tuna (fresh), turbot, white bait, wild mushrooms.

For natural foods that support the liver see the Liver page.

It is advisable to cut out alcohol, smoking, drugs and animal fats whilst suffering from hepatitis to enable the liver to heal itself.

Herpes

Genital herpes is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus Type I (HSV-1) and Type II (HSV-2). The Type I virus is the same one that causes cold sores on the mouth, face and lips, although it can also cause sores on the genitals and buttocks. The Type II virus, however, most often causes sores on the genitals.

Herpes can also spread to the genitals from a cold sore on the lips if hand washing and other hygiene precautions are not taken. Or it can be spread though oral or genital sexual contact. The virus does not have to be in an active state that is, blisters do not have to be present, for a partner to become infected. The virus can also be passed during the pre-active state, when there is itching or tingling in the area where the sores generally appear. Sometimes, the virus can be passed along before the infected person is even aware that the virus is present. What's more, saliva also carries the virus.

The first episode usually starts within a couple weeks of exposure, and the initial onset can be pretty bad, including an initial round and then a second round of painful sores, flu like symptoms, fever and swollen glands. Sometimes the symptoms are mild, however, and appear as little more than insect bites or a rash. Herpes spends most of its life dormant. But, like cold sores, genital herpes recurs, often up to four or five times a year.

Always take care to clean the shower or bath if it is shared with someone who doesn't have the virus and never share towels. Following a shower or bath, make sure to dry the affected area thoroughly, as moisture prolongs symptomatic sores. Patting with bicarbonate of soda after a bath will help to dry up sores quickly and helps to kill off the active herpes virus.

Chicken pox

Chicken pox is an infectious disease causing a mild fever and a rash of itchy inflamed pimples which turn to blisters and then loose scabs. It is caused by the herpes zoster virus and mainly affects children. The virus can spread through air or contact with saliva, mucus or fluid from blisters of an infected individual. The infected person is contagious from a day or two before the rashes appear, until the time when all the blisters have dried.

It usually takes 10-21 days for the symptoms to develop the symptoms after being exposed to the virus. The most common symptoms are an itchy rash and red spots or blisters all over the body. Other symptoms include aching muscles, fatigue, fever, fatigue and loss of appetite. There is no cure for the virus but it usually clears up of its own accord after around two weeks.

Nature Cures Remedies to alleviate symptoms of chicken pox

Internal remedies

Carrot and coriander soup can help to fight off the virus from the inside.

Herbal teas made with chamomile, holy basil, lemon balm or marigold and drunk three times a day can help with recovery from chickenpox. dd freshly squeezd lemon juice, a pinch of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey for best results.

External remedies

Bicarbonate of soda: To relieve the itching add a half a tablespoon to a cup of water and use a soft wash cloth to dab onto affected areas and allow to dry. Alternatively add a few tablespoons to warm bath water and soak in it before gently patting the skin dry.

Chamomile, lavender, marigold and sandalwood essential oils: Adding a few drops of any of these oils to a bath of lukewarm water then soaking for 10 to 15 minutes can relieve itching.

Honey can help to heal blisters and relieve itching. Choose a local pure honey and spread onto affected area two or three times a day fo ten minutes before soaking in a cool bath with a tablespoon of sea salt added to it.

Neem leaves: These can be crushed and added to bath water or made into a paste and applied to the affected area. Neem leaves has antiviral properties and helps blisters to dry out and stops itching.

Oatmeal: Grind a cup of oatmeal into a fine powder and pour into a bath of lukewarm water and soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Vinegar: Add half a cupful to a bath of lukewarm water and soak for 10 to 15 minutes. This will help to releive itching and prevent scars.

NOTE: Never give aspirin or nurofen/ibuprofen anti-inflammatory medications to children with chicken pox as they can react with chicken pox virus causing it to go deeper into the skin tissue. This may lead to septicaemia and symptoms include sudden high fever with chills, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate. Septicaemia needs immediate emergency hospital treatment.

Cold Sores (herpes simplex virus type 1)

Also called fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1, which is usually acquired in childhood through contact with infected saliva. The type 1 virus is believed to lie dormant in certain nerve cells of the body until it is activated by stress, anxiety, a cold or excessive exposure to the sun. It causes sores on the external lip or near the mouth or nose that last anywhere from seven to 14 days.

Always use new toothbrush after the blister has formed and again after the attack has cleared up. Toothbrushes can harbour the virus.

Cold sores are extremely contagious, avoid kissing and sharing cups, towels or other such items. Wash hands frequently, especially after touching the cold sore. And take care not to touch eyes or genitals immediately after touching the sore. Keep a hand sanitizer with you when out in case a bathroom is unavailable.

Attempting to camouflage a cold sore with makeup often aggravates the problem, as the chemicals in makeup can make the sore worse. Sharing lipstick or makeup can pass the virus to others.

Herpetic Eye Disease

Herpes zoster (shingles virus) and the herpes simplex virus type I (cold sores) and type II (genital herpes) can also affect the eyes. Usually it affects the cornea and can be quite painful but it can affect other parts of the eye such as the retina and cause a macular oedema to develop. Treatment is usually steroid eye drops but a healthy immune system from a balanced diet can reduce the severity of the infection. It is important to never touch the eyes after touching sores from an attack of herpes anywhere else on the body.

Natures Cures symptoms of Herpes

Glycyrrhizic acid, an ingredient in liquorice root, kills the cold sore virus cells. Dab some of the powdered liquorice root on the sore then use petroleum jelly for instant relief.

Covering a cold sore with petroleum jelly will speed healing and help protect it from secondary infection with bacteria.

Soak a cotton ball in milk and apply it to the sore to relieve pain. If this is done as soon as the tingling is felt before the cold sore surfaces, it can help speed the healing right from the beginning.

Ice held on to the cold sore just as it is appearing can reduce the time it takes to heal. But do not use for too long or too often.

Apply a herbal paste made with liquorice root & rice.

Drinking peppermint tea helps with the pain caused by herpes blisters.

Using a cotton ball, pat bicarbonate of soda on the sores to dry them out and decrease itching. Be careful not to contaminate the bicarbonate of soda so that someone else can catch the virus from it.

Placing a cold, wet black tea bag directly to the sores has been known as an alternative treatment to flare-ups.

Fill a plastic bag with crushed ice, wrapping the bag in material the thickness of a sheet. Apply for 10 or 15 minutes and repeat several times a day. Make sure and discard any plastic bags after one use. As a precaution, take care with the amount of time applied, because prolonged exposure to ice can cause tissue damage.

Foods rich in vitamin C and vitamin P (bioflavonoid), consumed 3 times a day at least, will help treat and can prevent herpes blisters and cold sores.

Natural foods rich in lysine are known to inhibit attacks of herpes such as amaranth, apples, cheese (non pasteurised), egg whites, organ meats, oily fish, quinoa, whole grains and organic live probiotic yoghurt.

Natural fungicidal foods are also antiviral and can clear up herpes infections such as: aloe vera juice, apple cider vinegar, astragalus, bicarbonate of soda, chilli pepper, citrus fruit, cloves, garlic, honey. Try making a concoction with any of these ingredients and take daily at the start of the next active herpes outbreak. Also cut out sugar at the same time and take daily tea tree oil and aloe vera gel baths then pat the sores with bicarbonate of soda powder.

Many herbs and spices have antiviral properties which can keep virus infections in check. Visit the Medicinal Herbs and Spices page for more information.


Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

This is the most common sexually transmitted infections. There are more than 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of males and females. These HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. They can cause serious health problems, including genital warts and cancer of the penis, vulva, vagina, anus, mouth and throat. There is no certain way to tell who will develop health problems from HPV and who will not. In most cases it goes away by itself before it causes any health problems and most people who become infected do not even know they have it. HPV is not the same as herpes or HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Both viruses can be passed on during sex, but they have different symptoms and cause different health problems.

The incubation time (time from exposure to appearance of warts) may range from a few weeks to many months or years. Some people harbor the virus and transmit it to others without ever developing the growths themselves.

There can be long-term health effects of HPV for women, certain strains (unrelated to genital warts) are associated with Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN), also known as cervical dysplasia (abnormal cell growth on the cervix). Unchecked and untreated it can progress, possibly to cancer; or, it can heal on its own. The more severe the dysplasia, the more likely it is to progress to cancer. Mild dysplasia may resolve on its own, without any treatment.

One way to lower the risk of contracting HPV is to never engage in unprotected sex but this is not always safe as sometimes the virus can be present on the skin in places other than the genitals. A monogamous partnership with someone who has been tested and is negative is possibly the only way to remain free of the virus. There are also vaccines now available to prevent the contraction. A healthy balanced diet will keep the immune system strong which can also fight off the virus before it can cause warts and further damage.

Genital warts

Usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. They can appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected partner even if the infected partner has no signs of genital warts. If left untreated, they might go away, remain unchanged, or increase in size or number. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types that cause cancers. Genital warts can be treated successfully with a tincture or paste made of bloodroot or comfrey.

Cervical cancer usually does not cause symptoms until it is quite advanced. For this reason, it is important for women to get regular screening for cervical cancer. Screening tests can find early signs of disease so that problems can be treated early, before they ever turn into cancer.

Other cancers caused by HPV might not have signs or symptoms until they are advanced and hard to treat. Other HPV-associated cancers include the vulva, vagina, penis, anus and oropharynx.

RRP is a condition in which warts grow in the throat. RRP can occur in children (juvenile-onset) and adults (adult-onset). These growths can sometimes block the airway, causing a hoarse voice or trouble breathing.

In most cases the virus goes away and it does not lead to any health problems. However, when the virus persists it can cause normal cells to become abnormal and, most of the time, these changes cannot be seen or felt.

Warts can appear within months after getting HPV. Cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV.

There is no certain way to know which people infected with HPV will go on to develop cancer or other health problems. However, persons with weak immune systems (including persons with HIV) may be less able to fight it off and are more likely to develop health problems from it.

The phytonutrients found in rocket are useful in the treatment of recurring respiratory papillomatosis caused by the Human Papilloma Virus.

Warts

Remedy 1. Gently rough up the outer surface of the wart with an emery board then place the inside of the banana skin over the wart and bandage. This should remove the wart after a few hours.

Remedy 2. Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply to the wart using duct tape or medical tape. Leave on over night. Because apple cider vinegar is very acidic, it may irritate the skin surrounding the wart. If it becomes too irritating, try apply every other night. This remedy may also take some time but there should be results after the first week or so.

Remedy 3. Rub freshly cut raw white potatoes on the warts several times a day. This should show results after two weeks.

Remedy 4. Drinking aloe vera juice can improve the activity of the immune system, helping the body fight off the virus that causes warts. Also, apply the juice directly from the leaves of the plant to the wart is an effective treatment.

Remedy 5. Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy is a natural wart remedy that is quite often recommended by medical doctors. The remedy involves placing a piece of duct tape over the wart for several days or weeks. If the piece of tape should fall off, replace it with a fresh piece or tape. Some of the wart may come off with the tape, but the dead cells can be removed with a pumice stone or emery board if necessary. This is a highly effective natural wart remedy.

Remedy 6. Rub castor oil on the warts every day for several months.

Remedy 7. Take one fig leaf and apply the milk or sap from the leaf to the affected areas. Do this twice daily until the wart disappears.

Since warts are caused by a viral infection, boosting the body's immune system is one of the most effective methods of preventing and treating warts. Consuming foods high in vitamin C can keep the immune system in good working order. Some people have also found it helpful to apply vitamin C directly to the wart as a topical treatment. Also be sure to drink plenty of bottled mineral water and get sufficient rest.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS)

HIV specifically attacks the white blood cells of the immune system (CD4+ T-helper cells) and allows other infections and/or diseases to develop such as fungal infections and pneumonia. It is estimated that 34 million people worldwide have been infected by the HIV virus. The majority of people infected by HIV develop a flu-like illness within a month or two after the virus enters the body. This illness, known as primary or acute HIV infection, may last for a few weeks.

The symptoms of HIV usually happen within one or two months of infection but, in some cases, they may not manifest themselves for up to a decade after infection.

Over 50% of people infected with HIV experience Acute Retroviral Syndrome (ARS) which is a condition that occurs within the first two to four weeks after someone is infected with the human immunodeficiency virus. It is the primary stage of infection and lasts until the body has created antibodies against HIV

During this stage of infection, the virus is duplicating at a rapid rate. Unlike other viruses, the body's immune system is unable to fight off HIV, and the infection can live in cells for long periods of time. Over time, the virus attacks and destroys immune cells, leaving the immune system unable to fight off other diseases and infections. When this happens, HIV infection can lead to the development of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Because of its similar symptoms, HIV is easily confused with colds or influenza and in some cases can even be mistaken for syphilis or hepatitis. It is important to be tested for AIDS by a health practitioner if the following symptoms appear as early treatment is important.

In some people, HIV infection will create no symptoms at all until the damage to the immune system has progressed which is why it is important to be regularly tested if HIV infection may have been contracted through unprotected intercourse or blood contact.

Early signs and symptoms of HIV infection

Fever

Fever is one of the first indicators is often accompanied by sore throat, swollen lymph nodes or weakness.

Swollen lymph glands, muscles aches and joint pain

The lymph glands are mostly situated in the groin, armpits or neck and become activated when there is infection in the body.

Sore throat and headache

Sore throats and headaches can appear before the body has produced HIV antibodies. It takes a few weeks or even a few months for the antibodies to show in a test. A test can be done that can detect viral RNA about nine days after infection.

Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea

Between 30 and 60% of the people who are infected have short-term nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea in the early period after infection.

Dry cough and shortness of breath

A persistent dry cough can be easily be mistaken as an allergy but can often be an early sign of infection. An insidious cough that goes on for weeks is usually present in patients with advanced HIV infection.  

Fatigue

As the body system is wasted by the infection, it generates an inflammatory response, which cause exhaustion. This can be both an early or later sign of HIV.

Skin rash or mouth and genital ulcers

Skin rashes on the arms, legs, face or stomach are usual in HIV or AIDS and can appear early or late throughout the illness.

Nail changes

One of the main indicators of the infection appear to be changes in the nails. Thickening or bending of the nails or staining (dark lines) are often visible. This is usually because of candida infections or other contagious diseases and is cause by a depleted immune system.

Although the symptoms of primary HIV infection may be mild enough to go unnoticed, the amount of virus in the blood stream (viral load) is particularly high at this time. As a result, HIV infection spreads more efficiently during primary infection than during the next stage of infection.

Clinical latent infection

In some people, persistent swelling of lymph nodes occurs during clinical latent HIV. Otherwise, there are no specific signs and symptoms. HIV remains in the body, however, as free virus and in infected white blood cells. Clinical latent infection typically lasts eight to 10 years. A few people stay in this stage even longer, but others progress to more-severe disease much sooner.

If the HIV infection is not treated it typically progresses to AIDS in about 10 years. By the time AIDS develops, the immune system has been severely damaged, making the infected person susceptible to opportunistic infections that would not trouble a person with a healthy immune system.

Later signs and symptoms of HIV infection.

Blurred and distorted vision and floaters

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis is a virus belonging to the herpes family and is a sight-threatening disease frequently associated with HIV infection. It occurs because the compromised immune system cannot cope with this virus which affects the eyes. When CMV invades the retina, it begins to compromise the light-sensitive receptors that enable a person to see. This does not cause any pain, but floaters or small specks may appear and there will be reduced visual acuity (blurred vision) or decreased peripheral vision. Light flashes and sudden vision loss also can occur.

The disease usually starts in one eye but often involves both eyes. If left untreated, CMV retinitis can cause a detached retina and blindness in just two to six months. AIDS patients sometimes also experience changes to the retina and optic nerve without clear signs of CMV retinitis.

Weight reduction

Unexplained weight loss can be a later sign of infection and it could range from little to extreme. The loss in weight might indicate a secondary infection such as toxoplasmosis, a parasitic illness that can influence the mind; a herpes called cytomegalovirus and simple yeast infections such as thrush.

Night sweats

Half of the HIV infected experience night sweats during the later stages of HIV infection.

Yeast infections

Thrush (a mouth yeast infection) can appear in the later stages, but yeast infections in other parts of the body can appear too. It is a common fungus that makes it difficult to swallow because it resides in the oesophagus. See Fungal and Yeast Infections for natural remedies to help the body fight off these infections.

Anxiety or trouble concentrating

HIV related dementia can appear late in the illness. It can cause memory loss and behavioural issues, for example touchiness or resentment.

Cold sores or genital herpes

The cold sores (genital herpes) can be a sign of HIV or ARS. They appear in the later stages. Having herpes is also a risk factor for getting HIV, because it causes ulcers that allow HIV to enter the body through sex. It is reported that people with HIV have severe herpes and get it more often because of the decimated immune system.

Shivering and numbness

Late HIV stages may cause neuropathy, causing shivering and numbness in the limbs. This also happens to diabetes patients. It is because the nerves are being damaged by the infection.

Menstrual irregularities

Lighter periods mark the later stages of advanced HIV disease. The earlier ages of menopause (47 to 48 years for infected women against 49 to 51 for uninfected), can also be associated with HIV infection.

Pneumonia

Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a serious infection that causes inflammation and fluid build-up in the lungs. It is caused by a fungus called Pneumocystis jiroveci which normally people are able to ward off. However those with an impaired immune system, such as HIV infected individuals, are unable to fight off this infection and in some cases it can be fatal.  .

NATURAL TREATMENTS FOR HIV/AIDS

To correct the blood count of a person suffering with HIV 4 -6 cups a day of carrot, beetroot and beetroot leaf juice can work within a few days.

Pau d'Arco tea or tincture concoctions have reportedly had beneficial effects for HIV/AIDS patients especially when used in conjunction with cat's claw and jergon sacha.

Maqui berry is a Chilean 'super fruit' which contains the highest amount of antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds than any other known natural food. Regular consumption can reduce pain and inflammation, promote detoxification and stimulate the immune system to fight against infection and diseases like HIV/AIDS.

Ten drops a day of echinacea tincture and about 5 cups of echinacea root tea can help boost the immune system.

Starting out with Raw Juice Therapy for a few days then progressing to solid natural foods from the Nature Cures Diet list below can also fight off the HIV virus.

See Nature Cures for Viruses below for natural remedies against HIV/AIDS>

The Medicinal Herbs and Spices page has details of many virus fighting natural remedies which can be beneficial for those infected by the HIV virus.


Influenza (flu)

There are three classifications of the influenza virus: A, B and C. The most common cause of the flu is Influenza A. It often occurs in epidemics during the late fall or early winter. The highest incidence of the flu is in school children. The incubation period is 48 hours. Acute symptoms usually subside in two to three days. Chills, fever, headache and muscular aches and pains are the most common initial symptoms followed by a severe cough. Persons at risk for serious complications include those with chronic pulmonary disease, heart valve disease or heart disease.

Phyllanthus amarus herb is very effective in naturally treating the influenza virus.

A tea made with daikon, shittake mushrooms and kombu seaweed can be used to lower fever and fight infection.

The anthraquinones in Chinese rhubarb root can create virucidal activity against the influenza virus.


Measles

A highly infectious virus disease of the respiratory system very common in childhood. It is so common at this stage of life that nearly all children everywhere in the world go through this brief period of red spots. The disease appears in epidemic form, often in the winter season. It can be very unpleasant and possibly lead to serious complications, including blindness and even death.

See the Measles page for more information and natural remedies.


Norovirus (winter vomiting disease)

Norovirus is a common food-borne disease and a particular problem in nursing homes, hospitals, cruise ships and schools. Although unpleasant, the infection usually passes in a few days. But it can pose a dangerous threat to some people with underlying medical problems.

Noroviruses are the commonest cause of acute gastroenteritis in humans and are estimated to account for 60% to 85% of all gastroenteritis outbreaks in developing countries. The virus is most commonly spread through an infected person's faeces or vomit and often by unwashed hands. They are also often transmitted by consumption of contaminated food, particularly oysters, which appear able to concentrate the virus, or exposure to contaminated water.

Oregano contains an element known as carvacrol which acts directly on the capsid, the tough shell of proteins surrounding the norovirus that encloses its genetic material. Consuming a tea, made by steeping oregano leaves in hot water for 15 minutes then straining and sipping slowly, can help fight off this infection which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Making a household cleanser and surface sanitizer using oregano oil or a tea from oregano leaves steeped in hot water for 20 minutes is especially useful where people may be vulnerable to the effects of strong bleach or alcohol-based cleaners, such as care homes, hospitals and schools. See the Hygiene and Health page.


Shingles

Shingles is caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus and only affects some people that have had chickenpox as a child. It occupies an area within the nerves of the body and only appears when the immune system is not at its best and will show as very sensitive and itchy, and sometimes painful, red rashes which consist of small blisters. These blisters will always exist on one side of the body only as the shingles virus hides in the nerves. The blisters will eventually burst releasing small amounts of fluid which is contagious to someone who has not previously had chickenpox. When contracted this way the person will get chickenpox and not shingles in the first instance. The infection usually heals in a week or so and eventually the scars disappear. Some people suffer from recurrent shingles attacks especially people taking steroids or with a poor diet and compromised immune system. Some can be affected by nerve pain after the shingles attack and may need strong pain relief.

The best way to avoid recurrent attacks is to stick to the Nature Cures Diet. Avoid scratching and keep very clean during attacks to avoid gaining an additional bacterial infection.

Aloe vera gel from the plant applied direct to the affected area can help to heal shingles rashes fast. Break open a leaf and use the gel undiluted to gently apply to the area.

Capsaicin, derived from chilli peppers, can be successfully used to relieve the pain of peripheral neuropathy such as post-herpetic neuralgia caused by shingles.

Coconut oil (pure cold pressed) can also provide fast relief from the itching and pain caused by shingles. Apply directly to the affected area.

Tea tree oil and bicarbonate of soda baths can help clear shingles infection up fast as well as a natural nutritious diet.

Other remedies which can be used topically tor shingles rash are apple cider vinegar (diluted),  goldenseal, liquorice root, raw honey, leek juice, mugwort, peppermint tea and tamanu oil.

Place three to four fig leaves in 1 pint of water. Boil for a few minutes, let cool and remove the leaves. Take a wash cloth and dip in the water and apply to the affected area.

Sugar can aggravate and cause recurrent shingles attacks so avoid processed foods that almost always contain large amounts of sugar.

People who have had shingles are more likely to suffer a stroke, compared to those who never had the disease. Doctors should pay more attention to shingles patients with risk factors for stroke, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes and smoking.


NATURE CURES VIRUS INFECTIONS

The only possible way to fight off viruses, yeast or bacteria infections is to strengthen the immune system by undergoing a complete lifestyle change and take the following 4 steps seriously:

1. Rest and restorative sleep and the elimination of stress, sugar, salt, alcohol, prescribed medications, drugs, tobacco smoking, toxic chemicals and fatty, processed or reconstituted meats will have an instant effect.

2. Natural unprocessed additive free highly nutritious food is of ultimate importance. Increasing oily fish, whole grains, legumes, fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, healthy plant based oils (like rapeseed and olive oil) and organ meats.

3. A Micro Diet of Sprouts (seeds, nuts and legumes) can give a huge nutritional boost to the system as can a Juicing Regime.

4. Food combinations. Carotenoid containing foods must be consumed with healthy fatty foods like plant and nut oils, avocado and nuts. Also the body digests proteins and starches differently, so it is quite crucial not to eat them together at the same meal. While this is contradictory for 99% of today's recipes, experimentation with correct food combinations can aid digestion of food and eliminate excess flatulence and bloating by correcting the balance of intestinal flora which leads to the ability to fight off any infections and ultimately will also lead to natural effortless weight loss by metabolising fats in the body.

Anything less than all of this will compromise the system and allow viruses to multiply rapidly until they seriously damage the cells of vital organs in the body. The body is such a complex system and the organs are all inextricably linked by nerves, connective tissues and the veins. Blood carries everything the body needs to each organ and often, it can be the carrier of adverse microorganisms such as viruses, pathogenic bacteria and yeasts. So keeping the intestines and blood healthy and fighting fit is the only way to recover fast from any viral infection. Trying to attack the virus with powerful chemicals also attacks the body's healthy cells and again upsets the natural balance of bacterial flora in the intestines that can do this naturally if allowed to.

Avoid all yeast and yeast extract products such as brewer's or torula yeast or yeast spreads if suffering with a virus infection as some may aggravate the condition.

Antibiotics are ineffective for viral infections since they work by destroying the specialized structures of all the bacteria in the body including those essential for processes that give humans good health. There are many plants with powerful and natural antiviral capabilities in their flowers, leaves, stems, bark, seeds and roots. Click the blue links to visit each one to find out more.

Natural medicinal herbs and spices that exhibit powerful antiviral properties are:

Aloe vera, andrographis, anise seeds, apple cider vinegar, ash gourd, astragalus, basil, bayberry, bdellium gum, bergamot tea, bicarbonate of soda, black seed, blessed thistle, blueberry leaf extract, blue vervain, burdock root, caraway seeds, cat's claw, cayenne pepper, chamomile, Chinese rhubarb root, cinnamon, cloves, coconut oil, comfrey, common stinging nettle, damiana, dandelionechinacea, elderberry, elecampane, ephedra sinica, fennel seeds, garcinia cambogia, ginkgo biloba, ho shou wu, liquorice root, lomatium dissectum, mint mullien, nasturtium juice, neem leaves, noni, pau d'arco, olive leaf, pan pien lien, peppermint, periwinkle, safflower, sarsaparilla, slippery elm, scutellaria, St John’s wort, suma, turmeric, yerba santa

Mushrooms that exhibit powerful antiviral properties are: basidiomycete mushroom, maitake mushroom, reishi mushroom and shiitake mushroom

A blend of astragalus, echinacea, licorice root, lomatium dissectum, reishi mushroom and scutellaria can be especially potent against deadly viruses.

NOTE: Avoid scutellariae if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Aubergine seeds are an immune system stimulant. Intake of half a gram to one gram of these seeds daily for three days will help develop immunity against many viruses especially measles for one year.

Hemp seeds are highly nutritious and contain many important minerals and fatty acids that can help to boost the immune system.

Liquorice root (not the confectionary that shares the same name) has been a key ingredient in most Chinese herbal formulas for more than 3,000 years. Research indicates that liquorice's two primary ingredients-glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid boost production of interferon. Active ingredients hypericin and pseudohypericin, are phytochemicals that display strong antiviral properties enough to overpower herpes simplex viruses type 1 and 2, certain flu viruses (influenza A and B) and EBV.

Lomatium dissectum is best to use with a liver/urinary stimulant such as dandelion to help avoid a lomatium rash side effect.

The medicinal mushrooms, crushed seeds and chopped herbs should be steeped in hot water for 30 minutes, strained off then the liquid drunk as a tea, soup or broth 3 times a day until the infection is gone.

The herb roots should be chopped up and simmered for 30 minutes before consuming along with the juice once a day until the infection is gone.

Add any of these medicinal herbs, spices and mushrooms to meals and with fruit juices and honey which may help some of them be more palatable.

NOTE: Reishi mushrooms can be placed in hot water and taken as tea, hot chocolate, mocha or latte as an alternative to coffee. Avoid reishi mushrooms if taking medication for anti-hypertensive, blood sugar lowering medications and anti-coagulants or are pregnant. Side effects may cause mouth dryness, bleeding from the nose and bloody stools.

Check the pH of your saliva with pHydrion paper. If your saliva pH is below 7.2 then you may have an imbalance of the bacteria flora in the intestines. To increase your oral pH to a normal 7.2 or greater, drink 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 2 ounces of cooled boiled water. It is that simple to neutralize the acids that cause bacteria imbalance, yeast infections, tooth cavities and decay, mouth sores, proliferation of worms and parasites, halitosis, anaemia, virus infections and even oral cancer. Cleaning the teeth with bicarbonate of soda after eating can help to correct the PH balance and avoiding commercial powerful toothpastes and mouthwashes can also help readdress the balance. It has been proved that the strong antibacterial mouthwashes encourages the proliferation of worms and parasites by killing the good bacteria in the intestinal tract.

NUTRIENTS THAT CAN WARD OFF AND FIGHT VIRUSES

Foods rich in coenzyme Q10, probiotics, selenium,  vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E and zinc can all help to fight off viruses.

Colloidal silver has powerful antiviral properties.


EXTERNAL REMEDIES

For external virus infections such as shingles, herpes and cold sores try: aloe vera juice ointment or bath, apple cider vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, coconut oil bath goldenseal, liquorice root, tea tree oil bath, raw honey, leek juice, mugwort, peppermint tea, tamanu oil

For viral infections of the lungs like flu or colds, use crushed garlic, cayenne pepper, crushed coriander seeds or comfrey (as a hot or cold fomentation compress) mint (vapours), eucalyptus (vapours) or a pine needle tea bath to relieve congestion.

Midday outdoor sun exposure on the bare skin daily for 15 minutes without sunscreen and not through a window is recommended so the body can naturally make adequate Vitamin D for all its needs.


Fever

Fever is an elevation in body temperature. It's the body's protective mechanism against infection. The elevation in temperature happens when the immune system is fighting off bacteria and viruses that could harm the body.

Normal body temperature ranges from 97 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit, but varies throughout the day. Usually is lower in the early morning and higher in late afternoon. A fever is consider to be any temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. One should get concern when temperature raises above 102 degrees Fahrenheit for an adult and 103 degrees Fahrenheit for children.

Often, having high temperature is helpful for the body; it's the way the body acts to destroy harmful microbes. In an adult, temperatures under 103 degrees Fahrenheit encourage the body to create more immune cells. A fever of 104 or higher can be a risk for people with cardiac problems, since it accelerates the heart beat and makes it work harder, and can cause irregular rhythms, chest pain or even heart attack. When a person has had a fever over 106 degrees for a long period of time, can cause dehydration and brain damage.

The old saying "feed a cold and starve a fever" is good advice. When a fever is present only liquids should be drunk.

Nature Cures Remedies To Reduce Fever

Drink plenty of bottle or filtered water

JUICES
Aloe vera,
radish juiced, coconut milk, pineapple juice (prevents dehydration) warm water with honey, lemon and ginger.

TEAS
Basil, coriander,
mint, mustard seeds, raisins, saffron, thyme, yarrow (steep 1 or more of these ingredients in hot water then sip slowly)

EXTERNALLY
A slice of raw onion or crushed garlic and olive oil on the soles of the feet can bring down the fever.

Avoid
when suffering a fever supplements containing iron or zinc
, iron causes great tension in a body that is fighting infection and zinc is not absorbed by the body during fever
ginger if taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen or in the first trimester of pregnancy


Daily Morning Liver Cleanser (to help the body fight against viruses)

Lemon or lime juice, turmeric, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, pure honey, rosemary
(all these five ingredients together taken in a glass of warm water first thing in the morning is a liver cleanser & detoxifier)


THE NATURE CURES DIET

A wholesome healthy diet of the natural foods below will boost the immune system and restore the blood levels of all nutrients well as fight off virus, fungal and bacteria infections naturally. If this diet is kept to it can fix many blood disorders. A noticeable difference should be felt within just one week.

The Nutrients, Minerals, Protein and Fibre pages can help you understand body processes and the natural foods it needs to function correctly. The nutritional value of foods is important. Wasting valuable time eating the wrong foods is damaging the body further and allowing viruses, pathogenic bacteria and parasites and worms to flourish each time they are consumed. They all reproduce so fast that just one high sugar and low nutrient meal can help them spread to other parts of the body and cause immeasurable damage. Having the correct nutrients available in the blood will defend the body against this.

Visit the Cleanse and Detoxify page to try that regime first which can clear the body of toxins and infection.

Drink one litre of bottled mineral water per day to avoid chemicals additives such as fluoride and chlorine and provide more of the essential minerals the body needs. One glass should be consumed just before sleeping to help the body eliminate waste and toxins from the body and the brain.

Meat and eggs (Three times a week)
Beef (organic lean grass-fed), calf's liver,
eggs lambs liver, lamb, poultry and game bird, organ meats, rabbit and venison.

Fish (Three times a week)
Bloater fish, carp, cod, eel, halibut, herring, hilsa fish, kipper, mackerel, octopus, pilchards, salmon, sardines, shellfish, sprats, squid, swordfish, trout, tuna (fresh only) and whitebait and all other oily fish. Anchovies are high in sodium so not advised for those with high blood pressure. Deep sea fish and bottom dwelling shellfish can be contaminated with mercury so it is advisable to consume these with some algae, coriander and other green leafy vegetables or sulphur-rich foods which can chelate (bind to) mercury and eliminate it from the body.

Dairy (Yoghurt and kefir milk daily and cheese three times a week)
Kefir milk, non-pasteurised blue cheese and yoghurt (plain with live cultures)

Whole grains and psuedo-grains   (at least one every day)
Amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa and teff. Consume one tablespoon of psyllium husks per day in a large glass of water or sprinkled onto meals as it has powerful properties that can support  digestion and excretory processes and will work within two days to fix many colon and digestive issues.

Vegetables (a selection of at least four different colours per day)
Algae, alfalfa, artichoke, ashitaba, asparagus, aubergine,
avocado, beetroot, bell peppers (all colours), broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrot, celery, chicory, collard greens, courgettes, cress, cucumber, daikon, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, kale, kelp, leeks, lettuce, marrow, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsnips, peas, radishes, rocket, seaweed, spinach, spring onions, Swede, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips and watercress. Algae, such as chlorella and spirulina, contain many important nutrients and minerals often lacking in land-based crops. Take one tablespoon of one of them per day. Also consume three or four chopped garlic cloves per day. Let them and other allicin-producing plants, such as chives, leeks, onions and spring onions, stand for ten minutes to allow for the process, that produces allicin in these plants when they are damaged, to take place. Allicin has many powerful properties that benefit the health.

Legumes (Three times a week)
Black beans, black-eyed peas, broad beans, chickpeas, legumes, lentils, lima bean, mung beans, navy beans, peas, pinto bean, red kidney beans, soya beans and winged beans.

Fruit (a selection of two or three colours per day)
Apples, apricots, avocado, bananas, berries, cherries, kiwi fruit, lemons, limes, grapefruit, grapes (black or red), mango, maqui berries, mosambi juice, orange, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, pomegranate, tangerines and watermelon.

NOTE: grapefruit can interact with many medications.

Dried foods
Apricots, barley grass, chlorella,
dates, figs, goji berries, maqui berries, raisins, spirulina and sultanas.

Juice (pure, additive free, unsweetened - three glasses daily as often)
Beetroot (raw), carrot, cranberry, elderberry, grape, lemon, lime, mosambi, nasturtium (freshly pressed), orange, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate and tangerine. See also Raw Juice Therapy for many raw juicing recipes.

Seeds (as snacks or added to meals daily)
Flaxseeds, hemp, nasturtium, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and watermelon. Hempseeds provide the correct balance of omega-6 (inflammatory) to omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) fatty acids and should be consumed daily. A handful of pumpkin seeds can be sprinkled on any dish or in sandwiches daily and add many important nutrients.

Nuts (as snacks or added to meals daily. Best consumed with dried fruits to obtain the correct balance of vitamin C and E)
Brazil nuts (2 per week unless excessive sweating, through exercise or fever, has taken place, then eat 2 per day), cashews, chestnuts, coconut, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts (5 per day).

Sprouts (see the Micro Diet Sprouting page to find out how to grow your own then add to meals and snacks daily)
Alfalfa, almond, amaranth, barley, broccoli, buckwheat, cabbage, chickpea, corn, hazelnut, fenugreek, flaxseeds, kamut, leek, lemon grass, lentil, lettuce, milk thistle, mizuna, mung beans, mustard, oat, onion, pea, peanut, radish, rice, rocket, rye, quinoa, sesame, spinach, spring onions, sunflower, turnip and watercress.

Common Herbs (to be used as often as possible daily in meals or as teas)
Basil, cardamom, coriander, cloves, dill, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, safflower, saffron, sage, tarragon and thyme.

Medicinal Herbs (consume as teas three cups per day)
Ash gourd, borage, burdock root, black seed, common stinging nettles, dandelion, devil's claw, drumstick, elecampane, golden seal, ginkgo biloba, horsetail, hydrangea, Japanese or Chinese knotweed, jasmine, huang lian, lavender, liquorice root, milk thistle, noni, oatstraw, pan pien pien, passion flower, pine needles, Queen of the meadow,
red clover, scutellaria, slippery elm, yellow dock root and wild strawberry leaf.

Spices (to be used as often as possible daily. Can be added to teas also)
Cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves (three ground), cumin, coriander,
fennel, ginger, Himalayan pink salt crystals, nutmeg, paprika, peppercorns (all colours), sea salt (pure unrefined) and turmeric. A teaspoon of turmeric should be consumed daily due to its powerful compounds that can prevent many ailments. Sprinkle on to egg, fish and vegetable dishes or on brown rice and other grains.

Oils (cold-pressed only and used to cook with or dress vegetables and salads, especially with foods that contain fat-soluble nutrients, such as carotene, to enable absorption)
Coconut oil, flaxseed, grape seed, coconut oil, olive, rapeseed and a blend of sesame and rice bran oils. Also take one capsule of cod liver or krill oil daily, especially during the winter months between October and April in the Northern hemisphere.

Derivatives (to be consumed and used as desired)
Aloe vera juice, anise seed tea, apple cider vinegar, barley grass (powder or juice), bergamot tea,
black strap molasses, brewer's yeast, brine pickles, caraway seed tea, chamomile tea, green tea, honey, kimchi, kombucha, miso, peppermint tea, pine needle tea, sauerkraut, tea and tofu. Barley grass is one of the rare plants to contain vitamin B12 so is a useful addition to the diet of those that limit meat intake.

At least one (and ideally many more) natural foods and derivatives should be consumed each day from each of the categories above. Pick one of the six colours of fruit and vegetables to consume daily. Yellow/orange, white, red, green, black/blue/purple and cream/brown. Nature has kindly colour coded natural food for us and each colour provides specific nutrients and minerals in the right balances which are required daily. At least one iron rich green leafy vegetable or herb should be consumed daily.

If appetite does not allow enough consumption, juice them or make teas by steeping them in hot water for 20 minutes, then strain and drink immediately to gain the nutrients without the bulk. Teas can be gently reheated and honey and lemon added to make them more palatable and to add additional beneficial nutrients. See the Nature's Colour Codes page.

NOTE Non-heme iron is found in tea and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. However, tea and green leafy vegetables also contain oxalates that block the absorption of iron. To assist the body in the absorption of non-heme iron eat a couple of strawberries, a kiwi fruit or some orange, tangerine or mango at the same time.

NOTE: To benefit from foods containing fat-soluble nutrients, such as the carotenoids in carrots and tomatoes, always eat together with oily foods like rapeseed oil, olive oil, fish, nut or other seed oils or avocado because carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning they are only absorbed into the body along with fats and can then assist with the manufacture of the essential vitamin A nutrient.


WHAT TO AVOID WHEN

NOTE: Motherwort may be habit forming.

NOTE: Many herbs are powerful and can react with medications especially astragalus, cats claw, dandelion, and echinacea. Always check before taking at the same time as any drugs.

NOTE: Avoid yohimbine and ginseng under any of the following circumstances:

Only eat the following fruit and vegetables if they are organic because of the risk of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides:

  • Apples

  • Asparagus

  • Aubergine

  • Avocado

  • Bananas

  • Bell peppers

  • Blue berries

  • Canataloupe

  • Carrots

  • Cauliflower

  • Celery

  • Cherries

  • Chilli peppers

  • Cocoa beans

  • Coffee beans

  • Collard greens

  • Courgettes

  • Cucumbers

  • Grapefruit

  • Grapes

  • Kale

  • Kiwi fruit

  • Lettuce

  • Mange toute peas

  • Mangos

  • Mushrooms

  • Nectarines

  • Onions

  • Oranges

  • Papaya

  • Peaches

  • Pears

  • Pineapples

  • Plums

  • Potatoes

  • Raspberries

  • Runner beans

  • Spinach

  • Spring onions

  • Squash

  • Strawberries

  • Sweet corn

  • Peas frozen

  • Tomatoes

  • Watermelon

See also

 


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Nat H Hawes SNHS Dip (Advanced and Sports nutrition) is a qualified nutritional and sports therapist and author of the new book, Nature Cures, who has been researching natural foods and their health benefits since 2003. Click here to see what others think of the new book.

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