It ages since there’s been a post on plant-based antivirals. If you’re like me, you’re interested in anything that might help, but you’re sick of people promoting “natural” or “herbal” treatments with amazing benefits and “no side effects” that don't work. So I did a little research of the scientific literature. Here are my picks for the most promising plant antivirals that are effective against the herpes family of viruses: herpes simplex virus 1 and 2, herpes zoster, EBV, CMV, HHV6 and HHV7. Luckily, most antiviral substances that have been shown to work on one of these are likely work on all of them (although each substance tends to have its “favourite” viruses that it works best with). I didn't look at enteroviruses, as they’re not part of the herpes family – those’ll have to wait for another time. (disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or virus expert so these summaries are just my take on things). The pluses: Some plant-derived substances are incredibly effective at inhibiting this family of viruses. And even better, some operate at different stages of the viral replication process than conventional antiviral drugs, so they could potentially enhance the effect of these drugs. Oh, and they're cheap (cost was a factor in the review). The minuses: The tricky part is in deciding how much to take so you get a measurable antiviral effect, without doing any harm. All antivirals inhibit viruses in what they call a “dose-dependent manner”. Too low a dose, you get no effect. This is important: many of us have tried some of these in the past, but got no effect, and that might be why. So you have to weigh up the potential benefits and risks in deciding how much to take. If you have a good doctor, I’d definitely get them on board. Having said all that, though, the risks of all my picks are low, and all go away after you stop taking the stuff. Another way you can manage the benefit-risk equation (with your doctor of course ) is to take largish doses in brief bursts, like a few weeks at a time. If you detect any relapsing/remitting patterns in your MECFS, then the time to aim for might be just as you feel a crash coming on. At a guess, it might be best to go for those times when the viruses seem “active” – you feel super tired, achy or fluey. As always, start low and see how you go, then work up if and as you can. Oh, and don’t take any of these substances if you are or may possibly become pregnant. The top picks: Artesunate (yes, the Cheney one) Lab studies: Powerful inhibitor of herpes family viruses especially CMV and HSV1 but also EBV and HHV6 (IC50s in the ranges of 4-7 micromoles – very potent, even in small doses!). It seems to block immediate early (IE) protein synthesis, a slightly earlier process that conventional antiviral drugs, so maybe good to use in combination with those drugs: http://naturheilpraxis-hollmann.de/HHV-6_Artesunate.pdf; http://www.sciencedirect.com.helicon.vuw.ac.nz/science/article/pii/S0166093411000954; http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/47/6/804.full: Clinical Studies: There’s at least one clinical study of artesunate on CMV: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253856/ and one on HHV6 in a child: http://www.sciencedirect.com.helicon.vuw.ac.nz/science/article/pii/S1386653213000462 Dose: The adult clinical study mentioned above used 2 doses of 200mg each (total 400mg) on the first day then 100 mg per day for the next 28 days, with no reported adverse effects. Dr. Cheney recommends a lower dose I think (100mg the first day then 50mg every two days?), I couldn't find any clinical studies demonstrating an effect at this dose. Perhaps Dr. Cheney is considering the implications of very long-term use - then the considerations are different and a lower dose might be better? I’ve also seen on this forum some people being warned by Cheney against taking too much, but this review suggests there is little evidence for adverse effects in humans, even in daily doses of 100-200mg used long term: http://www.researchgate.net/publica...sinin_derivatives/file/79e4150c3556c91084.pdf Sources: www.hepalin.com. About $1 per 50mg pill. I think Cheney has also recommended a site in Hong Kong (think I saw a post about on this forum) My conclusion: This really seems to work! Definitely worth a try. But the question is whether it can be effective at the small doses normally prescribed in PWMEs. Glycyrrhizic acid (from licorice) Lab studies: Very effective antiviral against the herpes family (IC50 value for EBV viral inhibition estimated at 40 micromoles), and high selectivity. GA interferes with an early step of EBV replication cycle, possibly penetration. This means it may complement other types of antiviral drugs that target other stages of the viral replication cycle. See http://www.sciencedirect.com.helicon.vuw.ac.nz/science/article/pii/S0166354203000305. One study suggests it may even act on latent viruses from the herpes family: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/23334. Its antiviral effects may be enhanced by combination with lactoferrin: http://www.intmedpress.com/serveFile.cfm?sUID=76093b11-4e14-4226-a917-1aeee0c4f341 Clinical studies: No clinical studies with herpes family viruses, but one study showed effective inhibition of Hep C: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.helicon.vuw.ac.nz/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2036.1998.00309.x/full. Dose: One study observed no adverse effects in healthy people taking 140mg or less GA daily (based on an average sized man): http://het.sagepub.com/content/19/8/434.short. This dose may be lower than the ideal for therapeutic use, because its based on healthy people, so there are only risks and no benefits to consider (one of the clinical studies above used much higher doses without adverse effects). But many sources do say get your blood pressure checked regularly while using it, and if possible potassium levels, because it may deplete potassium. Could be a plan to ease off on the salt and take a little extra potassium too while you’re on it, if your BP isn’t too low (when you stop, potassium returns to baseline pretty quickly so its only temporary). Don't use at all if you’ve got high blood pressure. There may be some hormonal effects from continuous use in men (suppression of testosterone), but I’m sure you’ll know pretty quick if this is you, so you can stop or reduce the dose yourself. All these effects are reversible when you stop taking GL. Sources: iherb sells Nutricology Licorice Solid Extract. 1/2 teaspoon contains approx. 150 mg Glycyrrhizic acid. Its cheap. Lactoferrin also available here, not expensive, for those wanting to try the combination. My conclusion: The very different action of GA makes it a good one to try in combination with conventional antivirals (Valtrex/valcyte). Its largely safe, but not for those with high blood pressure. Resveratrol Resveratrol is anti-inflammatory (a selective Cox-2 inhibitor), but here, the focus is on its antiviral effects. Lab studies: Very effective antiviral against the herpes family (IC50 value for inhibition of early stages of EBV replication cycle is 24 micromoles, for CMV its 1-2 micromoles), and very safe: http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/15/10/7115/pdf One lab study on CMV suggests it interferes with attachment and entry of the virus to the cell: http://www-06.all-portland.net/bst/038/0050/0380050.pdf Clinical studies: not many, probably because it has low bioavailability, so you may need huge doses to get any clinical significant effects of the type shown in lab studies: http://chemww2b.rutgers.edu/~kyc/pdf/10.pdf Dose: Past human studies testing for at least a one-month period suggest doses as high a 200 mg, five times/day are safe. The limit is really cost: its quite expensive at high doses (around US$2 per gram). Bioavailability was higher after morning administration. See http://www-06.all-portland.net/bst/038/0050/0380050.pdf and http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/15/10/7115/pdf. Finally, one lab study suggested resveratrol should be avoided if you have Hep C. Source: purebulk.com for pure powder at good price Conclusion: Could be worth a try, very safe, but may be difficult to get a high enough dose to be effective, without spending a fortune. Curcumin Curcumin has a number of effects that might be good in PWMEs aside from its antiviral properties. Its Anti inflammatory (a selective Cox-2 inhibitor, like Celebrex). But here I’m looking at its antiviral effects. Lab studies: Antiviral effect: One lab study looking at Herpes simplex found it to be effective at low concentrations (IC50 is 0.01 micromoles):https://lirias.kuleuven.be/bitstream/123456789/263783/2/2010039.pdf Dose: Very safe. Can go up to 1000mgs a day, as low in side effects (http://www.researchgate.net/publica...malignant_lesions/file/9c960529f48efaeebc.pdf). Taking it with pepper and fat enhances absorption. What about astralgus root, oxymatrine, reishi mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, olive leaf extract? There’s much less literature on these in relation to herpes family viruses, abut that doesn't mean they don't work. If I find out more about nay of these (or any other for that matter) I’ll post back.