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Plant Antivirals

Discussion in 'Antivirals, Antibiotics and Immune Modulators' started by Woolie, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. Woolie

    Woolie

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    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.
  2. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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    Would Turmeric be just as effective as Curcumin?

    GG
  3. Woolie

    Woolie

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    Ggingues, you can use tumeric only if you're very brave! It contains around 2% curcumin So to get around 150mg, you have to consume a little more than a whole tablespoon. This is pretty disgusting (I know, I tried it!). Cheap sources are iherb and also purebulk.com for the curcumin powder.
  4. Slicky

    Slicky

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    I am finishing the book "Herbal Antivirals" by Stephen Buhner. I found it to be both comprehensive and very informative. I am using it to make a protocol for my kiddo (12) who is sky high for EBV, Coxsackie (almost all), HHV-6, and Varicella. We just started the protocol on 5-5, but I think I am seeing improvements in her energy and herxing with dose increases. We just reached kiddos max doses on all the herbs.

    I highly recommend the book. Next I am reading "Herbal Antibiotics" By Buhner to see if I can work a plan out for that as well (kiddo has PANDAS).
    Little Bluestem, justy and Woolie like this.
  5. Woolie

    Woolie

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    Thanks for the info, Slicky. I don't suppose you can summarise your protocol in 10 words or less? Would be keen to hear.
  6. end

    end Senior Member

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    @Woolie

    From your research could you elaborate on whether or not DGL Licorice is as effective as whole licorice?

    As the DGL form does not complicate hypertension

    Thanks
    Sammy likes this.
  7. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    theres been threads in the past on artesunate on here. I cant recall any cures, i think some had some symptom improvement. It would be worth looking back over them and see if any should changes in viral titres using artesunate??

    I have used artesunate for a few weeks, cant say i notice much but probably didnt take it long enough. Probably needs to be taken for a few months like other antivirals to notice any effects??
    Woolie likes this.
  8. Woolie

    Woolie

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    Hi end, the DGL doesn't work, unfortunately, because the key substance is the glycirrhizic acid, which they take out in the DGL form.
    end likes this.
  9. Woolie

    Woolie

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    Thanks, heapsreal, I did look and yea, there's lots on the forums, including links to some of the articles I quoted. Just thought it might be useful for everyone to have an updated review, straight from the horse's mouth as it were (the studies themselves). That's something I can contribute because I've got some background there.

    I couldn't find anyone saying their viral titres had gone down with artesunate, would love to hear from anyone whose have???? Dose is everything, though, and probably duration as well.
    heapsreal likes this.
  10. end

    end Senior Member

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    @Tony has indicated to me that KDM/Dr L at CFS Discovery use artesunate for Enterovirus infections
    Sammy likes this.
  11. Slicky

    Slicky

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    10 words or less? Not even 10 herbs or less :D. But, I have it in the computer:

    Chinese Skullcap 750mg (h/m) 1 cap tid

    Chinese Skullcap 500mg/Licorice 250mg (h/m) 1 cap 5 x day

    Ginger 750mg (h/m) 1 cap tid

    Cordyceps 750mg (h/m) 1 cap 5 x day

    Motherwort Tincture 1 dropperful tid

    Lomatium Tincture 1 dropperful tid

    Red Root tincture 1 dropperful tid

    Rhodiola 327mg ½ tablet bid (am/3pm)

    Lemon Balm 500mg (or 750mg h/m) 1 cap tid

    Rheisi Caps 188mg 2 caps bid

    L-Lysine 1000mg ½ tab tid

    (H/M L-lysine 500mg/Rheisi 250mg cap) 1 cap tid (start when store bought gone)

    Astragalus 470mg 1 cap tid

    Isatis tincture 2 dropperfuls tid (on 30 days off 30 days)


    Bid=two times a day. Tid=three times a day.

    The h/m stands for home made. I bought bulk powders and a "00" capsule machine to fill them myself. It is cheaper this way, and I can combine two powders into one cap so it reduces the amount of pills taken. Also, she is not getting fillers this way.

    Buhner prefers tinctures over powders, but kiddo will not drink the "juice" water fast enough to dose properly through the day. The tinctures I do give her, I put in empty capsules and she swallows them that way. I went with powders, on everything I could--some of it really has to be tinctures, to ensure she is getting dosed enough.

    The bulk powders save a lot of money in the long run. Buying one pound bags of everything gives me 4-6 months of each ingredient. I did initially buy one month worth of commercial prep items to make sure she did not have a negative reaction to any of it, and now I have those bottles to put my capsules in so there is no confusion.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
    Iquitos, Woolie and Soporificat like this.
  12. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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  13. Woolie

    Woolie

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    Thanks for taking the time to give the whole list. There are some herbs here that are familiar to a lot of us, and others that aren't. It sounds expensive, though, which might put it out of reach of a lot of us, since anything for us usually has to be taken super long term before we get any actual reduction in viral load. Still, a great resource for possibles for us all, and for me to review next round. Thanks!.
  14. Slicky

    Slicky

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    It was not cheap, but doing it the way I bought it I am able to buy a 4-6 month supply for what a commercially made 2 month supply would have cost. I am committed to a 4-6 month trial, and if I see enough progress in those 4-6 months, I expect to be at full doses for about a year or longer. Then I will have her titers tested again and if they are down enough we will go to immune modulation maintenance mode. We are not relying on titers alone, but are also going on how she feels/behaves.

    She is our only child, and while we are lower middle class, single income (I need to be home with her and home school her) parents, we feel we have to do everything we can to try to ensure the best future for her. She has been very ill for over 2.5 years. She is very medically complicated even before all this. We HAVE to try to ensure she can be as independent, healthy and happy as possible. It is simply our job. We are probably in a somewhat unique position on this board as parents of an affected child rather an adult patient.

    I am hopeful that this financial outlay will help resolve some of the issues and we can get her immune system functioning correctly. If we can do that, in the long run, the theory is it will cost us less money than just coasting along with frequent infections and long term illness. The quality of life improvement is worth almost anything.

    Valcyte is our other option and the side effect profile makes me very concerned giving that to a 12 year old. It is not cheap either, of course. I am opting for a long term trial on the herbs in the hopes they will be safer and effective.

    As her parents, we really want her to feel better. It is so hard to watch her in this condition. I just cannot give up and accept that this is as good as it will ever get for her.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
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  15. Woolie

    Woolie

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    Hi end, Apparently, artesunate is pretty broad spectrum, so although I focused on the herpes group in this review, its been shown to be effective for many other kinds of viruses (Its quite a medicine, actually). This is great for those of us not sure what viruses we might have. Just wish it was easier to work out what a safe, effective dose is (that's the trouble with non-pharma stuff. With the FDA approved stuff, it comes with studies that provide all that information, teh studies demonstrating effectiveness and the risks, and everything).
    end likes this.
  16. Woolie

    Woolie

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    Your poor girl! Of course you do whatever you can! And yes, I think many of us understand your fears about valcyte. Have you considered valtrex? A lot safer, at least, Worth discussing it with her doctor at least. I have some articles I can share if you're interested and want to provide some evidence of effectiveness to your doc.
  17. Slicky

    Slicky

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    I have considered valtrex, but have not read impressive results for HHV-6 or Coxsackie. I am really hoping the herbal protocol will help with all four of her major viral challenges right now. I have been very hopeful with other treatment protocols only to be disappointed, but we will keep trying until we find the right fit for our sweetie.

    Her doc and I were email discussing antiviral options (Buhners, Valtrex, and Valcyte), then I found out he went on vacation out of the country for 6 weeks with this unresolved. That pushed Buhner's protocol into the lead as the choice for the time being. I am hoping that by the time the doc gets back, kiddo will be improved enough to convince us both that it is the right choice for now. Honestly, I would love to be able to manage her all conditions herbally.
  18. Slicky

    Slicky

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    I bit the bullet and added up how much I have spent for a minimum of 4 months (most of the herbs will last 6 months, a few will last 4 months). The total was 298.80. This includes the capsule machine and a digital scale for measuring the herbs.
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  19. Woolie

    Woolie

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    Actually, I don't think that's too bad! I'm currently paying $6 per day for generic valtrex (out of pocket, no subsidy), which adds up to a whole lot more.

    I'm interested in looking further into some of the herbs you mention (my interest in them is as an adjunct to conventional antivirals, not instead of them, but still interested!). Not sure though when that will be! Anyway, thanks for posting.
  20. Slicky

    Slicky

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    90% or more of the herbs and "the capsule machine" (I got the "00" size which holds about 750 mg of powder) I got off Amazon (I have prime, but not sure that matters). I bought the digital scale from eBay from China for under $10. Buhner has a web site for healing Lyme (but it covers more than just lyme on it he lists some sources for some of herbs. Here the herb resources addy: http://buhnerhealinglyme.com/resources/herb-source-list/

    Sorry on my phone, so probably bad spacing and typos. Feel free to pm me or ask here if you have any questions you think I can help with.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014

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