Diet can help strengthen the immune system against external threats, including the new coronavirus. Thanks to previous research, we know that some substances, taken through the diet, such as selenium, quercetin, vitamin C and D, can boost the defenses. In addition to diet, herbal medicine can also become an ally in helping us defend ourselves from external threats, as evidenced by the article published a few weeks ago in the Pharmaceuticals magazine by a Russian team (Babich et al, Pharmaceuticals, 2020).
Researchers have tried to understand if some plants, known for their antioxidant, antiviral and immunomodulatory properties, can help strengthen the defenses against the new coronavirus. In particular, the plants analyzed are known to be beneficial against pneumonia of various causes. Wormwood, or Artemisia Annua, used in the form of tea to treat malaria, has been shown to significantly inhibit the SARS-CoV virus, known as SARS, which is very similar to the new coronavirus. It seems, as reported in the research, that this inhibitory and antiviral effect can also be observed against COVID-19. Artemisia also exhibits anticancer and anti-asthmatic properties. Elderberries, which can be consumed in the form of juice, have an antiviral action against flu and the pathogenic bacteria that can attack the respiratory tract. Not only that, elderberries have been shown to inhibit the replication of the human coronavirus NL63, which is not the new coronavirus but belongs to the same family. Finally, elderberry is considered one of the most interesting natural remedies capable of preventing or combating coronavirus infection in the early stages. The Isatis indigotica plant contains antioxidant substances from the phenol and flavonoid family that make it a remedy with antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant action, useful in case of flu, viral pneumonia and hepatitis. Not only that, Isatis indigota is also capable of fighting the SARS-CoV virus, which, as mentioned, is very similar to the current new coronavirus. Even the aqueous extract of the dandelion shows antiviral properties, capable of preventing infection and counteracting the proliferation of the influenza A and H1N1 virus. The action of Andrographis paniculata in case of respiratory tract infections is also interesting. In fact, the components of this plant inhibit the release of proteins such as NLRP3 and interleukin 1-beta, which, when in excess, cause one of the most serious complications of the new coronavirus, namely the cytokine storm, which is an excessive and uncontrolled inflammatory reaction that can lead to thrombus formation.
So even herbal medicine can take the field to strengthen and support the immune system. However, it is important to underline that the first prevention is done by respecting the distancing and the hygiene rules.