The Monthlies

Natural Remedies and Herbs for Corona Virus

There is a LOT that can be done to prevent the transmission of this virus without the need for any herbs or drugs. I’d recommend you familiarise yourself with that first and formost if you aren’t already. I personally like Aviva Romm’s guide to COVID-19 for this.

Let’s begin by saying I will make it perfectly clear when something has been tested and confirmed as effective against COVID-19, when it is known to treat a specific virus that isn’t COVID-19, and when it is known as anti-viral with no specifics available. 

Preventative Herbs

These are herbs we’d recommend you take daily if you want to boost your immunity in a general sense.

Echinacea (Echinacea spp. root) boosts immunity via a non-specific effect e.g. increasing macrophages and/or granulocytes, (Bany, 2003) . I recommend taking this as a tincture as directed on the side of the bottle, or if none is provided, take 5ml each day. This is a preventative dose.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra fruct.) boosts the immunity by increasing cytokines and some worry it may cause cytokine storms. But this is a hypothetical warning, not one observed in practice or scientific evidence. The idea that it might do this is because we know it’s action is partly by increasing cytokines (which help kill an invading virus). However, too much cytokine, and you can end up with fluid on the lungs which can become infected with pneumonia. Because we aren’t sure if elderberry has a balancing effect on cytokine production I’d recommend that you only take it preventatively and stop taking it at the first symptom of illness. If you feel unsure about this then just don’t take it at all (Barak, 2001.), (Chen, 2014.), (The Scripps Research Institute, 2014). Aviva Romm takes a similar stance here but perhaps with more bravery than I. You can take elderberry as a tincture but a syrup is my personal preference.

Garlic is an anti-viral with known effectiveness against herpes simplex and influenze B/LEE virus (Tsai,, 1985). I’d recommend taking it any way you can, sliced raw on toast, tinctured or as a honey. Whatever you prefer.

Echinacea and elderberry are not recommended if you have to take immuno-suppresants. I was going to add links to neals yard remedies and Baldwins but they are sold out at present. Perhaps try your local herbalist (link below). 

Treatment Herbs 

These herbs support the most common side effects of the virus from the very first signs of symptoms.

Take anti-virals; thyme (Thymus vulgaris) essential oil has been shown effective against MRSA, you may way to add it to disinfecting hand sanitisers or your hand wash or surface cleaners (Chao, 2008). Dan Shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), a herb with antiviral properties against enterovirus 71 infections (Chung, 2015). You can take Dan Shen as a tincture or decoction but I recommend tincture as it’s much more practical when you’re feeling ill. 

Support your lungs with; elecampane (Inula helenium root) is a lung tonic which helps move old phlegm from the lungs. I don’t know of any anti-viral effects but don’t think it should be disregarded as its ability to help the lungs more generally is important. Liquorice (Glycyrrhia glabra root) is a soothing herb to the lungs and throat traditionally used as part of a cough syrup but it also has promise as an anti-viral against coronavirus but shouldn’t be taken by anyone with hypertension (Fiore, 2007)! I’d recommend taking 5ml of liquorice root tincture or elecampane tincture up to 4 times a day while feeling symptoms. 

Support the heart; hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata or monogyna leaf or berry), this is not an anti-viral but it helps support circulation and the heart. Hypertension has been one of the biggest risk factors for COVID-19 becoming serious. So it is essential that you keep your blood pressure under control during this time. Hawthorn berry or leaf is safe to take even if you’re already taking hypotensive medicine but we would recommend you double-check with our practitioners before deciding to take it.

Manage a fever with; lime blossom (Tilia cordata), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), catnip (Mentha nipita), elderflower (Sambucus nigra flos.), and chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) are all febrifuges which help to promote sweating and break a fever (Grieves, 1931). Peronally I prefer to take these as teas because if you’re going to promote a sweat you need to stay hydrated too. So I’d mix whichever ones you can get hold of in equal parts, add 3 heaped tablespoons to a litre of water, bring to the boil on the hob and let it infuse on a rolling boil for 5 mins before taking off the heat. Drink as much and as often as you can. You could happily have 2 litres of this during a day. I know of no drugs which you can’t take these with. If you’re pregnant I’d stick to lime blossom, and elderflower out of these. These should all be fine during breastfeeding and will pass through breastmilk to babies. You can also put drops onto their food or make baths with this decoction too. 

Hand Sanitiser

This is a recipe from the WHO, scaled down to a single portion. You can see the original info pack here.

Isopropyl Alcohol (99.8%) 75ml
Hydrogen peroxide (3%) 4ml
Glycerol (98%) 1ml

I’d recommend The Lancet for their up to date info on the pandemic.


Barak, Vivian et al. “The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines.” European cytokine network 12 2 (2001): 290-6

.Bany J, Siwicki AK, Zdanowska D, et al. Echinacea purpurea stimulates cellular immunity and anti-bacterial defence independently of the strain of mice. Polish Journal of Veterinary Sciences. 2003 ;6(3 Suppl):3-5.

Chao, S., Young, G., Oberg, C. and Nakaoka, K. (2008), Inhibition of methicillin‐resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by essential oils. Flavour Fragr. J., 23: 444-449. doi:10.1002/ffj.1904

Chen, C., Zuckerman, D.M., Brantley, S. et al. Sambucus nigra extracts inhibit infectious bronchitis virus at an early point during replication. BMC Vet Res 10, 24 (2014).

Chung, Y., Magnesium lithospermate B and rosmarinic acid, two compounds present in Salvia miltiorrhiza, have potent antiviral activity against enterovirus 71 infections, European Journal of Pharmacology, 2015, 755: 127-133,

Fiore, C., 2008. Antiviral effects of Glycyrrhiza species. Phytother. Res., 22: 141-148. doi:10.1002/ptr.2295

Grieve’s, 1931. Mrs. Grieve's A Modern Herbal. Database, 21(4), p.72.

The Scripps Research Institute. "Deadly immune 'storm' caused by emergent flu infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2014. <>.

Tsai, Y, et al. "Antiviral properties of garlic: in vitro effects on influenza B, herpes simplex and coxsackie viruses." Planta Medica 51.05 (1985): 460-461.