Antiviral and Antimicrobial Herbs for Colds, Flu, and Infections

How many times have you been sick with colds and flu lately? Losing work?  Sick of being sick? Learn about antiviral and antimicrobial herbs that help you stay healthy during this cold and flu season.

In our small town, many people are getting sick with seasonal colds, flu, and infections. Since covid started neither my husband nor I have been down with pneumonia, bronchitis, covid, flu, or any other seasonal illness. We have never had the flu or covid the past 20 years. Neither have we had any of the vaccines.  So how do we maintain our immune system to defeat all the bugs hitting our family, friends, and neighbors? We use herbs and vitamins to fortify our immune system daily.  Our health is not perfect for we have Chronic Lyme disease which is transmitted by ticks but because of the herbs we take, it doesn’t seem to make us susceptible to seasonal winter viruses and bacteria-oriented illnesses.

Antiviral and Antimicrobial herbs fight different bacteria and viruses.
Many herbs possess antiviral and antimicrobial properties.

The history of antiviral and antimicrobial herbs usage with past and present civilizations.

Herbs have been used for centuries when people get sick. The usage began in every civilization around the world starting from biblical days. There were no antibiotics for centuries and people did survive. Herbs are used today in many countries of the world because they can’t afford expensive treatments so they rely on what God provided which is herbs and leaves of the trees such as olive leaf. I want you to ask yourself a question. Why do these leaves and herbs contain medicinal value? In the bible, it states that God when making the earth and all its elements dictated that the green herbs would be for healing. There are thousands of herbs. plants, mushrooms, and tree leaves such as Olive leaf and Ginkgo leaves with very potent medicinal properties. Many of our drugs originally came from herbs or a natural source.


What does antiviral mean?

Antiviral means in one way or another the herbs disrupt the viral replication process. It boosts your body and its immune system to fight off the virus. The majority of the colds and flu are more likely viral in origin. There are millions of viruses, but your immune system destroys these bad viruses before they take hold if you have a healthy and strong immune system. 

What’s the difference between antibacterial and antimicrobial?

“The primary difference between antibacterial and antimicrobial substances is the types of microorganisms they act upon.

While antimicrobial substances can work against a broad spectrum of microbes (bacteria, mold, mildew, algae, and viruses), antibacterial substances are only effective against bacteria.”  Antimicrobial vs Antibacterial – What’s the Difference? | Microban

Many herbs contain various properties that work to defeat both bad viruses and different kinds of bacteria that cause infections. Herbs have positive effects on many different systems of the body. They do not just have one main effect but influence the body in several ways to support better health.


Why do doctors say herbs are ineffective or that there are no herbs that work against a virus? They will tell you the same thing about bacterial infections as well.

Historical use and published research prove those doctors are wrong.  If doctors in foreign countries use herbs and natural medicine, why not here? Follow the money trail.  The sale of drugs brings in millions to the drug companies. The drug reps are the ones who educate the doctors on using those drugs. 

Standard medicine doctors in the US are NOT trained in nutrition, preventive health, herbs, or natural remedies. They are trained on the use of drugs, lab tests, and symptoms that a lab test, surgery, chemo, radiation, and other accepted techniques can identify.  The majority of them do not get additional training or education on preventive health practices unless they become a naturopathic doctor or osteopath.  They work 70 to 80 hours a week and have no time to investigate these topics.  They speak from their education and experience which is standard medicine. They cannot give you proper guidance on these subjects. Does your doctor ask you why you are obese, why you have high blood pressure, whether you smoke, or drink too much, or what your diet is? They spend 20 minutes with you, then prescribe a drug or order tests or radiology visits.  This is medicine in this country, the USA. 

Many other countries, across the world, combine the benefits of both herbal medicine and standard medicine to keep patients healthy.

In other countries, some doctors use both standard and herbal medicine together to achieve patient health.  More natural health doctors exist in Japan, Russia, China, Indonesia, and other countries.  This is why you won’t get any positive response about herbs from your standard medicine doctor here in the US. The research on herbs is out there and there are centuries of historical usage by native people on these herbs. Research companies do not spend money for the most part on double-blind studies because the drug companies will not pay for research on a herb. Herbs are natural and cannot be patented so no large profit can be gained from the expensive research project results. Most of the research papers published do not come from this country for that reason.  

The advantages of herbs over antibiotics.

They don’t require a prescription or a doctor’s visit but a holistic-oriented doctor may be needed to help you to determine the best program to heal. They do require you to learn what herbs do and don’t do…. self-education. They do not destroy the microbiome or your gut function. Herbs and supplements boost immune function against both viruses and bacteria. Herbs do destroy bad bacteria leaving the good ones alone.  They support and strengthen your body’s own immune systems you were born with.  They are natural and have very few, less severe side effects than antibiotics. 

Antibiotics are needed for life-threatening infections especially if you have no experience using herbs or do not take enough of the correct herbs for the health issue. Most people do not take the herb at the beginning of the cold symptoms, do not take enough of the herb, do not take it often enough, or the correct herb to defeat the health issue. We have not had COVID, colds, or flu for the past 20 years. We have not experienced any of the lung issues.  I did get strep throat twice when visiting relatives who had it. One of those times, I did use antibiotics. I am a trained and educated herbalist of 35 years. I have been using herbs and supplements for 40 years after being educated in them.  Antibiotics have been overused and that is why we have superbugs that are antibiotic-resistant called MRSA infections. That is why people suffer from so many gut problems, they have overused antibiotics in many cases.

There are disadvantages in using herbs and one of them is cost.  The second problem is that many people going into a health food store, do not have the education about their own health and natural medicine to make educated choices for their health issues. Education is required to take herbal treatments effectively. Many herbs can be grown in your own garden saving money. You can make your own herbal tinctures as well.

NOTE: Some herbs cannot be taken during pregnancy, or given to babies or young children. Herb dosage is dependent on weight and other factors.  Herbs should not be taken with medicines because they can interact negatively.  This is especially true regarding heart and blood pressure medications, medications for anxiety, depression, and mental disorders, blood thinners, and other medications. Herbs have potent effects and need to be administered with knowledge and expertise.

If you do not get well or get worse when down with a seasonal illness like flu, it may be necessary to go to the doctor to get diagnosed. If you are having trouble breathing, you should get diagnosed as well. Those of us trained in holistic medicine know when an infection warrants a visit to a doctor. Many reading this article, do not have that knowledge or experience.


My Favorite Antiviral and Antimicrobial Herbs

#1 Andrographis paniculataknown as “Indian echinacea,” “Kalmegh

Anti-Bacterial, Anti-viral, Anti-inflammatory

Andrographis is an Ayurvedic herb used in India for centuries and still today is used by Ayurvedic Doctors and in TCM.  In America, it is little known by most health food shoppers. They will not ask for it, because of a lack of knowledge. Many of your healthcare personnel will not be educated on it as well. I knew nothing about this herb before 2016 because I was not originally trained in Ayurvedic herbs. It is one of the standards to treat Lyme disease and its co-infections.  I then started using Andrographis because of Chronic Lyme Disease but have learned since about its extensive usage for many health issues. It is extremely bitter so I put it in capsules myself. You can buy it already in capsules as well. 

Andrographis contains numerous medicinal compounds, with andrographolides being the most potent.  Andrographis contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. These properties boost the immune system in fighting infections, colds, coughs, respiratory symptoms, and flu. It is one of the most important herbs to have on hand and use during the cold and flu season. Educate yourself on how Andrographis can be an important tool for many different kinds of health problems including colds and flu.

I buy herbs such as Andrographis only through companies that test the products here in the Us for heavy metals, and other contamination. Ayurvedic herbs are produced in India and some of the products have safety problems.

6 Benefits Of Andrographis: Dosage & Safety | The Botanical Institute

Echinacea, Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata) – Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects (

Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology of Andrographis paniculata and Its Major Bioactive Phytoconstituent Andrographolide (

Harnessing the medicinal properties of Andrographis paniculata for diseases and beyond: a review of its phytochemistry and pharmacology – PMC (

Full article: Computational investigation on Andrographis paniculata phytochemicals to evaluate their potency against SARS-CoV-2 in comparison to known antiviral compounds in drug trials (

A randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical evaluation of extract of Andrographis paniculata (KalmCold™) in patients with uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection – ScienceDirect

Use of visual analogue scale measurements (VAS) to asses the effectiveness of standardized Andrographis paniculata extract SHA-10 in reducing the symptoms of common cold. A randomized double blind-placebo study – ScienceDirect



Anti-bacterial, Anti-viral, Anti-inflammatory

Berries come from a large tree generally the Sambucus nigra is the full scientific name of the most common variety used for medicinal purposes, as well as the species on which the majority of scientific research has been conducted.  The berries are picked, cooked, then strained to make the syrup. You cannot eat the berries fresh for they are poisonous. The leaves are poisonous as well.  The Elderberries are jam-packed with immune-boosting properties such as rutin, quercetin, antioxidants, and anthocyanidins which all help you to get well and stay well.

5 Benefits Of Elderberry: Dosage & Safety | The Botanical Institute

“Research actually shows that elderberry is a safe, efficient, and cost-effective treatment for the common cold and flu. A 2021 systematic review screened 1,187 records and five randomized trials on elderberry for the treatment or prevention of viral respiratory illness. Researchers found that elderberry may reduce the duration and severity of symptoms related to colds and influenza, and there’s no evidence that it overstimulates the immune system.”  Elderberry Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects and Interactions – Dr. Axe (

Elderberry most commonly comes as a liquid, in capsules, or make your own. We had Elderberry trees when we lived in TN for 5 years. Making your own Elderberry syrup is very cost-effective and rewarding.


Oregano Oil

Antibacterial, Antiviral, Antifungal, Anticandida, Antiseptic

One of the herbal tools most effective for fighting off seasonal colds, flu, and bacterial infections. Its two most potent compounds include carvacrol and thymol. That is the same thymol found in the more expensive mouthwashes as in Listerine.  You won’t find thymol in most of the cheaper mouthwash products.  Oregano also contains properties such as phenols, triterpenes, rosmarinic acid, ursolic acid, and oleanolic acid.

Do not take Oregano oil internally. There are Oregano tinctures that do state they can be taken by mouth. Go slow on dosage for Oregano is very potent. You can buy Oregano in capsules or make tea from the dried Oregano leaves.

Oregano Benefits, Nutrition, Side Effects and Recipes – Dr. Axe (

Benefits and Uses of Oil of Oregano (

14 Amazing Oregano Oil Benefits | Dr. Berg (


Olive Leaf

Antibacterial, Antiviral, Antifungal,  helps reduce Cholesterol, Anti-Cancer benefits, Anti-inlammatory

Olive leaf is found in the bible and has been used for thousands of years by people in those regions where it grows like Greece.  Its many health benefits are now known throughout the world.  The medicinal properties Olive Leaf contains are being proven now by science.

Olive leaves are a potent tool we use in our house to keep well.  Anti-bacterial against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Oleuropein is the most important phytochemicals that make this herb so healing. Olive leaf benefits the immune system through its strong antimicrobial properties.

Oleuropein, one of the key phytochemicals in olive leaf, has been shown to have strong antimicrobial activity against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. It’s thought that oleuropein’s phenolic structure produces an antibacterial effect by damaging the bacterial membrane and/or disrupting cell peptidoglycans.  It has also been found effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enteritidis, Bacillus cereus, Klebsiella pneumonia and Escherichia coli

6 Olive Leaf Benefits: Dosage & Safety | The Botanical Institute

11 Amazing Medicinal Health Benefits Of Olive Leaf (Olea Europaea) (

Evidence to Support the Anti-Cancer Effect of Olive Leaf Extract and Future Directions – PMC (

Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) as a herbal healer – PMC (



Heart protective, Garlic reduces Choelestol, and is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal

Garlic has been used all over the world for over 5 thousand years. 

“Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine,” prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion, and fatigue.

The original Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece were given garlic – possibly the earliest example of “performance enhancing” agents used in sports.

From Ancient Egypt, garlic spread to the advanced ancient civilizations of the Indus Valley (Pakistan and western India today). From there, it made its way to China. “The History of Garlic, for Health and Healing (

All the great doctors such as Hippocrates in ancient world history historically used garlic to treat bronchitis, TB, liver disorders, dysentery, intestinal worms, fevers, and other health issues with garlic.

Garlic is less used to ward off colds and flu because it makes your breath smell, which is not socially acceptable in the US. In Europe, it is used daily as people prepare their everyday meals. It has been used through the centuries to repeal sickness. During World War 11, garlic was used to treat men’s battle wounds and to treat dysentery as well. It was very effective.  It is called “Russian Penicillin”! The Russians and Japanese have done a lot of research studies on garlic.  

Kyolic Garlic is one way to take garlic without the odor issue. I’ve used it for years. It is aged in a way that keeps its medicinal properties but does not make your breath smell. Some people also have a problem taking raw garlic which can cause stomach irritation.  You can get Kyolic garlic both in liquid and capsules.

I also suggest buying garlic in its natural form from California. The garlic grown in CA may be more expensive but is a safer product than garlic grown in China. Most of your spices including garlic are either grown in India or China. The majority of garlic products come from China.I know Sam’s Club carries powdered garlic from CA and you can buy garlic cloves from growers in California.

The Reason Garlic Was Called ‘Russian Penicillin’ In WWII (

Garlic: Proven health benefits and uses (

Antiviral Herbs: Protect Against Viruses and How to Use – Dr. Axe (

Garlic: Proven health benefits and uses (

How Garlic Fights Colds and the Flu (

The next articles will address supplements such as Lysine, Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and more herbs that help to defeat these seasonal illnesses.