Some Antiviral and Immunity Herbs

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 PDF download:  Some Antiviral and Immunity Herbs Blog

**Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals, or book an appointment with me!

Book an appointment today with Shannon Hobson

Certified East West Herbalist

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My ‘Elderberry Syrup Blend’ for purchase: *Elderberry, *Elderflower, *Echinacea, *ginger, *raw sugar (vegan) or *honey, water  (*organic ingredients)

Tinctures available for purchase:  All antivirals/immunity herbs outlined, except Isatis leaf

Antiviral tincture for purchase: Elderberry, Elderflower, Forsythia, Isatis root, Echinacea, Honeysuckle, Astragalus blend


Ashwagandha, ‘the rejuvenation herb’

      *image credit in reference section


Solonaceae family (nightshade family)

Part: root

Energy: warm and bitter

Taste: sweet

Latin name: Withania somnifera

Western medicine/research: constituents include (*not an exhaustive list); withanolides (withanolideA, withanolide D, withaferin A), alkaloids, sitoindosides, saponins, tropine, pseudotropine isopelletrine, anaferine, etc.

Actions: adaptogenic, hypnotic or induces sleep (leaves more so), “anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress, neuroprotective, cardioprotective, and anti-diabetic” (Dar, Nawab John, Abid Hamid, and Muzamil Ahmad, 2015), sexual tonic (especially for men)

“management of various disease conditions like bronchial asthma, chronic fever, cold, cough, malaria, dysentery, convulsions, diabetes, diarrhea, arthritis, emetic syndrome, skin diseases, insect bite etc. and in treatment of gastric, hepatic, cardiovascular & immunological disorders” (Verma, Sitansu Kumar, and Ajay Kumar, 2011)

“a viable therapeutic agent for addressing anxiety, cancer, microbial infection, immunomodulation, and neurodegenerative disorders.” (A Dar, Parvaiz, et al. 2016)

Ashwagandha root “has been demonstrated to reduce anxiety and stress, allowing the body to settle down and prepare for sleep” (Deshpande, Abhijit, Nushafreen Irani, and Rathna Balakrishnan, 2018)

“root extract of the plant was found to possess strong antibacterial activity against MRSA as revealed by in -vitro tests” and “Our study suggests that the bioactive fractions separated from aqueous extract of W. somnifera is a potential source of antibacterial compounds with antioxidant property.” (Mehrotra, Vidhi, et al. 2011)

“withanolides have been found cytotoxic to cancer cells, immunomodulatory, and neuroprotective in function” (Rai, Mahendra, et al. 2016)

“Moreover, the toxicological studies revealed that the reasonable doses of W. somnifera are non-toxic and safe” (Rai, Mahendra, et al. 2016)

“All five studies concluded that WS intervention resulted in greater score improvements (significantly in most cases) than placebo in outcomes on anxiety or stress scales.” (Pratte, Morgan A., et al. 2014)

675mg 3 times per day dose of Ashwagandha root extract: “There was a 167% increase in sperm count, 53% increase in semen volume, and 57% increase in sperm motility on day 90 from baseline.” (Ambiye, Vijay R., et al. 2013)

“Treatment with Withania somnifera extract (100 mg/Kg/day p.o.) for 15 days significantly reduced ulcer-index as compared to control group. Extract also significantly reduced volume of gastric secretion, free acidity and total acidity” (Bhatnagar, M., C. P. Jain, and S. S. Sisodia. 2005)

Traditional Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine: (Indian ginseng) Considered the primary tonic herb in India (the ‘rejuvenator’)

  • Ashwagandha means ‘smelling like a horse’
  • Rasayana herb (‘path of essence’ herb), used ‘to expand lifespan and longevity’
  • Specific for Vata constitutions (nervous/anxious types)
  • Increases Ama (toxic phlegm) in excess type people (lymphatic conditions, colds/flus with congestion, general sinus congestion and allergies, etc.)
  • Used for nervous exhaustion and anxiety
  • Sexual tonic for females when combined with Shatavari root
  • The “grounding” herb, helps stabilize metabolism, immune system, and mood

(KPS. Khalsa & M. Tierra, 2008)

Cautions: not for excess constitutions with high phlegm disorders or ailments, avoid when pregnant, may interact with blood pressure and thyroid medications, caution with individuals with nightshade family intolerances

Preparation and dosage: 1-10 grams (KPS. Khalsa & M. Tierra, 2008)

Traditional use: 1-10g decocted or cooked over a long period in milk (for acute conditions, specific for inducing sleep), 1 gram for lifelong use (specifically for male infertility)

*Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals, or book an appointment with me

Book an appointment today with Shannon Hobson

Certified East West Herbalist

Consulting out of Howe Sound Pharmacy, Gibsons

Text or call 604-993-0169

Click to Email

IG: natural_knowhow

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  • Dar, Nawab John, Abid Hamid, and Muzamil Ahmad. “Pharmacologic overview of Withania somnifera, the Indian ginseng.” Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 72.23 (2015): 4445-4460.
  • Verma, Sitansu Kumar, and Ajay Kumar. “Therapeutic uses of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) with a note on withanolides and its pharmacological actions.” Asian J Pharm Clin Res 4.1 (2011): 1-4.
  • A Dar, Parvaiz, et al. “Unique medicinal properties of Withania somnifera: Phytochemical constituents and protein component.” Current pharmaceutical design 22.5 (2016): 535-540.
  • Deshpande, Abhijit, Nushafreen Irani, and Rathna Balakrishnan. “Study protocol and rationale for a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on nonrestorative sleep.” Medicine 97.26 (2018).
  • Mehrotra, Vidhi, et al. “Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of aqueous extract of Withania somnifera against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.” J Microbiol Biotechnol Res 1.1 (2011): 40-5.
  • Rai, Mahendra, et al. “Anticancer activities of Withania somnifera: Current research, formulations, and future perspectives.” Pharmaceutical biology 54.2 (2016): 189-197.
  • Pratte, Morgan A., et al. “An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 20.12 (2014): 901-908.
  • Ambiye, Vijay R., et al. “Clinical evaluation of the spermatogenic activity of the root extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in oligospermic males: a pilot study.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).
  • Bhatnagar, M., C. P. Jain, and S. S. Sisodia. “Anti-ulcer activity of Withania somnifera in stress plus pyloric ligation induced gastric ulcer in rats.” J Cell Tissue Res 5.1 (2005): 287-292.
  • Khalsa & M. Tierra, “The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs”, p.97, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes WI, 2008.

Chinese Schizandra Berry

(picture(s) credit in reference section)

 Schizandra berry

Magnoliaceae family  

Part: berry (fruit)

Energy: warming

Taste: sour, touches on all 5 flavors (sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, salty)

Latin name: Schisandra chinensis

Western and Chinese herbalism: (*not an exhaustive list) constituents include; “protocatechuic acid(1), quinic acid(2), 2-methyl citrate(3), 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furancarboxaldehyde(4), zingerone glucoside(5), thymoquinol 2-glucoside(6), thymoquinol 5-glucoside(7), and daucosterol(8)” (Dai, Haofu, et al. 2001)

“compounds including schizandrins, schisandrols, gomisins, fargesin, eudesmin and lirioresinol B dimethyl ether” (Lim, Hyun, et al. 2009)

Actions:  astringent, tonifying, adaptogen, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antiallergic

“These results indicate that the lignans could potentially be a potent class of AChE inhibitors.” (Dai, Haofu, et al. 2001) – acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChE) is the enzyme inhibitor that inhibits acetylcholinesterase from breaking down acetylcholine (neurotransmitter), acetylcholine imbalance is potentially identified as effecting the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

“SCE” being Schisandra Chinensis Extract- “Cells pretreated with SCE (100–400 μg/mL) showed an increased resistance to oxidative stress in a dose-dependent manner. SCE can be useful for management of antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects.” (Sung, Misun, et al. 2014)

“These compounds have the potential to be developed as novel antiallergic agents and may contribute to the antiallergic pharmacological use of these plant materials in Chinese medicine.” (Lim, Hyun, et al. 2009)

“Schisandra chinensis can be a safe and effective complementary medicine for menopausal symptoms, especially for hot flushes, sweating, and heart palpitations.” (Yan Liu, Jiang Hu, Yan Lv, Xiao-Yun Huang, Guo-Xu Zhang. 2018)

“mechanism of action of an active compound schizantherin C in A549 human lung cancer cells was related to the inhibition of cell cycle progression” (Min, Hye-Young, et al. 2008)

Chinese name:  Wu Wei Zi

Traditional Chinese Medicine use:  said to tonify the Organs; Heart, Kidney and Lungs, as well as, “astringes the essence” (Tierra, 1998).  Also considered for lung deficiency (ex: reduce coughing), kidney deficiency (ex: urinary incontinence) and essence leakage.  Used in formulas to balance, as it touches on all 5 flavors of TCM.  Used to calm the Shen (Spirit of the Heart)

Cautions: As this herb is warming, it should not be used by those with internal heat conditions (examples of symptoms of too much internal heat; rashes, headaches, irritability, nosebleeds, restlessness, burning sensations, red face, red tongue, etc.), use caution with colds/flu or infections.

Preparation and dosage: 3-9 grams (Tierra, 1998)

Standardized extract capsule: “Schisandra extract is 100 mg twice daily” (2020 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. ScienceDirect,

-Traditionally added to food, used in small amounts to enhance all 5 TCM flavors

-tea (infusion)

*Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals


Book an appointment today with

Shannon Hobson

Certified East West Herbalist

Text or call 604-993-0169, or Click to Email

IG: natural_knowhow

Facebook: Natural-Know How



Images: Dried berry (, Ripe berry image (

  • Dai, Haofu, et al. “Studies on the chemical constituents of Schizandra chinensis.” Natural Product Research and Development 13.1 (2001): 24-26.
  • Lim, Hyun, et al. “5‐Lipoxygenase‐inhibitory constituents from Schizandra fructus and Magnolia flos.” Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives 23.10 (2009): 1489-1492.
  • Sung, Misun, et al. “Antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective effect of Schizandra chinensis Baill. Extracts containing active components in alcohol-induced HepG2 cells.” Food Science and Biotechnology 23.5 (2014): 1615-1621.
  • Yan Liu, Jiang Hu, Yan Lv, Xiao-Yun Huang, Guo-Xu Zhang. (2018) Cytotoxic lanostane triterpenoids from the stems of Schisandra glaucescens. Journal of Asian Natural Products Research 20:8, pages 727-733.
  • Min, Hye-Young, et al. “Antiproliferative effects of dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans isolated from Schisandra chinensis in human cancer cells.” Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 18.2 (2008): 523-526.
  • “The Way of Chinese Herbs”, Tierra Michael, 1998, Pocket Books, New York.