In these times of challenges and uncertainty, we need to remember that we have great control over our health and well-being. I wanted to take some time to discuss some different herbs that have been shown to have antiviral properties and help with immunity and cellular function.

Herbs are what I call a bang-for-your-buck food. We must always remember the food we put in our bodies is information for our cells.

“Let food be thy medicine,” said Hippocrates.

So what foods have the most bang for their buck in terms of antiviral properties? To answer this question, I want to look at herbs. Herbs are so powerful, and have so many healing properties and are so yummy. Many times we forget to add these to our daily dishes.

My top three herbs that I use weekly:

Basil: You may have heard of basil as it is the main ingredient in pesto. Basil has over 60 varieties. Basil plants thrive in rich soil under full sun and can be ready to use in 60–90 days. I have a basil plant right on my windowsill that I can pick from whenever needed. Basil has been considered one of the healthiest herbs on the planet. It is not only tasty but it also provides a healthy dose of vitamin K to the body, which is essential for blood clotting, healthy bones and cardiovascular function. It also provides iron, calcium, vitamin C, manganese and potassium along with fiber to help the body thrive. The anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties in basil come from flavonoids and its volatile oils, such as estragole, linalool, sabinene and limonene.

Cilantro: This herb is either very popular with some or not at all. Are you a person that tastes soap when you try this herb? There have been countless health benefits cited for cilantro. Some studies have proven that cilantro has antiseptic, antifungal, antioxidant and antibacterial properties that contribute to health benefits, such as keeping bones strong, stimulating digestion, regulating blood sugar and reducing swelling caused by arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies have even shown that cilantro can purify your water. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder cilantro would be a great herb to add to your regimen during this time.

Peppermint: This herb is delicious to fuse into your lemon water year-round. There are upward of 20 plant species within the mint family, with the most popular being peppermint and spearmint. Not only does this herb help alleviate allergy symptoms, aid in digestion and relieve nausea and headaches, it also helps clear up congestion and other respiratory disorders. One study even shows the powerful antiviral activity against RSV, an upper respiratory disease that impacts many people.

As you can see, these three herbs are jampacked with powerful healing abilities. It is vital at this time that we provide our bodies with herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, lots of water and other nourishing elements that will keep our immune system strong and vibrant. Don’t underestimate the power of your biology — especially when you are providing your body with the armor it needs. For more info on foods that can help your immunity, check out the Happy Whole You podcast on your preferred listening platform. 

Anna Marie Frank is a brain health and wellness expert, author, lecturer and human-potential coach. The views expressed are her own.

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