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Viral Infections with Specific Reference to the Upper Respiratory Tract

Richard Adams

Viral reproduction

Viruses must enter living cells to maintain their growth and to reproduce
They utilize the biochemical mechanisms and products of the host cell to sustain their
This makes it difficult to find a drug that is selective for the virus and which does not
interfere with host cell function

Three basic approaches to viral disease

Immunological control (vaccinations)

Antiviral drugs
Stimulation of innate resistance

Herbal Approach

Look carefully at the symptom pattern and causes of each illness in each patient
Tissue state/terrain as part of prevention
Enhancing immunity with herbs, diet and exercise
Hygiene including combating of transmission with essential oils
Use of herbal antivirals

Glycyrrhiza glabra

Botanical name: Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Papilionaceae )
Pharmaceutical name: Radix Glycyrrhizae
Ancient names: Glykyrizza (Gr) Liquirita (Lat)
Other names: Licorice, Reglisse, Herbe-aux-tanneurs, Bois doux (Fr) Siissholz, Likrize
(Ge) Gan cao (Ch)

Antiviral activity

Glycyrrhizin topically inhibits virus growth

In some instances inactivates virus particles
It is active against herpes simplex
Glycyrrhizin also induces interferon production in vivo and in vitro

Glycyrrhizin and SARS

A new coronavirus has been identified in patients with severe acute respiratory
syndrome (SARS).
In addition to inhibition of virus replication, glycyrrhizin inhibits adsorption and
penetration of the virus
Cinati, J: et al. LANCET 2003, 361 (9374)

Effect of oral application of an immunomodulating plant extract on Influenza virus

type A infection in mice.

The data show that the extract induced a statistically significant increase in the survival
rate, prolonged the mean survival time and reduced lung consolidation and virus titer.
The experiments demonstrate that the plant immunomodulator given 6 days before
exposure is potent inhibitor of Influenza A virus pathology in vivo.
Ref: Planta Med. 2002 Oct; 68(10): 896-900.

Efficacy of Echinacea purpurea in patients with a common cold

A total of 80 adult male or female patients with first signs of a cold were recruited to a
randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
In the verum group the median time of illness was 6.0 days compared to 9.0 days in the
placebo group
Ref: Schulten, B. Bulitta, M. Ballering-Bruhl, B. Koster, U. Schafer, M. 2001

Sambucus fructus

In a double-blind test, 50 patients with flu were tested with either elderberry extract or
a placebo. Within 24 hours, 20% of the elderberry showed dramatic improvements in
fever, muscle pain, and respiratory symptoms.
After the second day, 75% showed a marked change for the better and by the third day,
90% felt much better.
Of the placebo group, only 8% improved in the first 24 hours, 16% in 48 hours, and the
rest required 6 days to feel better.


The way elderberry works is thought to be by strengthening the cell membrane so a

virus cannot penetrate it.
It also seems to inhibit the enzyme that viruses use to weaken the membrane.
Echinacea is thought to have a similar action.

Case history

 Female, Counsellor
 Age 58,

Recurrent coughs and colds throughout the year at least four times a year, for the last
twenty years, and increasing.
Pattern: Starts with sore throat, then, fatigue and myalgias, rising temperature, then,
rhinitis and congestion in head, over the first week. Next she loses her voice and begins a
productive cough of clear to yellow sputum, which lasts other one-two weeks. It runs its
course and goes.
Nothing seems to help.

Suffered from severe bouts of measles and chicken pox when under twelve years of
age. Tonsils and adenoids removed in childhood.

Eats: oily fish, rice, seeds, dairy yogurt, cheese, soya milk, potatoes, vegetables and
fruit on a daily basis.

Dry since menopause at age 53
Full URT and LRT examination NAD except skin at nose very dry cracked and mildly
BP 120/64 pulse 66 bpm reg


Depleted state with associated poor immune response exacerbated by removal of

tonsillar and adenoidal tissue.
DX: recurrent viral URT infections, influenza, descending to bronchi

Carduus marianus 1:1 25
Thymus vulgaris 1:5 20
Sambucus nigra 1:5 25
Avena sativa 1:1 20
Glycyrrhiza glabra FE 10
Sig. 5mls tds. Ac.cum aq.

Follow up 2/52s:

PC: Feeling feverish since yesterday. Today has a sore throat. This is how it usually
SKIN: Feeling less dry. Enquiry into skin reveals she had dry skin during pregnancy
and started again after menopause.
Remembers that she had URTIs with pregnancy and often during menstruation and
worse since menopause.

DX: Recurrent viral URTI associated with hormonal changes

Carduus marianus 1:1 20
Echinacea purpurea radix 1:1 20
Avena sativa 1:1 10
Vitex agnus castus 1:1 10
Chamelirium luteum 1:5 10
Solidargo virgaurea 1:1 10
Glycyrrhiza glabra FE 20
5mls.tds. ic. Cum aq. Gargle then swallow

Follow up 4/52s:

HPP: After last visit URTI progressed as usual but only over 7 days, then, able to
return to work.
NS: sleep has been mixed.
DH: Resorted to Zopiclone 7.5mg tablet broken in half every 10 days.
Compliance slipping.
SKIN: Further improvement in dryness.
Recommended more oily fish, food containing beta-carotene, and Rooibosch tea as
substitute for Ceylon tea.
RX: Rpt. Sig. 7.5mls. bid.
Follow up, 5/52s
PC: No URTI since last visit.

SKIN: Further improvement in dryness.

FU 5/52s Free of infections. No symptomology
Sambucus fructus succus sig. 30mls oid for 7 days and keep bottle on standby on onset
of URTI symptoms.

Signed off.

Copyright R.Adams by permission