This widely-available plant chemical has been shown in bunches of experiments to thwart viruses from replicating.
By now you've probably read way too many articles on how a lack of sleep, a lot of stress, and/or failing to wash your skunky hands can make you more susceptible to disease; so many articles in fact that you've surely developed perpetual Billie Eilish face, characterized by eye rolling, looking deathly bored, or scrunching up your face as if someone were holding a small turd under your nose.
To be fair, all that healthy lifestyle stuff makes sense, but it's too basic, too rudimentary for anyone whose IQ has a fightin' chance of hitting three digits.
Me? I'm a powder and potion guy. I like nutrients and chemicals, drugs and herbs – anything that has the potential for making me live longer, be stronger, or, as is appropriate for these endtime-like conditions, fighting viral or bacterial disease.
Case in point, there's a readily available plant derivative that seems to have profound anti-bacterial and anti-viral effects. This plant chemical is good ol' curcumin, which has gotten a lot of airtime around here because it appears to do so many cool things, including fighting inflammation, making fat cells kill themselves, raising testosterone levels, improving memory and mood, etc.
Now we can add its interesting anti-viral effects to the list. Hear this, though, I'm not about to suggest that curcumin could rid the world of the COVID-19 virus. What I am saying, is that there's enough research on curcumin's effects on other viruses that makes me hope and think that it could play a role in helping someone stave off or fight this particular coronavirus.
A Long List of Viruses
Curcumin has already exhibited anti-viral effects against the following human pathogens:
- Hepatitis B virus
- Hepatitis C virus
- Human papillomavirus, (the cause of genital warts that may lead to malignant squamous cell cervical cancers)
- Dengue virus (mosquito-borne virus)
- Zika virus (mosquito-borne virus)
- Chikungunya virus (mosquito-borne virus)
- Japanese encephalitis (an infection of the brain)
- Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, a disease that is highly lethal to children under 5)
- Rift Valley fever (a disease that spreads from animals to humans)
- Herpes simplex
- Coxsackieviruses (viruses that may cause hand, food, and mouth disease, as well as diseases of muscles, lungs, and the heart)
- Human immunodeficiency virus (AIDS)
- Influenza viruses PR8, H1N1, and H6N1
- And, even an enteric coronavirus (a virus related to COVID-19, one that occurs in the intestines).
Granted, most of these results occurred in vitro (test tubes), but it's not far-fetched at all to assume that some of these findings would apply to actual living human beings.
Gunking Up Virus Machinery
Curcumin, even without specifically taking viruses into consideration, has been shown to be a potent "immunomodulator" in that it affects the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells, all of which comprise the various fighters in your personal, biological, Mortal Kombat game.
Moreover, it can also downregulate various pro-inflammatory cytokines, which interact with the various cells of the immune system to regulate the body's response to disease and infection.
All of that is hugely impressive, but curcumin also has specific effects on viruses themselves so that they have a harder time carrying out their goal of using your body as a virus factory.
In some instances – as is the case with some of the mosquito-transmitted viruses – curcumin actually interferes with the binding of the virus to the cell. It doesn't kill the virus or even interfere with its black RNA heart, but just prevents it from latching onto otherwise vulnerable cells.
Other times, curcumin goes a step further and actually interferes with viral replication machinery, or suppresses cellular signaling pathways.
There may even be beneficial non-oral applications of curcumin. For instance, Zorofchian, et al suggested it could possibly be incorporated into an intra-vaginal antiviral product as protection against herpes transmission or other sexually transmitted viral diseases.
Best of all, the research suggests that most of curcumin's effects were achieved by smallish, completely realistic doses and that afflicted viruses don't develop any "immunity" to curcumin, which is viral poetic justice at its best.
How to Use This Info
I personally take one 500 mg. capsule of curcumin, twice a day. I don't know if it really can help protect me or anyone else against this current virus, but even if it doesn't, I know for sure that it has a lot of other beneficial attributes.
If you decide to use it, too, make sure the product you take incorporates something like piperine to increase curcumin's bioavailability. The plant polyphenol is notoriously hard to absorb, so taking the pure product by itself is probably a losing proposition.
- Jagieta, GC, Aggarwal, BB, "'Spicing up' of the immune system by curcumn," J Clin Immunology, 2006 Jan;27(1): 19-35.
- Dony Mathew, Wei-Lu Hsu, "Antiviral potential of curcumin," Journal of Functional Foods, Volume 40, January 2018, pp. 692-699
- Bryan C. Mounce, et al. "Curcumin inhibits Zika and chikungunya virus infection by inhibiting cell binding," Antiviral Research, Volume 142, June 2017, pp 148-157.
- Teymouri, M. et al. "Curcumin as a multifaceted compound against human papilloma virus infection and cervical cancers. A review of chemistry, celluar, molecular, and preclinical features," Biofactors, 2017 May6;43(3):331-346.
- Du Ting, et al. "Multisite Inhibitors for Enteric Coronavirus: Antiviral Cationic Carbon Dots Based on Curcumin," ACS Publications, September 12, 2018.
- Soheil Zorofchian, et al. "A Review of Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Antifungal Activity of Curcumin," Biomed Research International, Volume 2014, Article ID 186864.