Our immune systems are constantly under attack. Whenever we go out into the world, our bodies face a number of viruses that could cause illness in our bodies.

Thankfully, our immune systems work around the clock to fight off these foreign invaders and maintain our health. 

Sometimes our bodies could use a little extra help to improve our defenses and boost our immune systems, though. Whether we’re under stress, can’t get enough sleep, or are facing a more potent virus, natural remedies can help a fatigued or overwhelmed immune system.

Types of Viruses

Viruses are different than bacteria. While bacteria are single-cell organisms, viruses are not living. Instead, they depend on host cells (such as humans) to reproduce and grow. Viruses also don’t respond to antibiotics. While antibiotics are lifesaving in the case of a bacterial infection, they can cause harm when they are not necessary.

Some common viruses that most of us face at some point include: 

  • Flu
  • Herpes (Type 1 and 2)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Mononucleosis (Mono)
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS)
  • Viral pneumonia
  • Viral Meningitis
  • Viral Hepatitis

How Herbs Can Help

Long before scientists could isolate viruses and study their activities, health practitioners used herbs and mushrooms to help boost the immune system. Today, researchers have been able to isolate the compounds in these plants that make them so powerful.

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Chaga Mushroom

Chaga is a black mushroom that typically grows in cold and northern climates. Although the plant may look ominous, it imparts an impressive number of benefits. Its antiviral health benefits are well-known, and Russians have been brewing finely grated Chaga in their teas for hundreds of years as a folk remedy. 

Modern science has confirmed its immune-boosting benefits for those looking to fight viruses. 

Acute inflammation is helpful for the body when it faces an infection. It helps kill off viruses quickly and reduce any damage that they might cause. However, dysregulated inflammation can affect how well the body can respond to viruses. Chronic inflammation brings down the immune system so that its response to viruses is limited.

Chaga has potent properties that help reduce dysregulated and chronic inflammation so that the immune system can better react to viruses. 

One study on mice found that it helped reduce inflammation and boost the immune system when they underwent chemotherapy. Another study found that it helped lower inflammation on mice with colitis, an autoimmune condition.

Research also shows that chaga helps boost white blood cells, which fight viruses in the body. One study on immunosuppressed mice found that it helped enhance their immune systems. Different test-tube research showed that it improves immunomodulation, which ensures that the immune system works properly.

A more recent 2020 study found that chaga, along with other herbs, helped stimulate innate immunity. Although the research explored its effect on tumors, this innate immunity also has implications in inhibiting viruses.

More human studies need to be done to explore the many benefits of chaga mushrooms. However, the research and historical use point to its effectiveness in reducing the risk of viruses and aiding the immune system.

Maitake Mushroom

The maitake mushroom also goes by Dancing Mushroom and Hen of the Woods because of its appearance. The mushroom is revered by both Japanese and Chinese traditional practitioners for its numerous benefits. 

Maitake is particularly powerful as an adaptogen. Adaptogens work to help bring the body back into balance. Stress has a powerful effect on the immune system and may hamper its ability to react to viruses. Researchers in one study wanted to find out the results of a combination of maitake and ashwagandha (which we discuss below). They found that it not only reduced stress but helped improve immune function.

There is research that also shows that maitake is potent against viruses. A recent 2020 study found that it had antiviral effects. A 2017 study in Japan found that it helped inhibit influenza A or the common cold. Maitake’s potent ability to boost the immune system makes it especially helpful against viruses.

Turkey Tail Mushroom

Turkey tail earned its name as a mushroom for its turkey tail coloring and appearance. It can be found all across North America and throughout the world. In China, health practitioners use Turkey Tail to treat lung ailments. Practitioners in Japan used the mushroom to strengthen the immune system. It was also common in Indigenous tribes throughout North America.

Although many people realize that the immune system can be too weak at times, it can also be too strong and cause damage. The term “cytokine storm” has recently become more commonly known as a potentially deadly overreaction by the body to a virus. 

Turkey tail works as an immunomodulating mushroom. That means it can boost a weak immune system, but it can also calm an overactive one. One 2019 study demonstrated that it could activate the immune system, which can be useful when fighting against viruses. 

Another 2020 study found that turkey tail, along with a mixture of mushrooms, demonstrated immunomodulatory effects.

Turkey tail helps the body find the perfect response against viruses. One preliminary study found that it was effective against HSV-1 or the oral strain of herpes. During the 2-month treatment, 88% of patients who took the mushroom saw improvement.

Turkey tail can be a powerful boost when the immune system needs extra help fighting off viruses. Research shows that it can help reduce the risk of viruses and provide the body additional support when it is most vulnerable.

Reishi Spore

Reishi is a fan-shaped, orange-brown mushroom. It has earned itself nicknames such as “the king of mushrooms” and “mushroom of immortality” because of its numerous health benefits. Its use goes back thousands of years and was once reserved for royalty.

Today, researchers have found that reishi has certain potent compounds. Many of these compounds make it particularly effective for boosting the immune system and fighting viruses.

Studies have found that it works so well because it changes inflammation pathways in white blood cells. White blood cells are critical for the immune system, and reishi appears to make them more effective. 

Research on cancer patients found that it helps increase natural killer cells, which help fight viruses in the body. A different study on patients with colorectal cancer found that it increased white blood cells.

Research on reishi’s immune-boosting effects is not limited to cancer. Stress can lower the body’s immune response, making it more susceptible to viruses. Reishi can combat these negative effects of stress. However, one study involving athletes under stress found that it helped lymphocyte function. Lymphocytes are critical to maintaining a robust immune system that can fight off viruses.

One of the properties in reishi, Ganoderma lucidum triterpenoids, has been studied against a number of viruses. Studies have shown that it helps inhibit hand, foot, and mouth diseaseHIV, Dengue fever, and more.

Although more research needs to be done, the science so far shows it is a potent mushroom against viruses.


Ashwagandha is one of the most potent herbs in Ayurveda, an ancient Indian healing practice. Its use goes back over 3,000 years and is used to relieve stress, improve energy, and sharpen concentration.

With its high regard for thousands of years, it’s not surprising that science has found it is a potent herb.

Plenty of research shows that ashwagandha helps reduce inflammation, which is critical for a healthy immune system. One study on rats fed with fructose found that it had protective effects against inflammation. Another study found it helped reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in arthritic rats.

Not only does ashwagandha help the immune system control its inflammatory response, but it also helps boost the cells that fight viruses. One study on 32 volunteers found that it increased Natural Killer cells, which fight viruses. Another small study had participants take the root twice daily for 96 hours. In the end, participants saw an increase in both Natural Killer and T-cells.

These human studies are limited because of the smaller number of participants. However, the initial science is promising in ashwagandha’s ability to boost the immune system to fight viruses.


A flowering herb often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, astragalus was historically revered for its ability to stimulate the immune system. Today, researchers pinpointed one compound in particular that makes astragalus so powerful against viruses, Astragalus polysaccharide (APS). 

Although research is limited to test tubes and animals, studies show that APS fights numerous viruses that threaten humans. One study found that it reduced the chance of herpes type-1 infection or the variation that causes sores around the mouth and lips. Another 2019 study found that it had antiviral activity against the avian flu.

Researchers also believe that it might reduce the risk of herpes for cells in the central nervous system.

More human research needs to be done to study how effective astragalus is against viruses. However, there is reason to believe that it can help boost the immune system against viruses and inhibit their growth in the body.

Burdock Root

A vegetable native to both Northern Asia and Europe, burdock root is from the same family as sunflowers and daisies. People have used all parts of the burdock plant for centuries to treat many ailments.

Researchers have found that burdock contains several properties that make it powerful for human health.

A recent 2020 health review pointed to the potent antimicrobial properties in burdock. Research has found that burdock can help inhibit herpes type 1 and 2, HIV, and adenovirus.

Burdock can provide a potent boost to the immune system to fight many viruses. However, more research needs to be done to establish which viruses it can fight.


White Birch is known chiefly today for its beauty and changing leaves. However, people have used the white bark as a natural medicine for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. Scientists today found the reason for this: one of the properties in the bark, Betulin, is actually a potent antiviral compound.

Research shows that Betulin is an anti-HIV molecule. Studies have found that it is powerful against various viruses

A recent 2020 study found antiviral effects against Dengue virus, while another study found anti-influenza activity. Research from 2020 also found that it had a protective effect against Zika Virus.  

It is also anti-inflammatory, which can help ensure that the immune system is not hindered by chronic inflammation.

With its vast number of antiviral properties, it can provide a potent boost to the immune system.

Life Hacks to Combat Viruses

While herbs and mushrooms can provide the immune system with a potent boost in the face of viruses, they can’t beat a healthy lifestyle. Some ways that you can protect yourself against viruses with a healthy lifestyle include:

  • Sunlight. Most Americans are critically lacking vitamin D, which is vital for the immune system. Sunlight contains multiple additional properties that research shows that sunlight can help aid the immune system.
  • Sleep. Sleep is foundational for human health. It helps the immune system to work optimally to rid itself of viruses. Aim to get 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep each night.
  • Colorful diet. Nutrient-dense foods provide the body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to fight viruses. Also, cut out starch and sugar, which can dampen the immune response and lead to chronic inflammation.
  • Stress reduction. Low-stress levels are critical for the immune system. Take time each day to do an enjoyable activity, meditate, pray, and practice deep breathing.
  • Wim Hof Method. Wim Hof has recently enjoyed popularity for his breathing methods and use of cold exposure. Researchers found that participants that used these techniques were able to control their immune response. Although the research was on bacterial infections, it could also affect viral infections.
  • Green tea. Catechins in tea have been shown to inhibit viruses’ ability to reproduce.

Fight Back Against Viruses

When combined with a healthy lifestyle, certain plants can help boost the immune system and help the body combat viruses. It can even help strengthen the body against viruses that medicine can do little to improve, such as HIV and herpes. 

Using the purest sources, we found herbs and mushrooms that reduce the risk of viruses and boost the immune system. We’ve combined these potent ingredients in our two formulas, Optimal Immune and Chaga Shroom