It’s flu season again, but before you rush out for a flu shot and shoot yourself up with health-compromising toxins, consider stocking up with honeysuckle tea. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners have been prescribing honeysuckle tea to treat flu viruses for over a century, and recent research provides scientific evidence attesting to honeysuckle’s nurturing nature. In fact, the study, published in the journal Cell Research, marks the first time a natural substance has been found to directly attack a virus.
Researchers from Nanjing University, China discovered that a molecule in honeysuckle called MIR2911 can suppress the influenza A (IAV) family of viruses, which includes the Spanish flu, swine flu, and avian flu. Even when honeysuckle is mashed up and boiled in water, the molecule’s antiviral properties remain in tact.
MIR2911 works by deactivating two genes that have been pinpointed as key to the replication of IAV viruses. Researchers also determined that both the natural and synthetic versions of MIR2911 exhibit the same effect on IAV infections. In addition, researchers declare that MIR2911 also directly targets the Ebola virus.
The researchers tested the effect of honeysuckle on mice infected with IAV viruses. Results showed that MIR2911 was effective against H5N1 and H7N9 IAV viruses, thereby demonstrating honeysuckle’s broad spectrum antiviral activity. Because IAV viruses have the ability to mutate and become resistant to previously effective treatments, it’s important to find natural methods that can treat multiple viruses. Honeysuckle seems to be one such alternative, however, human clinical trials need to be conducted to confirm its beneficial effects in humans. In the meantime, sip on some honeysuckle tea this flu season and do a little self-experimentation. It’s safe, side-effect free, and sweet-tasting!