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Antivital & antibacterial effects of plant substances

On the example of rockrose

Fear-mongering, profiteering, or scientific discovery? An attempt at explanation:

From statements like "We don't need drugs!" to "Use of plant substances for viral infections is charlatanry and dangerous!": What is there to believe?

As in most cases of such extreme statements, the truth probably lies in the middle! And in order to enable you to form your own opinion, I have taken a closer look at this topic.

Let's start with the probably best known example of the effectiveness of plant substances against pathogens. We have to go back to the year 1928 when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. But what is this penicillin? It is a plant substance produced by molds (i.e., plants) that kills a variety of bacteria. And this plant substance is used billions of times today (even if often in modified and synthetically produced form) and has probably saved human lives just as often and prevented terrible courses of disease.

This would basically prove that plants can actually produce substances that are effective against viruses and bacteria. Why do they do this? Because plants protect themselves against disease. This is a fact that is widely used in organic farming today.

And it is precisely in such studies that polyphenols have been identified as particularly effective opponents of viruses. A fact that drew attention to Cistus incanus, which attracted attention with its particularly high polyphenol content.

In order to learn more about this, Cistus extract was now examined 'in vitro' (here, pathogens and antagonists are applied to a glass dish under protected laboratory conditions). In addition to a wide variety of influenza viruses (including various Corona strains and the pathogens of bird flu), herpes viruses of various strains and even HIV pathogens were used for the studies.

In fact, the results were similar for all types of viruses: contact with Cistus caused a large number of the viruses to die or to change in such a way that they could no longer penetrate human cells.

But why did this reaction occur again and again with viruses of such different types?

This is a question that is ultimately easy to explain:

Let us therefore begin with the question of how a virus reproduces in the body. A virus is actually a true parasite. Unlike bacteria, which are small creatures in their own right, viruses can only reproduce if they can draw on the resources of their hosts (that is, the creatures they invade).

To do this, they have to penetrate the cells of their hosts. They achieve this with so-called spikes. These consist of proteins (albumen) that are typical and unique to different types of viruses.

These spikes are the keys that viruses use to enter a cell. Depending on the type of virus, these keys adapt to the locks of different cell types (e.g. lung cells as in the case of pathogens causing pneumonia).

So what happens when viruses meet Cistus incanus?

An answer that can be given quite easily based on laboratory findings. When proteins (here from spikes) meet polyphenols (here from Cistus), the chemical structure of the proteins changes. The consequence for the virus is that even the slightest changes in the composition of the spikes have the same effect as a slight change in the key. The door to the cell interior remains closed - the virus loses its access to the host cell and dies.

This also explains why Cistus can be "dangerous" to a wide range of virus types. And - as further studies have shown - it does not trigger any resistance. The virus cannot specifically target an opponent.

So you don't need any more drugs?

That is nonsense, of course! Only if the viral load (i.e. the amount of viruses in the body) is still low and sufficient polyphenols are available, can the outbreak of an infection be prevented or the severity of an illness conditionally influenced. This has also been shown in various studies.

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