Viral pandemic protection in a tea cup

Do you remember last year when a highly contagious strain of the bird flu was spreading like wildfire across North America? It was scary for a second there.

Scientists thought there was a good chance the virus was going to make the jump from birds to humans. It didn’t happen this time, thankfully.

But, the truth is, you never know when a new viral strain is going to strike. Afterall, we all remember MERS and SARS.

Fortunately, there a lot of safe and effective natural antivirals out there. There’s garlic, oregano oil, apple cider vinegar, olive leaf extract, prickly ash bark… the list goes on and on. But if you want to protect yourself from the bird flu specifically, it turns out there’s one antiviral that’s a cut above the rest….

Hibiscus tea. That’s right. Protecting yourself from this particular deadly viral pandemic could be as simple as drinking a cup of delicious tea daily.

You may think no tea could be that strong, but there’s science to back it up. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Science found that hibiscus tea is by far the most effective natural remedy against the bird flu virus that’s been studied so far.

And it’s definitely more effective than any synthetic anti-influenza drugs they’ve tried against the virus — the latest strains of bird flu have been notoriously resistant to those.

In this particular study, researchers exposed canine kidney cells to the H5N1 variant of the bird flu virus in a petri dish. They then exposed the cells to several different herbal tea extracts: black tea (which has the uncanny ability to neutralize ricin, btw), tencha, rosehip tea, burdock tea, green tea, jasmine tea, ginger tea, lavender tea, rose tea, oak tea and, of course, hibiscus tea.

While several of these tea extracts showed promising anti-viral properties, hibiscus was by far the most potent. In fact, the hibiscus tea extract significantly and quickly reduced the virus and stopped it from replicating.

Up until now, hibiscus tea has been known to heal a lot of health issues. In fact, in traditional medicine it’s been used to treat congestion, and the underlying causes of congestion — cold and flu viruses. Its antiviral abilities likely come from the fact that it contains a lot of vitamin C and antioxidants.

In addition to fighting viruses, hibiscus tea also lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, fights liver disease, relieves menstrual cramps, reduces anxiety and depression and even has anti-cancer properties.

Sounds like reason enough to me to brew a cup or two a day. Drink it hot or cold, sweetened or unsweetened. And I guarantee it just may be the most pleasant way to avoid the bird flu — or any flu — yet.

  1. Baatartsogt, V.N. Bui, D.Q. Trinh, E. Yamaguchi, et al. “High antiviral effects of hibiscus tea extract on the H5 subtypes of low and highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses.” The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science. 2016 May 19.
  2. Pippen, Laurie. Laurie Pippen’s All Natural Antiviral Agents: Natural ways to prevent or treat viral infections. Altoona, PA: Eiram Publishing, 2015.
  3. “Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea.” Organic Facts. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  4. “Hibiscus Tea.” The Food Network. Retrieved July 27, 2016.


Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and