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Coronavirus: do plant-based supplements reduce immunity?

Some plant-based supplements people are taking in the hope of boosting immunity from Covid-19 may have the opposite effect.

Various substances with anti-inflammatory effects, or which modify the body’s immune response, could obstruct our natural defence systems, food safety agency Anses warns. 

Products concerned include those based on echinacea, cat’s claw (griffe de chat or liane du Pérou in French), liquorice (réglisse), birch (bouleau), poplar (peuplier), polygala (also called in English milkwort or snakeroot), meadowsweet (reine des prés), willow (saule), goldenrod (verge d’or), devil’s claw (harpagophytum), or even turmeric (curcuma).

It is thought some of these may have effects similar to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, that many international experts currently advise against using if possible. Do not stop any prescribed medicines without taking medical advice.

Read more: Post-Covid-19: the future of health services in France

In other cases, Anses states they may favour creation in the body of certain molecules to which the virus binds easily. Some tisanes (herbal teas) contain these, and the main factor is how much and how regularly you consume. If in doubt, take medical advice.

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