Broccoli May Thwart Herpes Virus
New Research Suggests Compounds in Cruciferous Veggies May Knock Out Herpes
Many experts here exercise caution when interpreting the new findings. "This is very early information, and in contrast to some of the other viruses, we do have some pretty good antiviral therapies for herpes," says Ronald B. Turner, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville.
"It is fairly common for drugs in the laboratory to have some activity, but it is a difficult step to see how the drug works in humans," he says.
"The science is really nice, but it's a huge step to see if the data has any clinical applications," says Per Ljungman, MD, PhD, of the Huddunge University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.
He tells WebMD that while we do see resistance to Zovirax in patients with herpes, it occurs predominantly in patients with weakened immune systems due to HIV infection or transplants.
Moreover, he says, "There have been several promising drugs for herpes over the last decade that have never been developed" and that "resistance to [Zovirax] has not been too huge of a problem."
Eat More Broccoli
So should we eat more broccoli if we have herpes?
Both Turner and Ljungman note that there are already many good reasons to eat more broccoli, and while herpes treatment may one day prove to be another good reason, it is way to early to say.
In fact, boiled broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk, according to the USDA's nutrient database. One medium spear has three times more fiber than a slice of wheat bran bread. Broccoli is also one of the richest sources of vitamin A that is found in the produce section.
Broccoli has also been shown to protect against cancer. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore have discovered that broccoli is rich in substances called isothiocyanates -- chemicals shown to stimulate the body's production of its own cancer-fighting substances.
Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston have reported that broccoli, along with spinach, helped to minimize risk for cataracts and prevent stroke.