Did you know. . .
So real quick let's talk about the anatomy of a virus. A virus is a tiny ball of chemicals, which have RNA - as opposed to DNA, which means they need a host to be able to reproduce. Once reproduced inside of a cell, it requires a protein to help it break out of that cell, move to a new one and keep on reproducing. The chemical Shikimic Acid blocks that specific protein, thus keeping the virus trapped and contained, not allowing it to reproduce further, shortening the duration of the sickness.
Back in the day the popular method of treating the Flu (Influenza) was by using the seed pods (about 7% Shikimic Acid) of Star Anise Trees to create Oseltamivir Phosphate. But because these were such a rare commodity and hard to come by (they're native to China), people began searching other plants for the chemical Shikimic Acid... Which they found in Pine Needles(3%) and infertile Sweet Gum seeds (1.7%-3%).
fyi : infertile seeds of the sweet gum tree appear yellow in color and are wingless, as opposed to the fertile seeds which are black and have wings on either side.
some random but interesting facts about the sweet gum tree
The Cherokee used the bark to create an herbal tea, which they used as treatment for Influenza.
The Sweet Gum Tree's fancy scientific name (Liquidambar styraciflua) literally means 'liquid amber gum flowing'.
The tree produces a sap that can be extracted and chewed like bubble gum, but is actually not very 'sweet' as the name sugegsts, it is named such to not be confused with a different species called 'The Black Gum', which is very sour and bitter.
The Sweet Gum sap is still used as flavor in loose tobacco.
The sap is also available at some pharmacies as the ingredient in the "compound tincture of Benzoid"
Methods of preparations include: extracting the sap, crushing the unripe fruit and use it to prepare a tincture, the bark can be used to make a medicinal tea.