1) Social distancing. This means avoiding public places and events whenever possible. Keep 6 feet away from people. Do not interact with people who have traveled in places with outbreaks (including domestic outbreaks). Remember that someone can be carrying the virus for up to 2 weeks and have no idea they are doing so. Avoid non-essential travel. Make your health decisions not just for yourself but also for the highest-risk population. I bought a month's worth of groceries yesterday and am planning to be a hermit for the next several weeks. Yeah, I'm serious.
3) Help yourself stay calm and grounded. Our immune systems function best when we're feeling calm and grounded. So if you're feeling anxious (I know I am!) do some things that help you feel safe. Meditate, take walks in wild places, visualization (maybe image your immune system like Eleuthero with its gnarly spikes, as above!), prayer, exercise, talk with friends (on the phone or at a distance), watching calming movies, read good books, etc. Some herbs that help us deal with anxiety are: skullcap (good in tea!), motherwort, linden, lavender, lemonbalm, rose, mints, chamomile, or any of your favorite teas. Adaptogens (herbs that help us adapt to stress) can also help and these include licorice, ashwagandha, shatavari, reishi mushroom, the ginsengs, tulsi, rhodiola, and others.
4) Sunlight kills viruses. Go outside into the sunlight as much as you can. Ultraviolet radiation from direct sunlight kills viruses. This helps with both prevention and treatment.
5) Boost your immune system. There are herbs that increase our immune vigilance so that if we catch a virus, they will help our immune systems fight them off early and effectively so that we don't end up developing an illness. I discuss antiviral herbs at length here. But here are a few that I am personally using right now.
* Eleuthero/Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng). This is a root that is both an adaptogen (helps us be resilient to both physical and emotional stress) and an immune stimulant. It is a high dose plant, so at least 1000mg per day. Powder, capsules, tincture, or decoction.
* Astragalus propinquus. This is a root that boosts the immune system by increasing white blood cell activity. More info here. It is a high dose plant, so at least 5000mg daily in powder, capsule, tincture, or decoction.
* Andrographis paniculata. This is a bitter leafy plant that is directly antiviral and stimulates the immune system. It is a small/moderate dose plant. Can be taken in capsule (best because it's so bitter) or tincture. There is a tablet commonly available called Kold Kare, but it's expensive and capsules are just as good.
* Vitamin C. Best from your food including fruits and veggies, raw cabbage, and sauerkraut.
* Healthy diet low in sugar, industrial seed oils, and junk food. Sugar and alcohol in particular can cause a significant drop in immune activity, hampering your ability to fight off pathogens.
* Garlic - as much as possible! It is a very effective antiviral herb. More info here.
6) Addressing the virus if you do catch it. There are several herbs that can help you fight off viral infections faster if you've already caught it. Detailed info is here, but I will touch on a few herbs briefly.
* Firstly: CFers and other people with respiratory diseases will need to contact their doctors ASAP if they catch it or some other flu-like virus. Lung pain or shortness of breath can be signs of pneumonia developing.
* Andrographis. Can be used in small doses for a short period of time prophylactically, or larger doses when you've got a virus. As mentioned above.
* Elderberry. Elderberry is directly antiviral and strongly stimulates the immune system. It is appropriate for viruses when the fever is low or moderate, but not if the fever is high (because it can make the fever go higher). Some herbalists are suggesting that people in high-risk categories (e.g. the elderly or people with chronic diseases) avoid elderberry due to its ability to stimulate the immune system too much in acute situations; so err on the side of caution. It is very tasty in elderberry syrup or can be taken in capsules or tincture.
* Fire cider. An apple cider vinegar extract of spicy, pungent herbs that thin your mucus and stimulate the immune system. This often includes horseradish, elecampane, hot peppers, turmeric, garlic, onion, etc. You can make this at home, it's super easy.
* Garlic! This herb is one of the most effective antivirals in the planet. Eat at least 3 cloves per day (or to stomach tolerance) raw, chopped very fine and let fit 5 minutes before eating.
* Diaphoretic herbs. Diaphoretic herbs open up the pores and warm our body temperature so that a fever can peak and resolve more quickly. Remember, fevers are an important mechanism that our bodies use to fight off pathogens! Using fever suppressants when we don't need them can harm our immune system's ability to fight infections. Diaphoretic herbs include: peppermint, most other mints, yarrow, ginger, thyme, monarda, etc. Boneset is a diaphoretic specific for cooling a too-high fever. These herbs are most effective as hot teas. But if the fever is dangerously high, then of course fever suppressants are in order and you should contact a doctor immediately. Fevers that are dangerously high can be reduced with cool baths, the wet-sock method, or other techniques.
* Aromatherapy - essential oils from antimicrobial herbs can kill viruses. These plants include as thyme (high thymol content), oregano, rosemary, tea tree oil, cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, and more. You can use them in a water-based aromatherapy diffuser. Remember that not all EOs are antimicrobial. Gentler EOs can be nebulized and others can be use topically when diluted in a carrier oil. See here for more info on inhaling essential oils.
* Nebulizing colloidal silver can also help both acutely and preventatively. Silver is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial.
* If you are someone who tends to get lung infections (like many CFers) talk to your doc about whether or not you should proactively take antibiotics to prevent a secondary bacterial infection that might lead to pneumonia. This happened to me this year after a flu and I had to go on IV antibiotics. You can also take antibacterial herbs proactively. I use a lung tincture formula that includes thyme, barberry root, and elecampane root. These herbs are both antimicrobial (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) and expectorant (to help get the mucus out).
Alright, I hope this helps. I hope all of you stay safe and healthy. We'll get through this.
P.S. Here is a story of a young CFer in London who caught the COVID-19 and recovered alright. It made me feel a lot safer to hear how one of our kind has pulled through it.
P.P.S. More info on herbs for Coronavirus here from some well-known clinical herbalists. This is a webinar with my teacher Guido Masé, Tammi Sweet, and Deb Soule.
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