By: Yanna Darilis
During this unprecedented pandemic, it is imperative to try and remain as calm and informed as possible, mind yourself and others, by following instructions by the Health Authorities and your local Government, and above all protect yourself by staying healthy. Mitigation is a community effort, and by being mindful, and not fearful, we can get over this health crisis together, as collective conscious beings. Self care is important during a health crisis, and the best natural defense for fighting any virus is strengthening our very own immune system. The most efficient way to support our immune system is to eat nutrient dense food, full of fresh fruits and vegetables, to exclude high fat, processed, foods, as well as avoiding processed sugar the best we can. Two other important components of being healthy and boosting your immune system is to stay active and fit, and learning to manage our stress levels.
Hippocrates always said health starts from the gut, so it is important to get our gastrointestinal health in check so as to strengthen our over all immune system. Hippocrates also stressed the state of our mind is as important as the body, and that our thoughts are important in influencing the body’s health. I cannot stress it enough, stress free, and thinking positive is equivalent as what you eat.
Hydration is also an integral part of health, an abundance of liquids should be ingested, 8-10 glasses of water and even more- daily. This will help hydrate your body, and remove toxins.
Some simple facts about the new COVID19 virus, is that little information is yet known. What has been determine is that it is a single-stranded RNA virus belonging to the Coronaviridae family. The CoV family consists of several strains that cause upper respiratory tract and gastrointestinal infections in mammals and birds, and in humans, it mainly causes symptoms similar to a common cold and flu, however it has shown to be more severe, aggressive and contagious, including complications such as pneumonia and shortness of breath can occur, amongst other reported symptoms.
In contrast to bacterial infectious diseases, viral diseases cannot be treated by common antibiotics, because they are not living cells as bacteria are. Additionally, there are no drugs to date that can prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19, that have been approved by the FDA. Fortunately, the FDA has recently fast tracked many drug trials to be explored during the pandemic that seem to be working, while a vaccine is in the works. For more detailed information about the virus and for updates, refer to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention site: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
What’s important to note, is that we can be aware of the epidemic seasons, so as to be on our toes and to build protection for our bodies. Infectious diseases usually are contracted throughout the year, however there seems to be a cycle seen in the Northern Hemisphere, that shows wintertime seasonality of the Flu in the months of January-February, and March and April peaks of Varicell (Chickenpox, Shingles, etc.) infections. Although we are not clear about this new viral infection (COVID19), it may show to react to theses patterns.
Tips on how natural remedies may help;
Nature has never let us down, and some herbal support to assist in boosting the immune system and to ease the symptoms can be found through nature. Nature has been designed to provide us with a variety of Plants with astonishing therapeutic properties, and herbs used in traditional medicine in many cultures since antiquity, and have become greatly popular once again thanks to integrative medicine, as a source for natural remedies found right in your kitchen.
Phytochemicals have been used throughout history to fight against ailments, and pharmaceuticals were based on phytochemicals since the inception of pharmaceutical drugs. Natural Herbs and supplements can truly assist because unfortunately many people are not getting enough nutrients from their diet because of the way food is manufactured today, and also because eating habits sometimes do not include enough vegetables and fruits.
So here are a few tips to help you get through the unseen enemies that sometimes invade our bodies:
Supplements Shown to Inhibit Viral Attachments
Research has shown that many natural compounds suggests to have pharmacological effects, including antiviral, immunity and anti-inflammation. Saikosaponins, Polysaccharides, and Xanthines, particularly have shown to have antiviral activity and inhibitory effect on viral attachment and penetration:
Used for ages in traditional ancient cultures including Greek, Chinese, Hindu, and Native American medicine, but particularly studied, Chinese Medicine and Teas, consist of compounds proven to be effective as natural remedies through use over the ages.
It is important that before using herbs, please consult with your healthcare professional and also make sure you don’t have allergies to the herb of choice. As with all natural products, natural remedies need more research for their potency and effect, however nothing in excess is always the safe way to go and ask your doctor before attempting self remedies. Most importantly, herbal dosages will depend on people’s health and age, so be sure to follow the instructions on the labels and ask your health care professional.
Here is a compilation of some of the best Immune Boosters and Antiviral Quality Herbs:
Garlic: Enhances immune system, has high anti-viral activities to fight viruses, especially respiratory and influenza
Golden Seal: Native Americans used this plant in tea to fight colds and respiratory illnesses, amongst other ailments, today also used as an astringent, antibacterial remedy.
Astragalus- antiviral- immune stimulator
Licorice Root: Used in Chinese Medicine, studies show that it Licorice root has powerful anti-viral properties
Oregano- exhibits antiviral activity against respiratory infections
Mushrooms (Reishi, Shitake, and more): Studies have found mushrooms have immune stimulating polysaccharides that to cause inhibition of viral enzymes, synthesis of viral nucleic acids or adsorption and uptake of viruses into mammalian cells.
Aloe: The polysaccharides extracted from Aloe vera leaves have been studied and show evident effects on the therapy of virus infection.
Holy Basil- Tulsi- known to increase immune system to help fight viruses
Fennel- boosts immune system helps fight viral infections
Echinacia: widely used and most popular, used by Native Americans to fight infections
Elderberry: Variety of Sambucus, the elderberry tree and berries are one of the most used plants in the world used to fight colds and virus infections, studies have shown it suppresses viral replication and boosts immune response because they contain high antioxidants, Vitamic C, Pheonolic Acids, Flavonols
Sage: may fight against human immunodeficiency viruses.
Onions- boost your immune system, has Quercetin which has antiviral properties.
Lemons (Citrus Fruits): High in Vitamin C and Flavinoids, infectious fighting agents, anti-inflammatory, fight free radicals, a must have, especially during flu season.
Ginger: This root has been used for ages in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, high antibacterial compounds, assists in fighting the flu and common cold, as well ad aids in digestion.
VITAMIN A: Maintains normal immune system of the body
VITAMIN B2: Riboflavin, plays a vital role in the breaking down the body’s nutrients from food for energy production, and an important part of the Vitamin B complex.
VITAMIN C: High antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage
VITAMIN D: help stimulate intestines and absorb calcium, destroys free radicals, along with helps with growth of bones and teeth, helps maintain a strong immune system.
ZINC- Ionic Zinc- is an essential trace element, body can absorb 100% of ionic (better over gluconate), assists the immune system in fighting off invaders such as bacteria and viruses
PROBIOTICS- Very important to keep our intestines microbiomes balanced and healthy so that you can absorb nutrients and maintain a strong immune system. Make sure they have multiple strains, high CFU count and contain prebiotics.
Productive chest coughs: may produce white, yellow, green phlegm
Unproductive chest coughs: dry irritant, takes long time to clear.
Good Old Home Remedies, Teas, Teas, Teas
Herbs to soothe in Teas: 2-3 cups of infusions daily
Garlic, Ginger Lemon, antiviral and loads of Vitamin C
Elderberry: antiviral and stimulates sweating, reduces mucus
Crush a clove of garlic (take out the center pulp),slice a piece of fresh ginger (use powder if not available) Juice from one lemon, 1tp honey. Mix all ingredients into one cup of hot water. Enjoy at least one a day until symptoms subside.
Elderberry extract can be mixed with lemon in cup of hot water, drink 3 times daily.
Thyme and Licorice Tea: 3 times a day
Respiratory tract problems:
Thyme, is an effective Anticeptic
Licorice, soothing for persistent coughs
Garlic: effective antiviral
Its also a good time to eat loads of soups, such as “grandma’s chicken soup, vegetable soups, butternut squash soup, etc. Stay healthy and informed, and if you have the major symptoms call you doctor immediately.
Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH, Pengion Random House, 3rd Edition 2016