The world can’t stop buzzing about coronavirus.
Everyone has a different theory on what is happening. Some think it’s just an overblown panic to get negative attention in an election year. Others think it’s much worse than they’re telling us and many will die. Most are somewhere in the middle on that.
Right now (Mar. 12), there are about 1300 cases in the US, and have been around 40 deaths. A government doctor has come out and said that he expects there to be 70 – 150 million cases in the US before it’s over. (In comparison, China, a country with 3x the population we have, had about 100,000 cases.) (source)
We’re also in a tough financial situation, as a country, because of this. Some businesses are shutting down. The NBA ended their season early. The stock market has plunged 20% and a recession could be looming. (source)
Basically, it’s led to a lot of panic.
We can’t control what the bigger picture looks like right now. But we can do our best to take care of our own families. That’s why I dove into the research surrounding the use of herbs and other natural remedies for coronavirus.
First I have to say, I’m frustrated with the lack of research done into botanicals and various bacteria/viruses. In China, they’ve studied key herbs and formulas and how they impact other strains of coronavirus for at least 20 years. They know that botanicals are important when people are resistant to antibiotics and Western medicine doesn’t have very good antivirals. But no, the US “doesn’t believe in” herbs, so they’re not researching them.
Unfortunately, most of the Chinese herbs are native to China, and we don’t really have access in the US. We have our own native species, but they haven’t been well-studied. There is some research out there…so I’ll piece it together as best I can.
When it comes to avoiding coronavirus, there are some herbs that have shown promise. These herbs include:
- Astragalus root
In one study (source), all of these were shown to have anti-viral activity before a person was infected. That is, they help to inhibit viral replication.
Try making a nice herbal tea with 3 parts peppermint and 1 part echinacea (purpurea herb) and enjoying 1 – 2 cups per day. Add fresh garlic to foods. Take elderberry syrup or tincture.
Many have heard that elderberry isn’t the right remedy for CoVid-19. I would agree it’s probably not the best thing to use if you get sick — there are better options (keep reading to see them). Although for the majority, it is perfectly fine to use.
A lot of people are point to this study, which says that elderberry can boost cytokine production in healthy people. They are extrapolating that out to mean that elderberry shouldn’t be used daily and/or can cause a cytokine storm. The study does not say either one of these things. It concludes that stimulating the immune system may actually be beneficial for health. It also does not address the issue of “cytokine storms” at all, and the study population was an entire 12 people. (This study and this study have much more in-depth, balanced looks at elderberry’s effects on the body.)
Elderberry is best used for daily support or at the very onset of symptoms. If things are getting worse, then stop elderberry and try some of the suggestions below. But don’t be afraid of elderberry.
Astragalus root, in addition to being helpful for viruses in general, also helps support the immune system and increase resistance to any illness. A tincture or root powder added to a smoothie would be the easiest way to get it. (I’m planning to put some of the powder in “popsicles” for my kids, along with yogurt for probiotics and organic fruit.)
My general recipe for “popsicles:”
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 cup water or juice
- 2 cups frozen fruit (mangoes, berries)
- Assorted supplements
I try to get one “dose” of each supplement per 4-oz. serving, because that’s how much my molds hold. Check your bottles to figure out how much that is for you. I’ll be using 8 tsp. astragalus root powder. You can also replace some of the juice/water with elderberry juice.
In general, the following foods can also help to support immunity:
- Berries (all varieties)
- Most fresh fruit (not too much ‘sweet’ fruit)
- Brazil nuts (rich in selenium)
- Beef liver (rich in zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, iron)
Now, more than ever, avoid white flour, white sugar, processed foods, polyunsaturated oils, and anything else that’s pro-inflammatory. These things will lower immunity. A big part of what makes CoVid-19 so serious for some is the inflammation.
Natural Remedies for Coronavirus
What if you get coronavirus?
First, don’t panic. For many people, it will be like a bad cold. If you are young and healthy, you are not at high risk.
If you are over 50, have underlying conditions, have chronic lung issues, or an otherwise compromised immune system, you are at greater risk. Wash hands more often, consider staying home if you can.
When it comes to natural remedies, they will be most effective at symptom onset. Don’t wait until you are really not feeling well before you start trying some. As soon as you feel a slight headache, or scratchy throat, or congestion — start using remedies.
(This is pretty universal, btw, not just for CoVid-19. Remedies get your body ready to fight effectively, but if it’s already overwhelmed, that’s a lot harder. The #1 mistake people make with natural remedies is waiting too long to use them. #2 is not using them aggressively enough when they don’t feel well. #3 is choosing the wrong remedies. These three things are almost always the reasons why people say natural “doesn’t work.”)
The top herbs to use when you’re already sick are:
- Licorice root
- Lemon balm
- Dandelion root
Studies have shown that these specific herbs have strong anti-viral actions, including against other strains of coronavirus. The first 5 are specific to being antiviral. Mullein has a strong affinity for lungs and can support people through all kinds of respiratory infections. Turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon are all powerful anti-inflammatories. (source, source, source, source, source, source, source)
You could make an effective hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol (120 proof) and steep sage in it. Washing hands is best, but this can help in a pinch. It would also be a good way to clean your home if someone was sick.
If you’re into essential oils, rosalina in a diffuser would work for all ages for general respiratory support, and adults could also use sage.
Other ways to use these herbs:
Combine dandelion root, peppermint, lemon balm and/or mullein to make a warm tea. Sweeten lightly with raw honey and sip as desired.
Make a pot of chicken bone broth with the addition of onions, garlic, bay leaves, and sage. Sip this or use in soups.
This is a super simple and versatile DIY. If you can pour cereal in a bowl, you can make this. Feel free to add a pinch of powdered ginger, too. (Recipe)
The Bottom Line
Seriously, don’t panic. These are unprecedented times. The future is uncertain. All we can worry about is making sure that our own families and communities are taken care of. And as far as stress? Well, this says it all….
Stressing too much will literally make it more likely that you will get sick! So make some common-sense preparations (I bought some extra food for my family, and I have our remedies), but don’t freak out. Have a plan for “what next,” if you can, but…stay practical.
How are you preparing for coronavirus?
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