Having Celiac disease, a corn allergy, other seasonal allergies and, as of last summer, Alpha-gal Syndrome, there are very few commercially available medicines that I can take. Most need to be created specially for me at a compounding center or I have to make them myself (which is why I am studying herbalism).
The idea of contracting COVID-19 is a bit terrifying for all of us, and still life goes on. I need to plan for at least this “what if..”
Research has been keeping me busy and has given me a better basis from which to make preventative and other health decisions for myself and my family based on these current circumstances.
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That being said, here are some of my findings:
General Herbal Community Responses
From an herbal perspective, COVID-19 is a Cold and Dry disease so is best addressed with Warm and Damp responses.
One of the BEST info pages I have seen so far: https://www.eclecticschoolofherbalmedicine.com/covid-19/
These seem to be the most recommended supplements
Probiotics – Everything starts here – keep your gut healthy.
Zinc – This study shows that zinc derivatives are having a good effect against the virus, so my thinking is that zinc now might help prevent just as it does for other viruses.
Elderberry/Elderflower – There is a concern by some that Elderberry causes Cytokine storms. There is some evidence of that but it is still considered good as a preventative. https://commonwealthherbs.com/elderberry-cytokine-storms/ Once symptoms appear, Switching to Elderflower seems like the best option. It has some of the same immunity boosting properties without the constituents that can cause the cytokine storm.
Vitamin D – I am taking 10000 IUs a day (had been taking 50000 per week but it was not raising my levels above single digit – switched to daily and I am up to 26!)
The rest of my family: Adults 5000 IUs daily, Kids – 1000 IUs on days they cannot go outside. Doses between 800 IU and 2000 IU are considered safe; a reasonable and commonly used dose is 1000 IU a day. Just a reminder that too much Vitamin D can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination, and lead to bone pain and kidney stones. Vitamin D can also interact with certain medications, so you should check for interactions before taking supplements. If you went outside in the sun naked, your body would produce about 20,000 IU of Vitamin D in 20 minutes. Yes, it is a fat-soluble vitamin but in our home, deficiency is a problem (we live in the woods). https://vitamindwiki.com/Coronaviruses+attach+to+cells+via+ACE2%2C+Vitamin+D+might+reduce+ACE2
“If the ability of vitamin D to stimulate the production of virucidal antimicrobial peptides and to suppress cytokine and chemokine production is clinically significant, then pharmacological doses (1000–2000 IU/kg per day for several days) may be useful in the treatment of those viral respiratory infections that peak in wintertime.” Cannell et al.
Vitamin C – ascorbic acid – I continue to take 1-2 g 4 times per day, The rest of the family is taking around 2g per day in divided doses.
- Ascorbic acid did appear to improve mortality in the multi-center CITRIS-ALI trial. However, interpretation of this trial remains hopelessly contentious due to nearly unsolvable issues with survival-ship bias (discussed here).
- Extremely limited evidence suggests that ascorbic acid could be beneficial in animal models of coronavirus (Atherton 1978).
- Administration of a moderate dose of IV vitamin C could be considered (e.g. 1.5 grams IV q6 ascorbic acid plus 200 mg thiamine IV q12). This dose seems to be safe. However, there is no high-quality evidence to support ascorbic acid in viral pneumonia.
Dietary Response –
Food to Avoid:
- Sugar – it cuts immunity by 50% for several hours or longer
- caffeinated drinks
- greasy and fried foods
- cold foods/drinks, especially directly out of the refrigerator such as milk or yogurt
- ice cream, popsicles
- fruit juices
- excessive intake of salads (they are too cooling for this time of year)
- excessive fruit, especially those out of season
- excessively spicy foods
- excessive protein, particularly red meat and for many, turkey
Eat easy-to-digest foods and add spices to them:
- Lots of cooked vegetables
- Cooked dark leafy greens
- Enough protein for your body’s needs
- Chicken or beef broth
- Baked fruit such as baked or sauced apples, cooked berries and add spices such as ginger, cinnamon and cardamom
- Beans and grains together
- Include spices with your food such as garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, basil
- Rice porridge
Other immune boosting measures:
- Garlic – read how to incorporate it here
- Colloidal Silver – You’ll often find Colloidal silver products sold as homeopathic remedies. For more information on homeopathy, see nccih.nih.gov/health/homeopathy. Topical silver (used on the skin) has some appropriate medical uses, such as in bandages and dressings to treat burns, skin wounds, or skin infections. It’s also in medicines to prevent conjunctivitis (an eye condition) in newborns. A Functional Medicine Doctor friend says theoretically, it could help against secondary infections and won’t hurt if taken as directed. I have used it for wound care and to clear pink eye on numerous occasions.
- Magnesium – I’m always low so I take this anyways. Magnesium is needed for many functions in the body. These include:
- Activating enzymes that help break down carbohydrates
- Nerve conduction
- Controlling nerve irritability
- Forming of bone and tooth enamel
- Converting protein, carbohydrates, and lipids into energy
- Helping make protein, RNA, and DNA
- Breaking down (metabolize) of many substances in the body
- Vitamin K – Helps with blood clotting
- CBD – I use CBD oil for pain and stress management. I prefer full spectrum because it seems to work best for me. Everyone is different.
- Watching regularity – If you are not sick yet, doing a mild cleanse could be of help. Making sure your body have flow is important to getting rid of toxins. When your liver can’t push bile into your bowels, a “trapdoor” opens to release it into your bloodstream. The toxic bile acids may end up in other organs, including your Kidneys, Lungs, and Skin
- Multi-vitamin – stress can cause imbalances in our ability to metabolize/absorb nutrients. Supplementation could help give the body the best chance to fight if the virus takes up residence.
- Getting plenty of rest – This is the hardest one for me. I don’t normally have a lot of time to watch TV and I am finding that binge watching is tempting
- Practicing Mindful relaxation – daily
- Getting exercise – I’ve been walking in our woods and cataloging plants and mushrooms every day that I can.
Don’t take my word for it. We are in rapidly changing times. Stay informed. Do some research on your own. And certainly let me know if you see anything I have missed! I would appreciate it.
For a more conventional approach, here is a link to NIH – https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/flucold.htm
Ok, That’s it for now. I will add and update things that I see.