According to some sources, it is estimated that even if we practice extreme social distancing for months, 70% of people will get the Covid-19 virus. The practice of social distancing and frequent hand washing will slow the spread, or “flatten the curve.” The less people who are sick at one time, the more capable the hospital system is of treating the seriously ill. There is concern about the lack of medical supplies, including surgical masks and gloves, hospital beds and ventilators. If we slow down the progression it will decrease the number of people needing more intervention at one time. This will decrease the likelihood of more fatalities. While many people will not get intensely ill from Covid-19, it is estimated that 20% will require hospitalization, 5% will need to be in ICU, and 3% will need the aid of a ventilator to remain alive. It is estimated to have a mortality rate of about 3%. The disease tends to more greatly impact people over 65, or the immunocompromised, but it can still sicken and kill people of all ages.
Chinese herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years to treat flu-like epidemics in China. One source reports that there have been 320 documented epidemics in Chinese history. We have been learning a lot about herbal support for the Covid-19 virus from sources that used Chinese herbs in the hospital and clinical setting to treat this virus. About 60,000 patients used Chinese herbs to help in the treatment of Covid-19.
When the virus was getting stronger in China, we began increasing our herbal dispensary, with the understanding that herbs would be a very helpful tool to help people prevent, endure, and recover from this pandemic. We have engaged in some intensive study of these protocols, and would encourage everyone of our patients to begin taking Chinese herbs and some basic nutritional supplements to help support their bodies. While not everyone gets extremely ill from Covid-19, being proactive can lessen the likelihood that you will have a serious reaction to the virus.
We are encouraging people to schedule an online or phone herbal consult and then take herbs and supplements to strengthen their health. We also can prescribe herbs to take while sick with the virus. We have protocols for treating fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches and digestive distress. We will prescribe different formulas for different stages of the illness. China has a noticeable lower incidence of mortality related to the disease than the West is experiencing, and some people attribute this to the concurrent use of herbal prescriptions with western medical intervention.
We can blend herbal formulas to help with prevention, for the actively sick stage, and the recovery stage of the virus. As always, it is helpful to stay as healthy as possible. We can blend constitutional formulas for each individual, and use immune tonics and anti-viral herbs to boost the immune response, while addressing your underlying health concerns.
Covid-19 seems to thrive in damp and stagnant body conditions. Diet can play a powerful role in supporting healthy conditions for the body to resist the virus. It is best to eat a whole foods diet, with lots of vegetables and fruits. It is recommended to avoid or limit foods that produce more “dampness” or phlegm, such as dairy, wheat, eggs, processed sugars, and cold or fatty foods. Sweets in general, should be very limited, as well as beer, frozen foods, and processed foods. Culinary herbs that are fragrant and pungent, such as cardamom, ginger, turmeric, coriander, or pepper can reduce dampness. And for those who are not sensitive to garlic, it is recommended to eat some everyday.
- Vitamin C: 1000mg 2X/day…If you are becoming sick, you can take 1000mg of vitamin C every hour or two. This will loosen the bowels, but it can be very helpful in fighting off viral infections.
- Vitamin D-3: 2000mg/day, or 5000mg every other day. If you become ill you can up the dosage to 5000mg/day.
- Zinc: 15mg per day
- Medicinal mushrooms
Sleep and Rest
Stress can cause many of us to believe that we need to be in action to stay safe. But it is especially important during this time to rest. We recommend getting an extra hour of sleep everyday. For many of us, this means about 8-9 hours. You may also find that a short nap each day offers a good recharge. Remind yourself that this is a marathon, not a sprint and pace yourself.
Mindfulness Practice/ Meditation
I debated putting this recommendation first on the list. While there are obvious concerns during this challenging time, it is counterproductive to obsess or overthink things. We recommend limiting the amount of news that you take in. I personally find that a morning and evening check in is plenty. You may find a lot of benefit in inviting in some kind of mindfulness practice. This is simply a practice of watching the mind, emotions, and sensations in your body as a passive observer. You can witness all of this information with a sort of curiosity, without feeling the need to change anything or do anything about it. It is a practice in surrender.
Like the serenity prayer:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
When we practice mindfulness it teaches us to surrender believing we need to do something, if there is nothing that can be done. It also allows us to clearly recognize when something does need to be done, and to be more able to be in appropriate action. Then mindfulness teaches us to be better able to discern the difference. When we sink into the stillness that resides deep within us, our divine nature, we become more resilient and more able to adjust to whatever comes our way.
Exercise and Breathing Exercises
Dampness and phlegm tend to plug up the body, causing things to become stagnant. Exercise and taking deep breaths can both help move stagnation in the body and clear out congested fluids and toxicity. Since the Covid-19 virus greatly impacts the lungs, exercise and deep breathing can help clear residual congestion from the lungs and increase their resiliency. We recommend 30 minutes of brisk exercise 5 days a week, as well as taking deep breaths throughout the day.
It is especially important to connect with friends and loved one, laugh, sing, dance, and be creative during this time. Being joyful and loving is powerful medicine. It has noticeable healing effects on the body, mind and soul. You may find that you finally have the time to reach out to friends and neighbors, or that you can pull out the easel or a neglected instrument. Make the most of this free time. It is a gift.
Daily dry skin brushing stimulates your immune system. Gently brushing the torso, neck, sides and back, arms and legs helps to move the lymphatic system. This will stimulate lymphatic circulation and increase your general feeling of vitality and well-being.
Of coarse it is always good to drink plenty of water, but it is especially important to remain hydrated when you are warding off illness. More water dilutes mucous and phlegm and allows it to move more freely. This helps the body process it more easily so it doesn’t collect in the body.
This is shared from master herbalist, Heiner Fruehauf about the use of essential oils for Covid-19. For thousands of years essential oils have been used to ward off infection.
- Apply essential oils before going out in public, either in the form of an anti-viral massage oil (applied to the chest, neck and lower arm areas) or an anti-viral “perfume” (applied to the area below the nostrils). During the bubonic plague in the middle ages, essential oils prevented the professions of perfumers (who exclusively worked with oils on a daily basis) and thieves (who fortified themselves with oils before burglarizing abandoned houses) to become ravaged by the pandemic. Since different viruses thrive in the environment every year, the types of appropriate oils also vary from year to year. These oils have proven to be most effective for the prevention and treatment of upper respiratory infections in early 2020:
- Tea Tree
- Cinnamon leaf
- Any or all of the oils described above can be mixed together to produce an essential oil blend. Massage oils should incorporate 30 drops of essential oils per ounce (blended into a base of high-quality oil).
- You can also diffuse oil in your home