Contributing writer for Wake Up World
The purpose of this article is to provide natural health tips to help build immunity, prevent against contracting corona virus, and natural means to combat infection. Although coronavirus and the flu are caused by different viruses, the acute symptoms of lower and/or upper respiratory system infection are similar. I have personally treated flu and flu-like symptoms for decades with success using many of these remedies.
There is currently no vaccine or proven remedy against the virus and the only known cure is your immune system, so take care of it by taking care of yourself and your family. The remedies mentioned here are by no means a comprehensive list of all possible remedies; they are what I have found helpful as a holistic health clinician, specializing in Chinese medicine and with extensive Western herbal medicine knowledge, as well as functional medicine training. I also didn’t want to overwhelm you with information.
These holistic suggestions are in addition to all the physical precautions for not spreading or contracting the virus, such as wearing a mask and gloves, not touching door knobs with your open palm, and minding sneezing and coughing in peoples’ faces. You don’t have choose all the tips listed to gain benefit, just those you feel called to. Note, if you have an inflammatory, chronic, or other disease, such as cancer or rheumatoid arthritis, or if pregnant or dealing with another particular medical condition, please consult with your health care professional. None of these suggestions are a substitute for individualized, professional medical care; please consult your doctor if in doubt. Also, please remember, pharmaceutical antibiotics don’t treat viral infections such as the coronavirus. Secondary infections, however, may be bacterial.
I list three categories for achieving optimal immune health. The first two—Herbs and Supplements and Lifestyle—are preventive measures. The third is Acute Treatment phase. Many of the suggestions in the first two categories apply to general wellness for increasing resistance to all manner of illness and achieving optimal health; that’s how holistic medicine works. This said, in the Acute Treatment category, I have included remedies that may be specific to addressing known symptoms of coronavirus in particular, including many herbs with antiviral properties. An extra tip is at the end! I hope this helps you and your loved ones stay healthy!
Herbs and Supplements (Prevention)
1) Larch powder and Astragalus: Both are immune stimulants and increase WBCs and antibody response (IgG for larch and IgG, IgA, IgE for astragalus). Larch (containing the starch arabinogalactan from the bark) is from a tree by the same name and as a prebiotic also improves digestion through its fermentation in the gut. Astragalus is Chinese medicine’s prime lung and immunity tonic. Both can be taken preventively and during the acute phase.
2) Medicinal Mushrooms: All are helpful, especially reishi, coriolus (turkey tail), shitake, maitake, chaga, and cordyceps ( a fungal hybrid anomaly). Use mushroom products (Mushroom Science Immune Builder or Real Mushrooms 5 Defenders formulas, for example) that have been extracted, not just powdered. The long-chain polysaccharides as beta-glucans in these mushrooms help stimulate immunity.
3) Supplements: Begin dosing zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and selenium weeks in advance (now). Vitamin C (in liposomal from is best absorbed; a next best is Esterol) and zinc work synergistically to boost immunity. Studies also show zinc lozenges can be helpful for preventing viruses from multiplying in the throat.
4) Elderberry extract: Tonifies immune system; full or antioxidants. Elderberry is a general immune tonic that may prevent some flu viruses from entering cells; has been shown to shorten duration and severity of cold and flu generally. Elderberry season is just coming on here in southern California, so check your local wild areas for these delicious berries you can eat right off the branch or make into syrup or tea.
5) Glutathione: Our body’s prime anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger; helps overall immunity, cellular health, energy, and stress tolerance; take with Vit. C for synergistic effect. Here’s an article I wrote about it. Consider taking this amazing supplement even if there were no coronavirus.
6) Herbal Adaptogens: Herbs such as panax ginseng, shilajit, cordyceps, ashwagandha, rhodiola, and elecampane can be taken weeks prior to any possible exposure of cold or flu. Note, do not take (except elecampane) if acutely infected.
7) Probiotics: Help digestion, fortify the foundation of our immune systems.
8) Bu Fei Wan, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan, Yu Ping Feng San (Wan): Chinese herbal formulas to boost lung “Qi” (immunity) and ward off pathogens (note, all have astragalus!). I use Mayway Plum Flower Brand for purity and reliability.
1) Sleep: Get plenty, take naps as needed, turn digital devices off well before bed. Sleep fortifies the immune system and clears out toxins from your brain and body.
2) Exercise: Getting out to move your bones in the fresh of a natural environment is best; get enough movement, don’t run yourself into the ground or deplete yourself, which lowers immunity.
3) Healthy Diet: Wholesome foods, meat in moderation helps build immunity, leafy greens (contain indole-3-carbinols which reduce frequency of flu infection), reduce or eliminate sugar (impairs immunity), onions and garlic (raw and cooked) help detox and build immunity; white fungus; all kinds of edible mushrooms, generally. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, an immune booster. Curries and turmeric are also helpful.
4) Reduce stress: Consider taking it easier for a while, don’t deplete yourself, take more leisure time, don’t make fear worse by panic or catastrophizing thinking. Notice your fear, don’t feed it, and take necessary precautions.
5) Acupuncture, acupressure, massage, yoga, Qi Gong, cupping, meditation: All can help reduce stress and improve immune function in many different ways. The acupressure/puncture points Large Intestine 4, Stomach 36, and Spleen 3 are most effective (click each for locations). Rub/press each with firm steady or intermittent pressure for up to approximately 10 minutes each to both prevent and ease existing symptoms; try trading treatments with someone. See a licensed acupuncturist or experienced other for cupping treatment for prevention and acute treatment.
6) No cold foods or liquids.
1) Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan: A primo Chinese formula to clear “heat” (infection) and phlegm (of any color) from the lungs as well as and mild cough remedy. Plum Flower Brand is good. Add ginger and/or cinnamon twig tea if phlegm is clear.
2) Aged Garlic Extract: Kyolic is a good brand, and also made with other botanicals such as olive leaf and elderberry. This Kyolic immune formula is tops and highly recommended; can be taken with Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan. Similar to A-biotic (#3 below), so choose one if you go this route.
3) A-Biotic: A professional formula I use for treating cold and flu, especially in the lungs and airways: contains: oregano oil, olive leaf, garlic, larch, rosemary, and elderberry. See here. Can take with Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan.
4) Western herbs: Elecampane root, osha root, olive leaf extract, oregano leaf/oil, burdock, goldenseal, thyme, sage, echinacea, slippery elm, horehound, mullein leaf, spilanthes can all be helpful; consider consulting with a trained herbalist for specific symptoms, though any and all are usually safe.
5) Old Indian Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup, Loquat Respiratory Syrup: Both help support lung health, soothing for cough and inflamed throat, helps clear phlegm, stop cough, and can be used preventively or acutely. Click on each to learn more specifics.
6) Oscillococcinum (by Boiron): A homeopathic remedy to reduce severity of flu and flu-like symptoms. I’m not a big homeopathic fan, but this stuff has helped in the past, especially with achy/crampy feelings, and others report the same. Can take in conjunction with herbs but separate doses. See here.
7) Sweating Therapy: Sweating out an illness is a traditional practice to rid pathogens and help reduce fever by eliminating heat from the body. Only do sweating therapy prior to, or within approx. the first 24 hours of, symptoms. Take a hot bath and/or drink enough hot liquids (diaphoretic yarrow flower and elderflower tea can be used for bonus effect) and then bundle up with layers of clothes until you start to sweat; allow yourself to sweat, even profusely. Note, do not sweat heavily if very weak; if weak, sweat mildly and proceed with and/or follow by eating warm soup and/or warm rice and replenish your fluids by drinking water (not cold). Make sure to cover up immediately after stripping off your wet clothes because all your pores are open and you want to cover them!
8) Rest, warm liquids, soup: Standard protocol for cold and flu recovery.
Extra Tip – Homemade Hand Sanitizer
Consider a mix of rubbing alcohol (or hard alcohol like vodka) + an antibiotic essential oil like tea tree oil (and any others you like) + colloidal silver (optional) + thin with water as desired (but not too dilute). This is likely healthier, more effective, and doesn’t contain a bunch of junk chemicals.
Recommended articles by Jack Adam Weber:
- The Modern Shaman: Fierce Love at the Frontier of Madness
- When We Love an Addict – Courage and the Limits of Compassion
- Arrogance in Relationships: How to Deal With and Heal It
- ReVOLUTION: When Enough is Enough
- Sex – Truth and Dare, Pleasure and Purpose
- Relationships: The Costs of Staying When We Should Leave
- Yin Yang — Ancient Wisdom for Personal and Planetary Transformation
- Heartbreak – Loving Ourselves Through Difficult Times
- Grief-Work: Healing the Shadows of Trauma and Pain
- Do We Really Create Our Own Reality? The Myths and Dangers of New Age Belief
About the author:
Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac., M.A., is a Chinese medicine physician, having graduated valedictorian of his class in 2000. He has authored hundreds of articles, thousands of poems, and several books. His latest prose work is Climate Cure: Heal Yourself to Heal the Planet, (September, 2020). Weber is an activist for embodied spirituality and writes extensively on the subjects of holistic medicine, emotional depth work, mind-body integration, and climate crisis, all the while challenging his readers to think and act outside the box. He is also the developer of the Nourish Practice, a deeply restorative, embodied meditation practice, as well as an educational guide for healing the wounds of childhood. His work can be found at jackadamweber.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter, where he can also be contacted for medical consultations and life-coaching.