16 Natural Tips for
The best protection is prevention.
1. The single most important and simple way to protect yourself is to wash your hands often and avoid touching your mouth, face, eyes. Washing hands with soap and warm water is better than using hand sanitizer because soap does a better job at damaging bacterial /viral cell walls.
2. Make sleep a priority. Sleep deprivation will lower your natural immunity.
3. Eat plenty of dietary sources of Vitamin C: most fruits and veggies are high in Vit C. The fresher the produce the better: shop at your local farmers market. On days when you do not consume many fresh fruits & veg - take a Vit C supplement. Eat the rainbow - it really does keep you healthier!
4. Eat plenty of food sources of zinc, the highest sources are from shellfish, beef and and other animal proteins. Zinc in legumes, nuts and whole grains are less bioavailable. Vegetarians, vegans and those following a more plant based diet may consider supplementing with zinc 2-3 times week, particularly if noticing slow wound healing (as zinc play a significantly role in repairing the body). Keep zinc lozenges on hand. A lozenge coats the mouth and throat, a region where many viruses attack. Zinc prevents the replication of viruses while reducing inflammation (decreasing sore throats). Zinc will shorten the duration and severity of viruses. Zinc can stop the virus from migrating into the lungs. Note that many zinc lozenges come combined with Vitamin C and other anti-viral/anti-bacterial herbs: elderberry or echinacea. Warning: do not supplement zinc daily when not sick because zinc excess interferes with iron absorption. Coffee can interfere with absorption of zinc. Excessive sweating can lead to zinc deficiencies.
5. Gargle with warm salt water several times per day: add 1/4-1/2 tsp to warm water and gargle then spit. Salt inhibits the growth of viruses and bacteria but damaging them (one reason our skin is salty!). If you’ve recently been in a crowded area: schools, airports, hospitals, concerts etc. gargling afterward can help you prevent or lessen severity of a cold/flu.
6. Keep Oregano essential oil on hand. If you think you’ve exposed to a virus or start to get a sore that or sneezing a lot do an aroma steam. Boil water. Have a towel on hand. Pour hot water into a glass bowel. Use 1 drop of oregano oil (can also add other anti-varian oil such as thyme, eucalyptus, tea tree - only add one drop). Drape a towel of your head placed over the steaming bowl. Set this up at a table where you can comfortably rest for 1-3 minutes inhaling the essential oils. Breathe in through your nose AND mouth to allow those essential oils to coat mucus membranes and throat. Do not use these oils ALL the time. Doing so will decrease their effectiveness.
7. There is a connection with low vitamin D levels and increased risk of contracting Covid-19. Vit D deficiency puts you more at risk for all infections as well as slow wound healing. Many of us do not get enough sunshine: your body will make Vit D if you expose at least 1/3 of your skin to sun 3 times per week for 10-15 min (longer if you have darker skin).
The primary food sources of Vit D are fatty fish - but they must be wild (farm raised don't have as much Vit D). Egg yolks from pasture raised chickens (factory birds don't get exposed to sunlight). I have lots of patients who supplement high amounts of Vit D - and yet they don't seem to be absorbing enough of it. Vegans and vegetarians are especially at risk for Vit deficiency. If you take supplements but are still low, please sunbathe! Remember that Vit D is fat soluble: this means that you need to take Vit D with a healthy fat in order to absorb it.
8. Get some exercise. Even a walk around you block or a gentle home yoga or tai chi practice or dancing around your room is enough to increase white blood cells (immune cells) and helps flush viruses and bacteria out of your lungs.
9. Avoid excess sugar (this includes alcohol). Sugar is pro-inflammatory. Inflammation is an immune response. If you get sick when your immune system is already distracted (by producing inflammation against excess sugar) then your body might either be too depleted to fight the virus effectively OR become overly activated and cause excessive inflammation and overproduction of mucus.
11. TeleHealth for herbs if you are SICK! In Eastern Medicine Herbal tradition we use different herbal formulas at different stages of illness: we check for drug-herb interaction before giving you any herbs for your safety.
Special Note: all these herbs can be take in conjunction with pharmaceuticals. Studies show that when take in combination with medications recovery speeds up 33%. However, note that there are few anti-viral drugs - AND if your medical provider recommends you take one of these drugs (Tamiflu) - take it in combination with herbs for a quicker, healthier recovery.
11. Use humidifiers: studies indicate that viruses are less infectious in a humid environment. The humidity keeps viruses from floating in the air and lowers transmission.
12. Green and black tea contain natural polyphenols that have been found to inhibit SARS corona viruses. (Chen, C. N., Lin, C. P., Huang, K. K., Chen, W. C., Hsieh, H. P., Liang, P. H., & Hsu, J. T. (2005). Inhibition of SARS-CoV 3C-like Protease Activity by Theaflavin-3,3'-digallate (TF3). Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine)
13. Eat medicinal foods like garlic, shiitake mushrooms (see recipe above) and also cook with fresh thyme and oregano.
14. Get regular Acupuncture! Acupuncture regulates immunity. It boosts immunity for those with weak immune system and down regulates an overly active immunity in those with autoimmune syndromes. One acupuncture treatment generally does not cause this immune regulation: most people get an immune regulating effect after 2+ treatments. The strongest immune response sometimes occurs 72 hours post treatment (day 3). 15. Practice deep breathing! Take 12 very full complete breaths sitting or standing or laying down (find a comfortable position). The lay face down on your stomach (place your palms on top of each to rest your forehead). Then take 12 more deep breaths in this position. Breathing is easier in this position because the structure of the lungs. Try it. Keep your lungs used to it to avoid pneumonia. 16. Keep fresh Ginger root and/ore dried ginger in stock in case you become sick with Covid-19. One of the ways it replicates is by lowering body temperature. If you start to get the chills make ginger root tea.Ginger is warming and has the potential to decrease viral replication. Fresh ginger as well as dried ginger have anti-viral compounds, ginger's and zingerone, which prevent viruses from entering a host cell by inhibiting its replication. As a preventative consider making and drinking ginger tea (which has other great benefits) regularly when you come back from a public place. Other benefits of ginger: improved digestion, decreases nausea, relieves pain, reduces inflammation, promotes cardiovascular health and lowers cancer risk. Use it in your cooking and make tea* with ginger! * Thumb size ginger root, sliced * 1 QT water Bring water to a boil then turn down to 3-4 to simmer 30 min Add lemon (Vit C) and (Manuka) Honey PS You can add this tea to other teas.