Corona Virus Support

Herbal Information & Support for  Respiratory Related Viral Pandemics (COVID-19)                                                                        by Iris Gage, RH (AHG)

Coronaviruses are enveloped, positive-stranded RNA viruses. They possess the largest genome of all the RNA viruses. And they are continually producing new variants. Of the dozen or so coronaviruses, only a few infect humans and SARS is among them (sudden acute respiratory failure). Fever, cough and difficulty breathing are the first common symptoms. Headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, chills, confusion, fatigue, dizziness, rash, sweating, nausea and diarrhea also occur for many. With increased age comes increased fatality. (Buhner)

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health care workers and people who are taking care of someone in a close setting (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

• 104 °F: upper range at which most bodily functions are not altered.
• 106 °F: threshold for possible seizure activity. Normally human body temperature does not rise above this.
• 108 °F: brain damage may occur due to protein destruction.
• 110 °F: human cells begin to die.

In infants aged 1 month, 101.4 °F may be a critical temperature. This rises to 102 °F at 2 months of age.

 

Herbs for Prevention & General Immune Support
Medicinal Mushrooms                                                                                                                   

Premier tonics for the immune system and so many to choose from. Cordyceps, Reishi, Turkey Tail, Chaga, best when combined together. Maintenance dose is 2 teaspoon in 16 ounces water and simmer for at least 20 minutes and drink throughout the day. For acute 2 tablespoon in 16 ounces of water, simmered

Astragalus

An excellent lung and immune tonic. This root stimulates white blood cells while also tonifying lung tissue Simmer 3-4 slices or 3-5 grams in 16 ounces of water for at least 20 minutes.  Tincture is also effective, take 2-3 droppers three times a day with water. 

***More Herbs for Immune Support: Rhodiola, Dong Qui, Eleuthero, Tulsi, Schisandra

 

Anti-Viral & Cytokine Interrupting Herbs

***Note: for many antiviral herbs it is important to take a dose frequently in order to maintain antiviral constituents ahead of viral replication curves inside our bodies. Viral populations can easily double in an 8-hour period, so it is beneficial to take antiviral and anti-inflammatory herbs every 2 to 3 hours during waking hours.

Baikal Skullcap Root

Reduces cytokine storm and acts as an inhibitor of many viral symptoms. Tincture dose is 60-90 drops in warm water, three times a day. Best if avoid in cases of diarrhea as it could make it worse.

Fresh Ginger and Turmeric

Both rhizome roots are anti-inflammatory and inhibit inflammatory cytokines. They protect the respiratory system while relieving symptoms. Most indicated in the beginning signs of a respiratory viral illness. Add fresh ginger and turmeric to teas. Finely grate or chop ginger and/or turmeric the size of your thumb.  Steep them in 8 oz. of hot water for 2-3 hours, covered in order to preserve the volatile medicinal oils. Drink 4-6 cups daily.

Garlic

Directly antiviral, its pungent compounds have been found to reduce cytokine storms. 3-4 garlic cloves daily is ideal and as close to freshly cut as possible (chop first).

Red Sage Root

Immunomodulant for cytokine storm and antiviral activity. Tincture is very effective with a dose of 2 to 3 droppers (1/2 teaspoon) three times daily.

***More Anti-Viral & Cytokine Interrupting Herbs:  Elderberry, Kudzu, Licorice

 

Fever Reducing Herbs
Boneset

Tea infusion, 1 tablespoon per pint (16oz) water along with other herbs, sipped every hour or so. Tinctures can also be used, 40-60 drops in warm water every hour or so.

Catnip                                                                                                                                                 

Especially useful as a mildly calmative antiviral diaphoretic for kids. Best when added to tea blends, maybe with a little fresh ginger and/or licorice.

***More Fever Reducing Herbs: Peppermint, Elderflower, Yarrow, Lemon Balm, Forsythia

 

Herbs for Dry, Spasmodic Cough
Licorice Root                                                                                                                                                   

An excellent soothing demulcent for people of all ages and relieves symptoms associated with dry coughs within a day or at most two. This is especially important to help people who can sleep due to coughing. Tincture dose of 2 droppers in a little water every 2-4 hours. Tea infusion dose is 1 tablespoon per cup. Drink 1-2 tablespoons of tea every 2-4 hours. This herb is best avoided with high blood pressure.

Lobelia                                                                                                                                                                 

A strong antispasmodic herb that is specific for bronchial/coughing spasms. Only take the tincture dosed at 5-15 DROPS, 3 times a day with water. Note: if more is taken, nausea might ensue and will eventually subside, lobelia is also an emetic in medium to high doses.

***More Herbs for Dry, Spasmodic Cough:  Horehound, Pleurisy Root, Wild Cherry Bark

 

How To Make Herbal Infused Teas 

Infusion (for leaves & flowers):

To make a full day’s supply of tea put 4 TBS of herb in a non-metallic quart container.  Pour boiling water over the herb and cover.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes.  Strain and enjoy throughout the day.  Add honey if desired.

Cold & Flu Tea:  Boneset, Lemon Balm, Eucalyptus, Olive Leaf, Rosemary, Elderflower

Decoction (for roots, barks, & seeds):

To make a full day’s supply of tea put 2 TBS of herb and 4 cups of cold water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn down and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool until drinkable.  Strain and enjoy throughout the day. *Roots can be decocted several times

Immune Support Chai Tea: Astragalus, Eleuthero, Cinnamon, Fennel, Ginger, Cardamom