I hope everyone is staying healthy, grounded and centered during this time of uncertainty and change right now. Wow, there is so much to talk about I don't even know where to begin.
First I do want to send healing vibrations to our elders, immunocompromised individuals, and other community members living with chronic illness and/or disability. May we all uphold our responsibilities to ourselves and our community to consider the increased risk that these family members are facing, and make thoughtful, educated decisions at this time.
In addition to WHO and CDC recommendations on hand washing, social distancing and limited outings in public spaces, and face touching, ensuring that your consuming a well balanced diet including healthy fruits and veggies, lean proteins and fats and a reasonable amount of activity and exercise can really help support overall immunity.
WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS:
We will be postponing all group workshops and events for the rest of March, and will resume normal events beginning in April. As we begin to know more about how this continues to develop we will keep everyone updated. We may work to begin Zoom meeting workshops if need be, so we will keep you all updated on that.
In the mean time, please check out the amazing upcoming events for April and May. We have some fantastic offerings coming up.
IN THE EVENT OF A CLOSURE
Schools have closed til the end of the month, many people are working from home, many public institutions have closed, and I am sure more businesses are soon to follow. In the event that we do need to close our doors temporarily or limit our hours, WE WILL STILL BE AVAILABLE!! We love our community and have seen so many new and familiar faces over the past week. I am so grateful for all of you and your trust in us and the herbal allies who's messages are the foundation of our work. So, please reach out via email or phone if anything is needed. We are trying to get everything on the website, but if there is something you are looking for you don't see, PLEASE EMAIL US! There is a good chance we have it or can make a recommendation. We will set up times for pick up or will do reasonably local deliveries, shipping, or further delivery (for a fee) if needed. I will provide an alternate phone number if that is the case.
Next, I am sure the question most are curious about is what herbs are good for this?!
Viruses are the oldest living thing on our Earth, and are magnificent at adapting and shifting and changing. We are still learning about how viral pathogens really work. There have been a number of fantastic, wise herbalists that have released protocols for covid-19, and I will share information suggested from these sources along with some other thoughts. (Necessary disclaimer: this information is for educational purposes, and is not intended to treat, prevent or cure any disease. I am simply sharing my personal thoughts and opinions based off of the experiences, research and reading I've done, and the communication I have had with some of my mentors. Do your own research, and make the best decisions for you and your family.)
Herbal allies for coronavirus and sars
We have many/most of these at the apothecary, and are working to get preparations of the ones we do not have.
There are sooo many herbal options here... The earth is your pantry. I first want to touch on some local, abundant allies right around us and common herbs in your kitchen. Before I reach for the really exotic herbs, I like to look for support locally, when there is so much at our disposal:
- Mullien, white pine, and sassafras leaf are great allies for respiratory health.
- Burdock root is nourishing to the kidneys, liver, spleen and lymphatic system
- Nettles is a superfood that is nourishing to the every system in the body.
- Yarrow is fantastically antiviral, and is a wonderful support for a fever.
Medicinal culinary mushrooms
(Fire cider is a great example of an immune supportive, antiviral kitchen remedy!)
Elder: Elderberry has been a lot of individual's first go to becuase of its widely popular use for cold and flu, and the conventional medicine studies that have supported it. There has been some discussion on social media about elderberry and whether it is safe to take because of the cytokine storm that is a complication that occurs in this virus. First, an important thing to mention is this is not a phenomenon specific to this virus. Cytokine storms can happen with influenza too, which is what elderberry has been used for centuries for. In short, a cytokine storm is when the body overproduces immune cells to respond to an infection and they are sent to the organ affected (in this case the lungs) and can exasperate conditions. I will echo the comments from some of the other wise herbal elders I respect and have learned from. According to herbalists like Stephen Buhner and Mary Blue, elderberry is unlikely powerful enough to create this cascade of complications. Susun weed has a you tube video you can view here offering her recommendations. Other recommendations have been to continue safe use of elderberry, unless someone has autoimmune or immunocompromized conditions that lend to an over-(or under)active immune system. I think using elderberry daily as a preventative, in this case, is a fantastic idea, and if you’re concerned at all, then stop it WHEN you’re sick, or select other herbal options.
Licorice root- believed to be a broad spectrum antiviral, and is a tonic for the endocrine system and adrenal exhaustion. Immune modulator (strengthening), and may calm a cytokine storm. This, and many of the herbs below, are in Stephen Buhner protocol for coronavirus infections (see below for a link to his protocol).
Cordyceps mushroom- used in TCM as a general tonic, soothe the lungs (protects the cilia), and strengthen the body's resistance to infections. Several human trials appear to confirm the beneficial effects for symptoms of asthma, COPD and bronchitis (H.A., n.d.). A mushroom complex containing cordyceps would be a fantastic option.
St Johns Wort- this favorite herb for use as an alternative to antidepressants, I actually prefer it for use as an antiviral and anti-infammatory!! I find it incredibly effective for this use.
Rhodiola - adaptogenic herb. Immune strengthening, helps reduce stress, protects lung cells.
Astragalus- adaptogenic herb. Immune strengthening, specific affinity for the lungs, and for those with chronic conditions or depleted immune systems. Best taken as a preventative rather than when sick. If a fever is present, astragalus can extend the duration of the fever, so it is recommended to discontinue its use until the fever is gone.
Boneset- helps fight infections and reducing cytokine response.
Heart, Stress and Anxiety:
One of the most important things we can do to be nourishing our immunity is managing stress levels! When the sympathetic nervous system (survival/panic/fight or flight mode) takes over, it takes a huge toll on our immunity. In addition to all the immune supportive foods and herbs: - Taking time for meditation, walks in nature, and connection with loved ones is so important. - Drink nourishing herbal infusions like red clover, oatstraw, and nettles. - Stress relieving herbs like Motherwort, hawthorn, skullcap, tulsi, passionflower, chamomile, and CBD can be great support for stress and anxiety. Hawthorn is also protective to endothelial cells.
Japanese knotweed, olive leaf, horse chestnut, honeysuckle flower, dan Shen, red root, and kudzu are among other recommendations you can read about in Buhner's protocol here.
Matthew Wood has a free course on his website on the coronavirus worth reading if you're interested in the western herbalism approach. There is a lot of good information there. He discusses the dampness of the disease and use of aromatics and warm, spicy antivirals and antibacterials. (i.e. chai spices, lobelia, angelica, ginger, fire cider, etc)
(And as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your physician)
As Stephen Buhner put it, "The regrettable truth is that we live in a time of increasingly severe disruption of the ecosystems of our planet. As those disruptions worsen, more pathogenic microbial organisms will flow upward out of those disrupted ecological matrices into the human species." Mother Earth is asking us to listen. So let's start.
Sending love, health, and peace to you all.