Preventing Viral Infections and Coronaviruses
With health and wellbeing prevention is best, this is where herbal, naturopathic and ayurvedic medicines excel over conventional medicine. Conventional medicine doesn’t really have anything to offer preventively to keep people well and healthy but as we all know it is fantastic for emergency care.
Don’t wait to get ill and to need that emergency care. Act now and take control of your health.
In ayurveda, herbal and naturopathic medicine the whole person is taken in to consideration, the mind, body and spirit. Great emphasis is also placed upon digestive health and the gut. 70% of our immune system is found in the gut. Scientific research over the last 20 years is validating just how important a healthy and diverse gut microbiome (bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa) is to every single aspect of our health. A recent study reported in msphere, a journal of the American Society of Microbiology, found that molecules produced in the microbiome can inhibit coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2.
The difference between germ theory and terrain theory
Conventional medicine is focussed on the germ theory of disease. Germ theory of disease states that infectious diseases are caused by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoans with the solution being to kill these i.e. antibiotics. Ayurveda, herbal and naturopathic medicine also takes in to consideration the terrain theory of disease. Terrain theory states that our susceptibility to infectious disease comes from the condition of the internal environment within our body (the terrain).
When the body is in homeostasis (the ability to adjust the internal environment within the body to remain in balance), when the immune system and detoxification processes work, the body is able to deal effectively with pathogens and fight off disease.
For example, you have a sick pet goldfish. The fish lives in a dirty terrain and is not thriving. What do you do first? Do you add some medications to the water or do you clean the tank? Medications may prolong the fish’s life but won’t really improve the quality of that life or stop the fish from falling ill again. If the tank is cleaned and kept clean that fish will recover its full health and also be much happier. Think of that tank as your internal environment. A clean tank will improve your quality of life and lessen your chances of degenerative disease or infectious disease.
In fact this is the reason why some people barely notice they have Covid-19 whilst others become very ill or have issues with long covid. It’s all down to the state of that person’s terrain and immune system. An immune system that over reacts and is unable to calm that inflammatory response down will lead to severe outcomes. It’s not a virus killing people but their immune systems inability to function properly.
Ayurveda, herbal and naturopathic medicine also understands the importance of the body- mind- spirit connection and the impact of our external environment on these. Stress, anxiety, supressed emotion and trauma can all dampen down the immune system resulting in physical illness. Modern science is catching up with this ancient wisdom in Epigenetics.
Even if a person wants to only follow conventional medicine, in order to be well and healthy they MUST support their terrain. As outlined above, conventional medicine has little to offer here but luckily all our traditional medicine systems such as Ayurveda, herbal and naturopathic medicine have many ways to help. A healthy terrain is vital for preventative health.
TOP FOUR TIPS FOR PREVENTION
1. Calm the nervous system
It is important to address fear and tackle causes of stress. Fear/anxiety/stress conditions have risen dramatically over the last two years. Fear/anxiety/stress increase inflammation within the body and dampen down the immune system.
TURN OFF THE NEWS
Sitting in front of the news nonstop increases fear and anxiety. If anything important happens you will find out. Today the same amount of information is produced in one day that was produced in the whole year in 2002. Trying to keep up with the constant bombardment on social media is over stimulating to the nervous system. Limit time on social media.
Instead try some breathing exercises (pranayama), yoga, meditation, journaling, abhyanga oil massage and time in nature. Walk in your local park, by a river or just visit a tree close to where you live.
There are many free guided meditations, yoga and pranayama instructions on YouTube. Even just 5 minutes is beneficial in helping to calm the nervous system.
My absolute favourite for calming the nervous system and high vata is abhyanga oil massage. I feel so calm and relaxed every time.
- Place some sesame seed oil in a bowl over hot water to gently warm it
- Gently massage the oil in to your body, include the crown of your head, your ears and the soles of your feet
- Embrace your body with kindness and love
- You can leave the oil on for up to an hour and then rinse off in a warm shower or bath
- If pressed for time just do your crown, ears and soles of the feet
Nature has provided many beneficial plants that have a direct impact on the nervous system. There are plants to lift the spirits, calm anxiety, relax muscles and aid sleep. There are also the fabulous adaptogen herbs that have an impressive ability to improve energy and vitality and enhance resilience to stress. Some of my favourite herbs for calming and supporting the nervous system are Ashwaganda, Passionflower, Lavender, Borage, Tulsi (holy basil), Shisandra and Rhodiola.
- Try a little lavender essential oil in a diffuser (careful with these around pets and small children)
- Make teas with Passionflower or Borage or Tulsi
- Enjoy a relaxing evening drink with ½ teaspoon of Ashwaganda powder in hot milk or a milk alterative
2. Improve gut health and balance your digestive fire (agni)
Our body uses the food we eat to build our immune system. A healthy digestive system is required to extract and absorb all the nutrients from the food we eat. Signs of an unhealthy digestive system are bloating, feeling heavy, excess gas that smells, constipation, diarrhoea, pain and discomfort, not passing a daily stool or smelly stools. 70% of our immune system is in our gut. Small changes can lead to huge improvements. For more difficult or persistent digestive issues please see my Gut Programme or contact me about working 1:1.
Tips to improve digestion & gut health
- Mindful eating. Focus on your food without distractions. No phone, no TV, no magazines
- Eat warm, light and easy to digest foods
- Add digestive herbs and spices such as cumin, fennel, ginger, clove, black pepper
- Don’t overeat! Stop when you are almost full and do not eat again until this meal has digested
- Eliminating inflammation causing foods e.g. processed & packaged foods, foods high in sugar, simple carbohydrates such as bread, pizza, pasta and alcohol
- Sip on warm water throughout the day
- Take a soil based probiotic (humic & fulvic acid) – I use ION*Gut
3. Eliminate what the body does not need
Like the fish above we don’t want to live in a dirty tank. Our body needs to remove metabolic wastes and toxins (ama).
Support the organs of elimination which are overworked removing waste and environmental toxins from the body. These are the lungs, liver, kidneys, skin, lymphatic system and bowel. You will need to work with a practitioner if these are blocked in any way or if you want to do a detox program.
Ways to help these organs is to stay hydrated to flush out wastes, include fibre in your diet, daily movement (walking, dancing, yoga), pranayama breathing exercises for the lungs, sweating, castor oil packs for the liver.
Once again nature has gifted us many herbs that help the body cleanse and remove wastes. Try making teas with dandelion, nettles, yellow dock, burdock, cleavers, red clover, cumin, coriander, and fennel.
Magnesium will also help with constipation.
4. Tackle any deficiencies
I am not a huge fan of taking lots of synthetic nutritional supplements, especially as many aren’t easily absorbed by the body. If the gut is in good health, the diet is low in sugars, simple carbohydrates and full of a variety of vegetables, pulses and small amounts of good quality grass fed meat (if a meat eater) then many nutritional deficiencies can be avoided. Including lots of herbs and spices in your daily diet is also very important. These are powerhouses of anti-oxidants, nutrients and support the healthy functioning of the body and mind in almost every possible way.
Generally today people are over fed but undernourished with poor gut health. Nutrients are not being adequately absorbed which leads to deficiencies.
The supplements that I do recommend that are particularly important for preventative measures and the immune system are below.
During the winter 90% of the U.K. population is deficient in vitamin D, especially people with darker skin
Vitamin D regulates immune system response and is anti-inflammatory. The British Medical Journal rapid response letter lists 40+ studies showing vitamin D decreases likelihood of severe outcomes of CV19
· The best source is exposing uncovered skin to the sun
· Cod liver oil
· Wild caught salmon
· Egg yolks from pasture raised hens
· Wild mushrooms
I recommended Better You vitamin D with K2 liquid spray
This is easy to absorb plus K2 is required to prevent calcium being deposited in parts of the body where it could cause problems
DOSAGE: Under tongue 3 squirts: 10,000 IU daily
Vitamin C is highly protective from heart disease, cancer, dementia and infectious diseases. It kills all microbes (bacteria, viruses and fungi) and is toxic to cancer cells
· Amla berry
· Camu camu
· Dark green veggies
· Citrus fruits
· Pine needle
· Fennel seeds
· Fenugreek seeds
· Alfalfa sprouts
5g of ascorbic acid powder little and often throughout the day – add to your water bottle
At first sign of symptoms start taking 10g per hour until reaching bowel tolerance (diarrhoea)
A deficiency in magnesium interferes with the transfer of nerve pulses causing irritability and nervousness
Alcohol consumption, fluoride, high levels of zinc and vitamin D increase the body’s need for magnesium
· Dairy products
· Leafy greens
· Pumpkin seeds
· Alfalfa sprouts
· Fennel seeds
· Fenugreek seeds
Magnesium citrate 600mg daily with evening meal
What determines the severity of any infection is the loading dose
If the loading dose is large it will replicate very quickly which is why it is important to keep loading dose down.
Iodine is cheap and contact kills all microbes in seconds at 1 part per million.
In 1945, Burnet and Stone found that putting iodine on mice snouts pre-vented the mice from being infected when placed in mists of live influenza virus
· Sea water fish
· Veggies grown near the coast
15% lugol’s iodine
I use 15% lugol’s iodine in a salt pipe. A couple of drops of iodine in the mouth piece. If you can smell it then you have a therapeutic dose. I alternate sniffing between nostrils and also take a couple of inhales in my mouth.
Iodine will coat the sinus, upper airways, pharynx, and chest to massively reduce the loading dose.
Use at first signs of infection.
I use it after I have been on public transport or crowded places.
Iodine can also be used to gargle with
NOTE: Some people can experience allergic reactions to iodine so start with small amounts
Medicinal plants work on the immune system in a variety of ways. Some increase the production of macrophages (cells that digest invading pathogens), some stimulate the production of defence substances (e.g. interferon) which protect non infected cells from viruses, and some can enhance the production of T-cells (immune cells that kill viruses, fungi and some bacteria).
Some of my favourites are Andrographis, Ashwaganda, Astragalus, Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua), Echinacea, Gudduci, Pau d’Arco, reishi & shiitake mushroom, Sage and Shunthi (dry ginger). These can be taken as teas, powders or in tincture form.
Add immune enhancing spices to your food every day such a turmeric, black pepper, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Also add ghee as it enhances the absorption of herbs and spices, it helps balance the digestive fire (agni) and remove toxins as well as being a powerful anti-inflammatory.
A qualified herbalist, such as myself, can blend bespoke formulas for each persons individiual needs. Many herbs work best in combinations with other herbs. Please get in touch if you would like to know more or check out my online shop.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT
DON’T live in fear!
Affirmation: Good health is mine now
Get up 30 minutes earlier than normal and use this extra time to incorporate either yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling or abhyanga oil massage
Eat easy to digest warm food, avoid processed or packaged foods and minimize sugar intake
Use herbs, spices and ghee daily. They are powerful allies packed full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants
Move your body and sweat to help eliminate waste products
Take a soil based probiotic
Supplement with Vitamin D and vitamin C
Use an iodine salt pipe to reduce viral loading dose
Stay connected to friends, family and community
Be full of love, joy and acceptance of other people’s choices
Be the light in the world
BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS