CoronaVirus: Herbal protocol and Understanding
By: Alana House- community herbalist
Alright, I’ll admit that I may have gone down a coronavirus wormhole. Each thing I learned lead me down a path of wanting better understanding which lead me down more paths and now I feel like a sparkly eyed epidemiologist wanna be. In general I feel alright about it. I have herbal allies on hand, myself and my family are healthy and vital, and I am informed and nourished- but- I'm a little bit of a prepper (i know, i know) and the potentiality of a quarantine has me thinking about some things.
I wanted to condense and consolidate my knowledge here with the hopes of supporting those who read it with some understanding and herbal helpers to ideally stay well and, if the virus does happen in your world, have some herbs on hand to support your body through the illness and healing process.
I. What is CoronaVirus?
CoronaVirus is a strain of virus’s that cause respiratory distress. There are several strains, this one is COVID-19. SARS (sudden acute respiratory syndrome) is another strain of CoronaVirus that caused an epidemic in 2003 because of unsafe chicken care and handling.
Corona virus’s are highly adaptable and are able to continually make new variants of itself, which is why it has been so hard to treat and contain.
The statistics show that of those who become infected, only 18% experience a severe reaction. The people who are most affected and at risk are the elderly, those with compromised or weakened immune systems, and those with pre-existing lung and lymphatic conditions.
II. How does it affect the body?:
This strain of coronavirus first affects the body by attacking the cilia of the lungs. Cilia are small hair-like organisms in the lungs that move in an upward, wave-like motion. The purpose of the cilia is to keep contaminants out of the lungs by acting like a filter. By attacking and destroying the cilia the virus allows fluid to settle into the lungs, which could cause secondary infections like pneumonia and bronchitis. This attack on the body causes a surge of immune response to that part of the body. An immune response is basically inflammation. The inflammatory response can cause what is called a ‘cytokine storm’ which weakens your body's immune system.
The corona virus also puts an attack on the lymphatic system and kidneys, the immune and hormone regulating system and the body’s filters. It weakens the systems that keep us well.
I wanted to go first into prevention before I went into symptoms. Prevention is the ideal scenario.
V. The Stages of Illness:
1. Immune Boosting and Support:
The ideal scenario is to stay uninfected and well. Herbal support information for Immune Building, Liver Support, and Lymph support will be in the last section.
2. Early Stage:
Okay, you are infected but it has not yet settled into your lungs.
This phase is cold, damp, depressing on body, fatigued. You may have a fever with chills or not sign of fever. You have a dry cough, dry throat, tight chest. Possible nausea.
This is when you want warming remedies.
At this point you really want to do a push on immune boosting and/or lymphatic flushing. (herb info in last section)
3. Acute Stage:
The virus settles into the lungs.
Stop taking immune boosters because you don't want to cause more of an inflammatory response in the body.
Fever has settled in. You want to let the fever do its work to kill off the virus.
A cough without an expectoration of mucus or a deep rattling cough with yellow sputum.
Digestive upset. Bloating/diarrhea/constipation.
Tight chest. Shortness of breath. Coughing when still and asthma like breathing while moving.
At this point you want purgatives, cooling remedies, and expectorants. (herbal info in last section)
4. Severe Stage:
Very labored breathing, shallow breathing, fainting, cold sweaty limbs, ashtmatic breathing.
You want to keep warm but also allow your skin to be exposed to sweat out toxins.
Watch for secondary illness and signs of kidney distress which include: water retention, pain in lower back, and decrease in urine output.
At this point, if you are not able to be treated in a medical setting, you want drying and drawing lung support (in lat section).
5. Recovery Phase:
This is the point where you are slow and easy on yourself. Eat easily digestible food. Take iron building tonics. Hydrate. Don't overdo it. Lung illness, as we all know, is exhausting. Adaptogenic herbs are good for this time to support your body systems in getting back to their normal (in lat section).
VI. Herbal Support:
Instead of offering exact formulas I am going to offer groupings of herbs that you can choose from according to accessibility and preference. You will notice that many of these herbs overlap in sections.
My prefered way to take medicine is in tincture form because it is potent, shelf stable, and you don’t need to take alot.
Vitamin C is an effective immune booster. I recommend finding a brand that doesn't contain sugar. The dosage for immune support is 2000mgs 4 times per day and 500-1000mgs 4 times per day for children ages 4-6.
Link to Cordyceps tincture the I love is (here).
Elder Leaf Decoction Recipe by Steven Buhner:
Elderleaf decoction is a wonderful immune stimulant and can be easily made by you.
Boil 4 ounce of dried elderlef in 2 quarts of water. Boil down by ½. Cool and strain.
Cook down by ½ again. Cool.
Measure and add equal parts 100 proof vodka for preservation.
Dosage is 1-2 tablespoons 2-4 times per day.
I hope that this information is helpful and offers some peace of mind in information. I do not believe that you should get overly upset and worried, worked up or panicked. Viruses come along all of the time. This one is being particularly hyped and sensationalized in the media, and while we should all exercise common sense and caution, living in fear is not good for your health. Be well.
Please feel free to share this as desired. If you would like a PDF version just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. This information is not FDA approved. Please check in with your health care professional about using herbs if you are on medication, pregnant, nursing, or health compromised.
Alana House is a trained herbalist, forager, medicine maker, and plant person.