Holistic and herbal approach to prevention and treatment
Covid19 has been around for pretty much 2 years now, and since 80% of deaths from this disease in the UK this week (Dev 2021) have been in fully vaccinated people, it is clear that more treatment is needed than the ‘stay at home and take paracetamol then if you get really ill go to hospital’ advice from the government.
I believe that if you know what to do at home, and are prepared, you will be more able to ride out the illness at home in a good way. This would reduce people needing to go to hospital to just those who are truly becoming seriously ill. Bear in mind that you can really feel very very awful with these type of illnesses, without being in any actual danger. It is a good time to dig in to your inner resources.
Prevention comes first
People who are holistically minded, or want to become so, will know that for any disease, prevention is the first step. Prevention of serious illness from covid19 means, logically, doing all you can to build up your immune system, as well as caring for your lungs and circulation. In time I will post advice about how to do this on this site, meanwhile you can find a lot of good advice in my book Deeply Holistic.
The ideal thing is to make sure that your nutrient status is good by eating as well as you are able with plenty of fresh vegetables and whole foods. Even if your diet is excellent, for your immune system you especially need to make sure that your body is very well stocked with Vitamins C, D3, and Zinc. With deficiencies in any of these, you will be more susceptible to Covid and other respiratory infections. To take the wonderfully protective high doses of D3 you also need some K2 to make sure your calcium balance is not upset (without K2, high D3 leads to absorption of calcium from the bones into the blood, which can then be deposited elsewhere causing problems. K2 is found in organ meats and fermented foods like sauerkraut, and is also made by the gut bacteria). I advise also taking a good quality multivitamin and vitamin. If you need advice where to buy, please ask me. I offer free short consultations to advise on what nutrients are best for you.
You may have heard of the ‘gut biome’. This is a garden of bacteria living in your small and large bowel. Very many people in our modern world have a disrupted, unhealthy biome (due to antibiotic use, diets low in soluble fibre and high in sugar, which feeds unhealthy microbes so allows them to proliferate). So, it can be helpful to take a ‘probiotic’ supplement as well as the vitamins and vitamins.
Also, if you are overweight, this is a very good time to tackle that issue as deaths from covid19 are WAY higher in people who are carrying too much weight. In the UK, a report flags that out of 10,465 patients critically ill with confirmed COVID-19, 73.7% were living with overweight or obesity.
Care for your lungs by avoiding things that are harmful to them as much as you can, like smoking. If you live in a town or city which always have varying degrees of air pollution, get an ioniser or air purifier if you can. I also recommend some good breathing exercises which will strengthen your lungs and increase their capacity, as well as help you to live in a more relaxed way. You might also like to try Wim Hoff breathing which is extremely beneficial to strengthen the lungs, nourish the blood and improve immunity and pretty much everything else in your body.
IF YOU HAVE LUNG DISEASE OR ANY KIND OF COMPROMISED IMMUNITY, OR ARE AN ELDER NOT IN FULL HEALTH, AND WANT TO APPROACH THINGS HOLISTICALLY, PLEASE CONSULT YOU LOCAL HERBALIST AND/OR HOMEOPATH.
Find a Herbalist in the UK
Find a Homeopath UK
Find a Herbalist in the USA
I am available for online consultations if you don’t have a local practitioner.
IF YOU HAVE A FEVER OF OVER 40/104 OR HIGHER ALSO TAKE ADVICE. HAVING SAID THAT, DON’T PANIC, FEVER IS YOUR FRIEND, THERE TO MAKE THE VIRUS LEAVE. IT LIKES YOUR NORMAL BODY TEMPERATURE, TURNING UP THE HEAT IS YOUR BODY’S WAY TO KICK IT OUT. SEE MORE ON FEVER BELOW.
Remember to TAKE SPECIFIC ADVICE FROM A HERBALIST IF YOU HAVE A LUNG PROBLEM OR IMMUNE PROBLEM, OR ARE VERY OLD or young – though parents can relax and remember that Covid19 is not dangerous to healthy young ones, they will be over it very quickly and may often be without symptoms. You need to look after yourself rather than worry about them – try to have people lined up to look after them in case you are too ill to do it, and to allow you the time you need to rest through and after the illness. Flu is a different matter, it can be very nasty for young ones as well as elders.
Pay relaxed attention to your health and how you are feeling so that you don’t miss the first signs of illness– you will be infectious therefore a danger to others before your fever starts. You may feel weaker or more tired than usual, cold, a bit more achey than usual, be sneezing more, have a scratchy throat and a bit of a dry cough. You may just notice feeling out of sorts, not quite yourself, for no discernible reason.
Unlike a cold, it is common in flu and covid19 not to have a sore throat and runny nose as early sign (though you may have these). Different variants of viruses present slightly differently, and also affect each individual in a variety of ways). The goal is to be aware of how you feel, not fearfully obsessing. In terms of protecting vulnerable people, really its not a great idea to bring them even a common cold. But people need each other, so being totally isolated is extremely bad for health. Learning to notice details about your state of health and act accordingly is better than simply keeping away all the time.
STAY AT HOME AND REST If you suspect you are ill. This applies to any viral illness, not just because of the self-isolation rules. Your body is already working hard to figure out the virus. Don’t go crazy overdoing it with all the jobs you haven’t had time for …. REST is an essential activity to allow your body to mount the best immune response. The worst thing you can do is try to ‘exercise it out’.
FOLLOW DR SARAH MYHILL’S VITAMIN C AND IODINE APPROACH TO FIGHTING INFECTION
Learn to check the pulse , because this can be a very useful indicator in feverish illness, during which it is generally faster. Find the pulse by feeling using your fingers, on the inside of the wrist, on the side of the thumb. Don’t press too soft or too hard. Too soft and you don’t feel anything. Too hard and you might not eel a weak or superficial pulse. Count the pulse for a full minute. Make sure you know your and your family’s usual resting pulse in health. Before the fever fully comes on, but you have started to feel a bit off, the pulse is usually weaker than normal. When the fever is rising, the pulse feels faster, steady and on the surface.
Home treatment coronavirus or influenza with herbs and nutrients
Once you fall ill, you will find it much harder to organise what you need. Sort out a good home treatment kit in advance
you will need
- A thermometer – the ones that go in your ear are best
- Ideally, someone who can make your tea and remedies – have the remedies very well organised and to hand, with notes written so you and or your helper know what you are doing
- A large thermos flask for your teas plus plenty of water bottles. Staying hydrated is crucial
- Vitamin C. Take at least 1-2 g daily as prevention, and as much as your bowels can tolerate when ill. If you can, as well as vitamin C powder, get iodine 15% and a salt pipe and follow Dr Sarah Myhill’s infection fighting protocol described here
- Vitamin D3 take 4000 ius daily. Pretty much EVERYONE in the northern hemisphere is deficient these days, due to our indoor lifestyles and lack of sunlight. Brown and black skinned people are particularly susceptible, this is the reason proportionally more dark skinned ethnic minorities have died from covid19. It is a SCANDAL that this issue has not been widely advertised. Ask me for a good brand recommendation if you need one.
- You will also need to take some k2, 100- 200ius daily. Check your mulitvitamins if you you are taking any, as they may have this important vitamin in. K2 is needed if you are taking high D3 because without it your calcium metabolism can get upset. (D3 increases blood calcium levels, K2 keeps your calcium locked in your bones where you want it)
- Zinc, wholefood or ‘food state’ – take 50g daily as prevention, twice daily whilst ill. Zinc has the effect of supporting your immune system, and is also directly antiviral
- Good strong probiotics taken daily
- Quercitin is a very useful nutrient anti-inflammatory found to be useful in covid19 and many other inflammatory conditions
- 500g of basic cold and flu tea: Elderflower, yarrow and peppermint, equal parts of each. Make the tea with a generous handful of mix in a litre of water, drink throughout day.
- Specifically for Covid19, the herbs Artemesia annua, dandelion leaf and Scutellaria baicallensis (baical skullcap) can be added to the basic tea. Pine needle tea also helpful and pleasant.
- Cayenne pepper add a tsp to your tea if you can tolerate the hot taste for prevention or in the first stage of fever (see below)
- 2-3 bulbs of garlic crushed and mixed with honey. It is not antiviral, but is an excellent antibacterial for the lungs and will help prevent secondary bacterial infections
- Echinacea tincture, or Scutellaria baicalensis plus elderberry syrup HIGH DOSES FOR 10 DAYS WHEN ILL IS BEST. For prevention just take elderberries (or the vitamin C regime and keep your herbs in case of illness) – save the echinacea and baical and take 5 ml every 2 hours. For Covid, use ARTEMESIA ANNUA in place of elderberries (I can supply a good herbal tincture for Covid19 to have in the cupboard in case)
- Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) 250g tea or 500ml tincture – a traditional fever herb especially if the fever refuses to break (breaking means, you suddenly get sweaty then the fever drops). So, the skin is hot and dry, the pulse is fast and full and the bones ache – make a decoction – simmer a handful of the herb in 1 litre water and drink freely while warm. If it makes you vomit, don’t worry – vomiting was always known as a way the body clears phlegm, which helps to protect against pneumonia
- Vervain 200g tea is good to take for headaches and pain, and especially good after the fever is passing to help you recover
- Black Cumin – Nigella sativa. Grind the seeds and mix with honey in a jar. Take 1 tsp daily as prevention, 2 daily when ill. An Iranian study found this helpful to reduce severe outcomes in Covid19. Nigella is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and supportive to many organs.
- Lung support herbs Elecampane, Mullein, White Horehound, liquorice – get a bottle or two of good herbal cough elixir, ideally from your favorite herbalist or from a shop or online. my own mix can be taken 1 tsp in hot water or herb tea every 2 hours.
- If you can tolerate it, take a low dose aspirin daily with covid to help prevent against clots. (anecdotal evidence suggests this might help also with clots formed by vaccination). If you want a herbal equivalent, go for willow bark or meadowsweet. Make sure you only do this if you are able to tolerate salicylates.
High doses of herbs are most effective for acute conditions
Which means you need to take the herbs every 2 hours day and night – you can make up the teas in large flasks for the day and add tinctures to that, have by your bed so you can easily keep drinking it. Try to line up people to make it for you in case of need. If you are alone with no one to care for you, make sure everything is organised/measured up etc so you can most easily make up your teas, or even make up a large batch of teas early on in the illness. They keep for 3 days, and it’s better to have them cold but not at all (in case you have time when you are too ill to boil the kettle).
There is a lot of evidence that some long used drugs are highly effective used for covid19 if begun early on in the illness (or indeed taken as prophylaxis). The mainstream media has misreported these, and for some reason the regulatory bodies in charge of medicine have disregarded them. Some say this is because many high up authorities in USA , UK and Europe have financial interests in pharmaceutical companies, who wanted to push the new versions of ‘vaccines’ rather than repurpose cheap medicines which are off-patent. Whatever it is, in the UK doctors don’t prescribe ivermectin, you can find out about a campaign to change this here. The other long-used antimalarial drug of great promise for helping covid19 is hydroxychloroquine (very widely used worldwide as an anti-malarial drug and in many autoimmune conditions). The treatment protocols are available online. Both ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are anti-parasite drugs, it is interesting to me that one herb that has been found to be super helpful in supporting full recovery from Covid19 is Artemesia annua, sweet wormwood (sometimes called Chinese wormwood), which has remarkable anti-malarial properties.
If you are in USA or other country where these drugs are available, and you are older or in some way more vulnerable to serious illness from covid19, you might like to try and get the drug ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine and have it in stock to take in case of illness. These drugs work really well in combination with the vitamins and zinc, and TAKEN VERY EARLY ON IN THE ILLNESS when they have a great capacity to reduce the likelihood of serious illness developing. Some doctors also advise a prevention protocol of regular spaced out doses. For getting help in the USA, Dr Peter McCullough is a good contact.
Fever is NOT the disease, it is the healing response. Avoid suppressing it as long as the temperature is not over 40C / 104F – the fever is your body killing off the virus. Normal oral temperature varies between 36-37C usually rising during the day. Some people are generally hotter or colder – so take your temperature while you are well to find out your normal.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER to stay fully hydrated. Hot is best, herbal teas (see above) are ideal. When you have a fever, even if you aren’t sweating you will be losing fluids and dehydrating. If you have any question that you may be dehydrated, make and take rehydration drink: https://youtu.be/D6GmXVvg90M 1 litre water, 1 tsp salt, 8tsp sugar, juice of lemon –
NOTE: DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANY SUGAR WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THIS REHYDRATION DRINK IF IT IS NEEDED/INDICATED. SUGAR LOWERS IMMUNITY.
FAST – ‘feed a cold, starve a fever’ – temperatures above 37.5 shut down digestion. Eating during fevers increases discomfort and prolongs the fever.
– First stage – you feel weak, tired after minimal exercise, look pale, ‘fluish’ feelings. Temperature NORMAL or can be 1 degree lower than normal. Skin feels cool, pulse usually weak. STAY WARM, WRAP UP WELL, AVOID EXERCISE. Drink cold and flu tea with garlic, ginger, cayenne and honey if you like. Drink a cup or more every 2 hours. Take echinacea or baical with elderberry syrup or rob. START THE TREATMENT LEVEL OF VITIMIN C/IODINE PROTOCOL
– Second stage -feeling sleepy, skin hot and dry, pulse steady and on the surface. Don’t eat, and keep room well aired. Keep drinking herb teas frequently. If temperature rises to 40 or over, sponge body using LUKEWARM/TEPID water with a few drops of lavender or rosemary oil in it, and or a tbs of cider vinegar – NEVER USE ICED OR VERY COLD WATER AS IT CLOSES THE PORES AND CAN EVEN INCREASE THE TEMPERATURE. Take BONESET with elderberry every 2 hours. Increase the garlic and continue cold and flu tea with vervain added.
– Third stage – this is sweating, which lowers the temperature. Prolonged sweating is debilitating, take advice. Usually fevers go between second and third stages a few times. Keep fluid intake up and stay off food until the temperature goes below 37.5C/99.5
LOOK OUT FOR DANGER
Check temperature, pulse and breathing rate regularly – respiratory rate, is how many breathes per minute. This is especially important for people with heart problems, lung problems, or the very old and in children (remembering that children are much less at risk from covid19, though ordinary seasonal flu can be fatal to very young ones). A RISING RESPIRATORY RATE CAN BE AN EARLY SIGN OF PNEUMONIA.
An old-fashioned herbal physician’s technique was to check the ratio of pulse to respiration – in a healthy person it is 4:1. If the respiratory rate edges up, it indicates that disease is moving deeper into the lungs. If the pulse is edging up, it indicates that disease is moving into the blood. This technique requires regular monitoring, and works well with children and healthy adults, but is harder to apply for people with underlying heart or lung disease.
AIR YOUR ROOMS in your home every day a couple of times. I am also using an essential oil diffuser and adding basil oil, Ravensara, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemongrass.
Remind yourself frequently that YOUR BODY IS AMAZING AND KNOWS JUST WHAT TO DO to bring you back to health. Fear will not help you, relaxing as much as possible will. That said, if in doubt call help in.
Recovery and convalescence
Even after the fever, you are still unwell – and if you overdo it you can make yourself ill again. Pneumonia can come about from not resting enough and allowing enough recovery time. Allow at least as long in recovery time as you had the fever for. Now you must eat and build yourself up – not sugar and carbs though, except a little quality dark chocolate (this is low in sugar). You need protein (you will have lost some muscle during your illness) – if vegetarian, eat very soft, long cooked brown rice and mung beans. If not veggie, chicken soup is ideal (homemade, from boiling a long time older birds including the bones. Make it up and freeze in portion sized amounts) or red meat.
Iron and zinc are used up in fever, so you may need a supplement. Ask me if you want recommendations.
If the season allows it, make nettle and dandelion soup which will provide many nutrients. (the springtime)
Return to exercise very gradually. Drink sage and vervain teas. Ginseng, liquorice, ashwagandha, milk vetch (astragalus), blackcurrent buds and nettles can be helpful, but better still, consult your herbalist and go get some plant spirit medicine, acupuncture, or other balancing holistic treatment. Remember it can take a long time to get fully over a hefty respiratory infection, and the better you look after yourself the quicker and more certain your recovery – pushing yourself too soon is a good way to make sure you will be ill for a long time with post-viral fatigue, ‘long covid’ and so on.
With grateful thanks to my teacher, the late Christopher Hedley, Non Shaw and the excellent Powys doctor Dr Sarah Myhill as well as all my other teachers over the decades.