As we transition into fall and winter and COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations rise dramatically, it’s clear that the virus isn’t going away any time soon. Although the promise of a vaccine is on the horizon, there’s no certainty as to its long-term effectiveness and many are concerned about the safety of its contents.
I continue to find compelling information that supports the use of natural medicines such as medicinal mushrooms, elderberry, and vitamin D against infections, as well as new facts and insights into how COVID-19 spreads and what populations are most vulnerable and why. All of this supports my belief that there is a great deal we can do to obtain robust health and build our immunological defense against pathogens, and thereby significantly reduce our risk of contracting the virus and the dreaded complications associated with it.
information can spread like wildfire, particularly during times of fear and
uncertainty. Right now, there is misinformation circulating about elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and COVID-19.
Elderberry extract is being falsely accused of triggering a cytokine storm or cytokine release syndrome (CRS), an intense inflammatory response that can be deadly. During the SARS epidemic, CRS caused severe lung damage and was a driving factor in many fatalities.
Long before the advent of modern conventional medicine, traditional
doctors in the East and Western herbalists from the Vitalist and Eclectic
traditions were using plants to help people overcome infectious acute diseases.
The constellation of symptoms that the patient presented with were considered
to be caused by the entrance of pathogenic influences into the body, and
appropriate herbal remedies were administered to alleviate symptoms while
addressing underlying constitutional imbalances.
Over the last few months, headlines around the world have focused on the Ebola epidemic sweeping West Africa. In early August of this year, the World Health Organization defined the outbreak as a Public Health Event of International Concern. Closer to home, the focus has been on the recent outbreak in the US, with calls for special hospitals equipped to handle Ebola and for specialists to recognize and treat the disease as well as to be trained in monitoring travelers at airports.1
I’ve recently had numerous inquiries from people who are concerned about Ebola. It’s important to understand that the possibility of an Ebola epidemic in the United States is extremely low.2 However, because of increasing concern about the disease, I’m presenting information from my research and guidance as far as what I personally would do if I was inadvertently exposed to the virus, or if I actually contracted the disease. Although I have no factual scientific data on any of these recommendations, based on the etiology of Ebola, I would look to the herbal toolbox I have used for decades as my first line of defense.
In my blog post last week I talked about why I’m opposed to flu shots, and outlined a holistic approach to supporting the immune system and increasing the body’s ability to resist pathogens. Because botanical medicine is central to my healing practice, I’d like to address in more detail the herbal protocol I use for protection during the changing seasons.