can natural medicine help viral infection? traditional remedies you can do at home
These are days most of us alive today have not seen before. Entire countries shutting down due to the uncertainty of a global virus outbreak. Everyone is affected. I want to touch on this with a few different voices I hold inside of myself. Meaning the medical professional voice, as well as the contemplative student of life voice.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective:
As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine the concept of “plague” and “outbreak” is not new. Books have been written, and studied!, about the different types of plagues that have erupted in the past and which herbs and acupuncture techniques have been used. What is interesting about the Coronavirus is that this is new, meaning not exactly like the previous ones. From a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) perspective this is okay and normal. The beauty of this medicine is that it treats the symptoms as well as the root. China is implementing traditional medicine with great success in the treatment of coronavirus patients by making herbal formulations with the current presenting symptoms.
My point in saying this is to remember plant medicine has been successfully used for thousands of years and is essentially the root of pharmaceuticals.
This brings me to share some information I’ve been learning about the virus and what TCM practitioners are doing to treat it. It has been found to be a Cold-Damp disease that can lodge in the lungs and upper respiratory tract.
What does that mean for you as a person out in the world hoping not to get sick? As a practitioner of TCM I am always taking into account how a person metabolizes the water and foods we take in. How many of us have been told to drink 8 glasses of water a day, or water every 15 minutes? Hydration is important, but what’s possibly more important is how our body metabolizes this water. From a TCM perspective, water that is not properly metabolized can accumulate in areas of the body that can cause aggravation, or excess dampness, which we don’t want when dealing with a damp disease.
Ok, without causing more worries, a wonderful and effective way to promote proper water metabolism is to sip warm water throughout the day rather than chug water or drink ice water. Right now is the perfect time to take a break from iced or cold beverages. Another way to stoke the fires of the digestion and promote a strong metabolism to break down foods and promote stellar immunity is to eat warm soups and stews with lots of vegetables. Soups and stews are essentially broken down before the digestion even gets a taste of it. This helps with nutrient assimilation and gives the digestion a break from working so hard. I’ll give some examples of foods below.
Damp Producing Foods:
Whether in the time of global pandemic or just regular cold/flu season it’s a good idea to direct away from damp and mucous producing foods. Dairy, ugh dairy, to dairy or not to dairy, that is the question. Firstly, I’ll say, cold dairy is a definite damp/mucous producing food. Cheese as well. Look at a block of cheese and try to imagine why that would produce mucous…meaning, it’s already pretty thick, rich and congealed. Second think about a milkshake or ice cream, I can practically hear the post milkshake coughing right now. Cereal is a cold food that can produce dampness in the body. Imagine your digestion receiving these cold foods, it not only has to digest it but it has to first warm it up, then break it down. Add in sugar or dairy to this already compromised system and that is where the byproduct of dampness can be produced.
From a TCM perspective, dampness produced in the digestion is easily stored in the lungs. The lungs (upper respiratory tract, sinuses, ears) are often the bearer of mucous production. When these systems become compromised or congested due to excess damp or mucous then viruses can come in and cause infection. I discuss this mechanism in my neti blog.
Raw fruits and vegetables are also considered cold and damp producing foods. Again, your digestion has to go from zero to sixty in order to digest them. During cold/flu/outbreak season it’s a good idea to steam your veggies or add them to soup and to refrain from cold smoothies and raw fruits as much as possible.
Traditional Chinese Medicine…herbal medicine or body work. Here is the link to a report about Traditional Chinese Medicine successfully treating outbreaks in the past. It is an effective resource and I urge you to reach out if you’re at all curious or want to put your ducks in a row should more cases pop-up in your area. TCM herbs are effective at relieving fevers, body aches, breaking up stubborn congestion, relieving cough, the list goes on. We can work together to treat viral infections, and bacterial infections, via Skype so as to keep a distance. This is what doctors in China have been doing for many patients and they are finding great success. I can also discuss at home wellness tips like ginger baths and gua sha/scraping techniques for sore throat and fever. The possibilities are endless and knowledge is essential.
At this point there is a lack of Covid-19 testing and places to go should you fall ill. This is where alternative healing therapies can become game-changers.
Congee, aka Juke, aka rice porridge. From a TCM perspective rice builds qi, which is great to support immunity. Congee typically has a ratio of 1:6 rice to water, making a rice soup essentially. You can add whatever you have on hand. I typically do 1/2 and 1/2 white rice with quinoa, add shitake, sweet potato, green. Sprinkle a little turmeric or curry spice on top. Add ghee, salt, pepper. You can use broth as the liquid if you want, but don’t have to. You can also make a sweeter breakfast congee with raisins and cinnamon. It’s so easy to digest and helps relieve the body of having to work extra hard from complex and rich foods. I usually sprinkle my second recommendation on my congee.
Host Defense makes a mycelium mushroom powder called Stamets 7 that I love. I add it to hot chocolate/cacao or sprinkle it on soups and veggies. They also have a couple of immunity products that I use and have some extra if you want any.
Monolaurin is a supplement derived from coconut that has been shown in studies to break down the outer phospholipid layer surrounding viruses so the immune system can come in and break down the RNA. I take it whenever I feel the beginning inklings of getting sick.
As I watch the world come to a grinding halt I realize this has never happened in the lifetimes of most of us alive today. This is like World War times (i’d imagine, I don’t know I wasn’t there). However, I was speaking with a dear mentor of mine and we were talking about this global pause. We even touched on this idea that everything we consume is done so as a hope that something else will be fixed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But go there, for a moment if you want. Contemplate this thought, everything I ate today was to soothe hunger, or an emotion, or nerves. The last piece of clothing I bought was to fix some sort of lack, or to soothe and feeling, perhaps inadequacy or loneliness. It blew my mind that we really are just humans always looking to be fixed, looking to find a quiet center.
In times like this, the quiet center is triggered af. Total disruption to every plan. Which makes me realize how much I actually plan for the future. But take away that future and how would I spend my time? Who would I be if I wasn’t hustling today, to save for my future? I’ll tell you what, I’d probably write that screenplay I’ve been wanting to write. I’d spend more time in the garden. I’d spend less time on social media and more time reading a book.
This is a disruption to the charging machine of routine. I’m shook. The world is shook. There will be ripple effects by this. This will be hard for sooooooooo many people. The contemplations are deep right now. I can’t even write about them at this point.
The Language of Being and Grounded Assessments:
Through work with Dr. Marianne Calvanese ND in Austin, Texas and Nila Velchoff in NM, I was introduced to a body of work called The Language of Being. This work draws on linguistic structures to create effective language, ground assessments and address concerns. Times like these is when staying grounded and using effective language can be game changers.
As a healthcare practitioner I encourage you to stay rooted in your grounded assessments of your health. Steer clear of fear and hysteria, yet be aware of your felt sense. Get plenty of rest, stay warm, soothe your nerves, take your temperature if you feel warm to ground that assessment. The world is buzzing with worst case scenarios. Eyes open and aware is good, however, we can only take effective action when we have accurate assessments of the current state of our personal experience.
If you have any questions about the Language of Being and how you can use it to address concerns and promote effective action in your life I love talking about it.
Alright friends, know I’m always available to answer any questions you may have. I have been researching what Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners have been finding success with in China and have been studying protocols should we find this integrative medicine is needed here. I can say, it is effective. The treatment of colds/flus/epidemics/infectious disease is an area where TCM herbology excels and has excelled for thousands of years. I am committed to offering my services and guidance to anyone with questions, concerns or symptoms. This includes drop-shipping herbs and supplements directly to your home should you need.
Take care of yourself and each other. <3