What can Herbal Medicine Offer Us During COVID-19?
I, like so many herbalists in the past month, have been inundated with inquiries about herbs that might prevent COVID-19 or help with recovery from COVID -19. It is a time when herbal medicine, and other alternative therapies could really shine. The most important and correct thing I can say right now, to answer ‘can herbs help with any stage of COVID -19’? is ‘We don’t know yet’.
Herbs have much to offer the immune system for support, nourishment in general, but please don’t rush out to buy anything that claims to help or cure this virus. I have not seen any products offering such promises. (yet).
Herbs have so much to offer for optimizing our health. It is a great time use herbs to address any health concerns that may contribute to a weakened or susceptible immune system. If you aren’t sleeping well, try some herbs for deep relaxation and sleep. If you are super stressed out (and who isn’t these days?), it is a great time to take herbs for nourishing our nervous system and adrenal glands. If you have asthma or chronic lung illnesses, it is a great time to take herbs to nourish your respiratory system. Lack of sleep, stress, respiratory conditions can weaken the immune system. (as well as other issues)
There are many herbs to consider as adjuncts to a healthy immune system. For stress, consider oatstraw or oat tops, lemon balm, motherwort, lavender, chamomile, to name a few. With the exception of motherwort, you can mix and match these in a tea. Motherwort tastes terrible and is easier to take as a tincture.
For better sleep, try some of the herbs above and add catnip, or hops (tastes terrible) or passionflower.
Many herbs used in Chinese Medicine for building and nourishing the immune system can improve overall health. None of these have been shown to have a direct effect on COVID 19. Chinese Medicine uses a completely different approach and vocabulary, which I will be talking more about in my upcoming webinars, and I will say a bit more about below. For generally nourishing the immune system, my favorite chinese herbs are astragalus, codonopsis, prince seng, licorice, ligustrum. Chinese mushrooms such as reishi are also favorites of mine for immune balancing; they have special properties which can also help with auto-immune illnesses.
Note: Astragalus should not be used with a fever, and avoid licorice if you have high blood pressure.
A little about Chinese medicine
If you have a cough, Chinese medicine does not ask if it is strep throat, or a common cold. Chinese medicine asks “is it a dry cough or a wet cough’?, “Is the person sweaty and red-faced, or pale?” “Are they short of breath”? Questions like this. Chinese medicine looks at the energetics of the person, and of the symptoms. If someone has a dry cough, moistening herbs are useful, such as licorice or slippery elm bark; with a wet cough you’d want to dry it up with something like sage. Chinese medicine looks at all illnesses and symptoms this way. And the ‘moistening or drying herbs’ is just the tip of the iceberg in using this system. I could go on and on and on about Chinese medicine. I love it. What is key here, is to look at the individual person, not the name of the illness, and look at the symptoms. Many herbalists use a blend of Chinese medicine and Western herbal medicine, which I will talk about in a future article.
I have talked about a lot of different herbs in this article. It can be hard to know where to start and where to buy them. I would be happy to talk to you more-please go to the homepage to schedule a 20 minute free consultation. It is truly my passion to help people improve their health naturally. Herbal medicine has so much to offer us!