The novel coronavirus (nCoVID-19) is in the news. As there is no vaccine presently, natural methods to enhance immunity and pre-antibiotic/pre-vaccine methods in preventing contraction of infection come into play.
First, don't worry - Prepare! Worry is of the "U" dimension (form/physical). It depletes the form if not used to motivate to prepare. So, stock supplies to be covered for at least two weeks in case you need to stay out of the general population to avoid exposure. We restocked the freezer with frozen goods for instance. Make sure you have adequate supplies of your medicines. Stock up on toiletries. Get over the counter cold and flu symptomatic remedies now before you need them. Make sure you have all that you need at home to weather a two to three week period. If we are fortunate and the virus dies out prior to a pandemic, those items can still be used down the road.
If you have symptoms, stay home! We have gotten used to working through symptoms by easing them with over the counter remedies. We feel that the flu shot will protect us or those whom we encounter when we have the flu. And commerce must go on like the "show". Right?! Now is the time to remember that not all folks can get the flu shot. And it may be a common cold, which is of the coronavirus variety. It just isn't the novel one that is causing so much concern. Even the common cold can lead to deadly consequences for those populations that are at risk. Meaning they have underlying pre-existing conditions that make them susceptible to pneumonia for instance. Thus, if you feel a virus coming on (fatigue, malaise, raised temperature, muscle aches, joint pains, respiratory symptoms, etc.) stay home. Rest, drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, eat healthy, and contact your primary physician to check and see if you should be tested for the flu. I also use ginger tea and lotus root tea to help ease the symptoms and combat the pathogen.
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is still a decent adage to adhere to. To keep your immune system healthy get plenty of rest, eat nutritious foods, and exercise. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching your face. That's hard! Avoid people who show respiratory symptoms. It can also manifest in GI symptoms. So, when using public restrooms, wash your hands and use a clean dry towel to open the bathroom door while leaving. Avoid touching surfaces. If the virus really takes hold in your area, you may want to only go to public venues when necessary. Keep your spirits up! Watch comedies. Video chat with friends and family who uplift your spirit.
My background is first as a therapeutic massage practitioner and since 2002 I have meridian therapy acupuncture tools from which to draw. So, I would recommend acupuncture treatment to support your immune system while you are still healthy. And therapeutic massage is also a good idea. It engages the parasympathetic aspect of the autonomic immune system which aids in healing and immunity. My clinic protects you with universal precautions. So far, our area (St. Louis, MO) is unaffected by this virus. However, we take these precautions during cold and flu season anyway. So we are well practiced in protecting our patrons.
What natural therapies can you utilize when you find yourself ill? While you will still want to follow the suggestions from the CDC and your health care professional, these alternative and adjunct methods can be of help.
I've already mentioned rest, a healthy diet, and exercise. Getting adequate sleep while ill is usually not a problem. Many times it is all you want to do. Eating healthy may be more difficult. So in your preparation phase, cook up some easy to reheat soups chock full of vitamin rich vegetables. Chicken soup has always been a standard for our family. Freeze them for when needed. A box of buckwheat on hand can help. It is easy and quick to prepare. Buckwheat helps warm and soothe. Fruits, like apple or applesauce, can be a great way to add vitamins. Eating doesn't seem intuitive when you have a fever. But you are using a lot of calories with that fever. So eating is needed. Avoid refined sugars as they feed the pathogen.
Simply walk around the inside of the house periodically. The lymph system is moved through muscle movement. Lymph is a major factor in our immune system. Don't overdo. But some light exercise is helpful.
Natural teas can help hydrate and may help the body ward off the infection. Astragalus is an herb that helps spur the immune system. However, in the Asian Medical Philosophy, it may strengthen the pathogen. So, I use astragalus when I am healthy but not when I am ill. Echinacea (as long as you are not allergic to the daisy family) can be helpful in aiding the immune system. It should not be consumed longer than two weeks and only when illness strikes. Green tea helps. Consume it in moderation as it has caffeine. Ginger tea works wonders to ease aches and pains and sore throat while supporting the immune system. Simply grate an inch of fresh ginger and put it in a cup of boiling water which you immediately take to simmer for ten minutes. Let cool to a comfortable drinking temperature. You can add a little honey if needed. But again, go light on the sugar as it feeds the pathogen. My teacher instructed me to eat the ginger pieces as you consume the tea. Lotus Root Tea by Eden Foods is a great tea to have on hand and consume when a respiratory infection occurs. It helps strengthen the lung energy. Ume Concentrate, also by Eden Foods, helps alkalize the system. Pathogens tend to prefer an acid environment. One cup of ume concentrate tea a day can ease stomach distress and other GI symptoms. It is used to ease headache in the Orient.
Foot baths are a form of hydrotherapy that can help spur the immune response and ease symptoms. Placing your feet in comfortably hot water to mid calf while wrapped in a blanket with a towel on your head for twenty minutes provides a false fever that is believed to spark the non specific immune response. Wandering leukocytes that are the body's first line of defense are generated. They are the sentries that police the system. When they find an intruder, they tell the closest lymph node to sound the alarm and begin producing specific to that pathogen antibodies. Interferon, an antiviral protein, is also believed to be released by a fever and in this case a false fever.
Sinus congestion is often relieved, if only temporarily, by a hot foot bath. If you have a fever already, a hot foot bath can be used for a slight fever to raise it to about 100 or so. If you already have a fever of 100, there is no need to raise it further. That is the temperature that is believed to be most therapeutic. So try another method to relieve the sinus congestion. Perhaps a steam bowl to inhale like you see in the old movies. Pour hot water into a bowl. Place your face over the bowl comfortably away from the steam. Place a towel over your head to trap the steam. Breath deeply for ten to twenty minutes. You may want to put some essential oils like eucalyptus or sage in the bowl. Eucalyptus helps open airways. Sage helps fight the virus. Lavender helps calm and aids in sleep. Don't overdo with the essential oils. A few drops will do you.
To reduce a fever that is too high, tofu plasters are used at the forehead, wrists, and abdomen. Simply mix silken tofu with flour (half and half) to form a dough. Add water if needed. And place in these areas. Change often. Or use a slice of firmer tofu on these pulse points. When the tofu turns yellow, turn it over so the white side is next to the skin. When it yellows, change to a new slice.
When I was little, our family physician taught me the thymus pump. I was a sickly kid. He was a D.O. and natural remedies were his first option. He was a student of the human as long as I knew him and he inspired in me that same drive to understand and help. He is one of the reasons I have entered the medical field albeit alternative natural energy medicine. The thymus gland is a major creator of our immune system. It is said to be most active in our childhood. When we reach our teen years, it begins to decline. And by age fifty, it is said to go dormant. As an energy medicine practitioner, I know that even when an organ is removed that the energy that created and vitalized that organ remains. So I still stimulate my thymus gland. You remember Tarzan's yodel? And he would beat his chest like an ape. You don't have to be that dramatic! Use your hand in a fist and beat it gently against your chest with the thumb side against the skin between mid sternum (nipple height) and the notch at the bottom of your throat. This will help stimulate the energy here. That is where the thymus gland resides. It is also where the thymus Chakra is located. That portal is associated with our immune system and its function. It is also suggested that it increases our capacity to love. We can use more expression of love, these days especially. A loving warm hug enhances our immune system. Love enhances our immune system. So beat gently on your upper chest and do it with love. And hug all the healthy folks around you.
In addition to my clinical practice, our business also has distant healing methods that are created through the tradition of Reiki (a Japanese healing energy technique whereby the practitioner learns to gather, store, and direct vital energy). Our Throat Chakra Visual Reiki T-Shirt helps with immunity. Energetically the throat is where pathogens tend to enter, thus a sore throat tends to be the first sign of respiratory pathogen. The shirts are charged personally by Mary S. Wallis, L.Ac. through Reiki hands-on meditation and the Chakra stylized image on the shirt is charged as a visual vehicle to resonate healing energy. The shirt provides a wonderful warm cozy sense to the wearer and shares the love through the image to all whom the wearer encounters. We are also working on a Thymus Chakra T-Shirt to be more specific in supporting the immune system. Check out the rest of the website for more information on the Throat Chakra shirt and stay tuned for the Thymus Chakra shirt.
These age old methods can be of great comfort when dealing with a potential pandemic. And they work for the seasonal respiratory pathogens that we generally see yearly too. Now that you feel more prepared your worry can subside. Breathe deep into that area just under your navel. Relax and respond appropriately. We are a sturdy breed. Only since the early to mid 1900's has there been antibiotic use. And vaccines are even newer. Humans adapt and overcome. We're good at it. Stay vigilant. Maintain your health. And, if you get sick, stay home and take good care of yourself.