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Because a certain virus is trying to make a strong comeback, I thought I’d post the latest and best information I have on how to prevent and treat it. This information is drawn from published scientific articles as well as personal clinical experience, and some best guesses.
If I have no signs or symptoms of a cold or flu:
Continue to use the preventative measures outlined by the CDC, such as hand-washing, using hand sanitizer liberally, avoiding unnecessary close contact with others, wearing a mask, and so on. Wear a mask whenever around people in an enclosed space, or when around large groups of people. Please wear a mask properly; if your mask gets contaminated by, for example, putting it down on a restaurant table, don’t put it back on. Some people find it helpful to have a spare clean ziploc bag handy to put their mask in, and to carry a spare mask or two.
In addition, get a good amount of exercise, especially Qi Gong. Eat a nutritious diet. In particular, the following foods have been shown in research to prevent a particular virus you may have heard of from replicating: Pomegranate juice, Green tea, Cranberries. Why not make a habit of partaking of these regularly? Licorice root tea has also been shown to be helpful (assuming you have no high blood pressure; if your blood pressure is high or you’re on any medications for it or your heart, skip the licorice).
Many people find supplements such as Host Defense’s MyCommunity, Cordyceps, and Turkey Tail extracts to be helpful in this context.
Specific herbs: if you’d like to make a preventative herbal tea for yourself, these herbs have been shown to be helpful for today’s viral concerns:
Ginger (fresh), lime or tangerine peel, and He shou wu
I (or you) can make a mix that tastes and feels good to you, and drink regularly. I like to add lime zest (of 1/4 to 1/2 of a lime) to a thumb-sized piece of ginger, and steep in boiled water for 10 minutes. Once the temperature has cooled to below 120 degrees, I add 1-2 tsp of raw honey (note: never give raw honey to children under 1 year of age), stir, and drink. Delicious, refreshing, and fights a certain virus.
Here’s another recipe you or I might enjoy in this context:
Good Qi Tea
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp goji berries (if you have a problem digesting nightshades, use jujube – Chinese red dates – instead, or regular dates if you can’t find those)
1 tbsp dried astragalus (usually you’ll have to find this at an herb store, such as Dandelion Botanicals).
Boil 2 cups of water, steep the herbs for 10 minutes, then strain out the herbs. You can boil another 2 cups of water, and steep the same herbs again, for another 9-10 minutes. Drink throughout the day.
If I start noticing a sign of a cold or flu, such as a scratchy throat or sore throat, fever, fatigue, sinus pressure, etc., as soon as I sense any of that, I do all of the following:
Take licorice root tincture, 1/2 tsp of the liquid, 3-6 times per day, but avoid if I have hypertension or are pregnant. I take 2 hours away from any medications. I do not take for more than two weeks at a time.
I drink some cinnamon-ginger-date tea:
Grated or finely chopped fresh ginger, an amount about four times the size of your thumb (note: it must be fresh to be effective for this purpose)
Whole cinnamon, the same volume as the ginger, or about 1/10th the volume ground cinnamon
A handful of dates
A teaspoon of dried licorice root (omit if you have high blood pressure)
6 cups of water
Warning: do not drink strong ginger tea if you are pregnant, as it can cause a miscarriage.
Boil the water, and add the cinnamon and licorice. Simmer for 20 minutes, covered.
Take it off the heat, and add the ginger and the dates. Steep the mixture for 2-3 hours in a covered container (it must be covered to keep the essential oils of the ginger in the tea).
If you like, at the end of the 2-3 hours you can add one tablespoon honey, the juice of one-quarter of a lime, and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Here’s the critical part: while drinking the tea and for some time afterwards, I wrap myself up in blankets and try to bring on a sweat. If I sweat for a good 20-30 minutes, I will feel much better quite quickly. Once I’ve sweated, I don’t need this particular tea anymore.
If after a half-hour of being wrapped up I haven’t brought on a sweat, I give up and just drink some water or some of the various drinks I’ve mentioned. After 90 minutes or so, I wrap myself up, and try again with another cup of the cinnamon-ginger tea. Repeat until a good sweat comes. After the sweat, this tea is no longer needed, and I move on to other methods such as the shotgun formula below.
I may try the shotgun flu formula, 3-6 times a day (I do not take if I’m pregnant, and take 2 hours away from any medications).
Shotgun Herb Formula
This recipe expels wind, heat, and cold from the surface of the body. Many of my patients report that when they take it at the first sign of a cold or flu, they avoid getting sick.
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed (not chopped)
2 teaspoons fresh peppermint
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon of lemon or lime zest
Half of a small cayenne pepper, seeds removed, chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dry powder)
1/2 to 1 cup water
Put everything in the blender and mix well.
Drink carefully, as it’s quite strong. Best results are obtained taking several doses, 2-4 hours apart, preferably after a meal or snack.
Those remedies, along with the product Airborne, are often good at the first stage of the illness. I personally would also take:
(1) Quercetin, 2 capsules every 4 hours
(2) If blood pressure is ok, 1 ml licorice root tincture 2-3x/day
(3) Pomegranate juice, 1/2 cup 2x/day
(4) Green tea, 1 cup 3x/day
(5) Cranberry juice, 1/2 cup 2x/day
I also try to massage my chest and back, or at least gently move them around, to keep fluids moving and keep them from getting stuck.
If the illness progresses further to a nausea or productive cough stage (where you’re coughing up phlegm), other herbs are required. This gets complicated, and where consulting a knowledgeable practitioner is necessary.
Please ask if you have questions.
Best of luck to us all this summer! As always, let’s take care of each other.