A lot of folks have been emailing and texting me all day with questions about immune support, so I thought I'd just write a big ol' blog post. Please understand this is all based on my education and opinion.This is a VERY basic overview of effective herbs and supplements. I am not diagnosing or prescribing anything, merely sharing information and making recommendations. I hope you find it useful, and feel free to contact me with any questions at all.
Alright, lets get started
First of all, I'm sure you all know basic info about the corona virus we are facing, but to be clear, most of us are likely to contract this flu, and most of us are likely to have a relatively mild or even no symptoms (unless we fall into that vulnerable population category). That being said, it can live symptom free in your body up to a month (at least) which is a very long incubation period, and means if you have it and don't know it, you are contagious and spreading it daily without your knowledge. This is the reason it is such a concern for public health officials. It is likely already here on the island.
So, this is why we want to work diligently to boost our immune systems-- so we can fight off the virus and not be spreading it around. I personally recommend taking a steady stream of immunity herbs and supplements to hopefully kill the virus before symptoms appear and before you have spread it around too much.
I'm not going to go into too much detail, so feel free to contact me if you have specific questions about the actions of certain herbs or supplements. This is just a general recommendation list
this is one of my favorite general immune boosters. It's one of the rare supplements that works well for prevention as well as for active cold and flu. It consists of a blend of Vitamins A,C, B-6, Pantothenic Acid, ZInc, plus Echinacea , bee pollen. This well balanced formula works for most bodies to boost the immune system and kill potential viruses. This supplement also contains thymus which helps to further boost the body's immune system (but it is not vegetarian if this is an issue for you).
For immunity, I tend to take 2 pills a day, and if I am actively sick, I will take 2 pills 3-4 times a day and it greatly reduces the longevity of the cold/flu. This is my go-to travel formula is I am getting on an airplane (or contaminated ferry...)
If you would like to order this formula, you can contact me as I have it in stock.
A lot of folks are asking about zinc. Studies have shown it to cut the symptomatic portion of flu by 20-40%. I like to use reacted zinc because it is the most absorbable in the body, but just check how many mg your product contains. It is used to support the immune system. Acutely, or if you are immune compromised, it is recommended to take about 50 mg daily during flu season, but generally 15-30 mg/day during cold and flu season in sufficient.
If you are interested in purchasing a highly absorbable form of zinc, please contact me as I have it in stock
It is recommended to take at least 1,000 iui of vit D during the winter. When vitamin D levels are low, immunity is low. For acute immune boost, you can take 5,000 (and some say up to 20,000) iui. I highly recommend having your vitamin D levels checked once in a while to be sure your levels are ok (FYI, this can affect bone density levels). There are many types of vitamin D that you can get from liquid to pills. You need some sort of fat to absorb it into your system, so many pills out there are liqui-gels that come with flax oil or something like that. If you choose a product like this, make sure that the oil in the pills is not rancid/spoiled. If your D doesn't come pre-packaged with some sort of fat, be sure to take it with food. Personally, I am not convinced that the expensive fancy brands are any better than what you can get at trader joes, just make sure they are not rancid (break one open and taste/smell it). The main thing is to check how many iui your product is.
it is always important to have healthy gut flora when preparing to or currently fighting off a virus. I personally like a combination of spore based and food based probiotics. I really don't have a brand I blanketly recommend to folks, but sauerkraut and other fermented foods are an excellent source of probiotics!
High doses of vitamin C has been shown to decrease longevity of flu and enhance the immune system. It is recommended to take 500-1,000 mg daily for this purpose. If you plan to take it as a supplement, my understanding is that most vitamin C sold in this country is manufactured in the same chemical plant, so paying more for an expensive supplement is not necessary. You can also get it through foods such as dark berries, citrus (especially the pith/white stringy part), brassicas, and bellpeppers, to name a few.
I have a kids 500mg vit c chewable that my kiddo really likes made by natural factors. I noticed they were out at T&C, but i have it in stock.
HERBS AND HERBAL FORMULAS
As I am only talking about immune support, I won't be talking about actual flu protocols here. Please know that the hospitals in Wuhan (epicenter of the current corona outbreak) are relying on herbal formulas and not western medicine to treat this disease. It has proven to be far more effective. I have most of the herbs included in their protocols in my apothecary. Feel free to contact me if you have flu-like symptoms and would like to take herbs.
This is a highly common and effective herb for viral respiratory flu. I can't recommend taking elderberry enough. However, this herb is cold in nature and needs to be combined with some warming herbs too if you are going to take it daily and not get diarrhea. I like to make an elderberry syrup with elderberries, elecampane (another herb for respiratory health), cinnamon, licorice, ginger, clove, and honey. I then make this into gummies so its easy to consume (and one of my kiddos favorite winter treats) You can find my favorite elixir recipe on my blogif you're interested. If you don't want to make your own, you can always buy tincture or syrup (also called sambucus), but if it doesn't have the warm herbs in it, you might consider taking it with some cinnamon tea, or something like that.
Commuter herbal formula
this is an herbal formula I formulated with another acupuncturist on the island based on the preventative recommendations coming out of wuhan. It is a mix of anti-virals, immune boosters, and herbs targeted at this specific virus. I recommend drinking this tea 3x/week if you are a daily commuter or feel at-risk of exposure. Please contact me if you are interested in this formula.
Comprehensive Immune Support- Host Defense
This is a blend of 17 potent mushroom species. It is the most comprehensive immune support formula in the Host Defense line. It is a Unique combination of mushroom mycelium and fruitbodies, providing a diverse range of constituents to help balance the immune system. This is great in supporting your body's immunity. It is Paul Stamet's brand, and it is all non-gmo/organic.
I have this currently in stock.
Yu Ping Feng San
This is a traditional chinese formula for immunity support. It can be taken daily for immune support or even seasonal allergy prevention. This formula is actually in my commuter herbal formula. It comes in pills which makes it easier to take than the tea.
I have this currently in stock.
there are a few other herbs to know about. Daily Astragalus is what many TCM practitioners consider to be an "herbal flu shot". This one builds in your system, so its recommended to take it daily for the entire flu season.
Also, since this is a respiratory virus, Echinacea daily can be useful as well. It is also highly effective in high doses when you are actively sick, but doses need to be high for this. I have tinctures of both of these available, though I recommend taking echinacea as a powder in a capsule, or a pill, because the taste is pretty intense. Just make sure its a good supplier, because some of the cheaper brands use unnecessary fillers.
so, right now I'm giving my 6 year old kiddo a cocktail throughout the week of immune boosters. it looks something like this
1-2 days/week: 1/2 - 2 coryza in the am
2-3 x/week : 1-2 pills of yu ping feng san in Am
daily: 3-5 elderberry elixer gummies, 1x 500mg vitamin C chewable
2x/week: 1,000 iui vitamin D
low sugar (though today he did have girlscout cookies in his lunch...lol!)
*I am not your child's doctor. Always consult a physician. Also, if its appropriate, kid supplements can always be given in a smoothie or crushed in apple sauce if they wont take pills
There are so many more herbs and protocols, and this is a really basic post with not a lot of detail. I also want to add, try to keep inflammatory foods out of your diet... This means lay low on the sugar, wheat, and unfermented dairy.
Also, WASH YOUR HANDS LIKE THOSE WHO ARE MOST VULNERABLE'S LIVES DEPEND ON IT!!!
Wishing you all health and safety. And as always, please feel free to reach out about any questions you might have, or if you want more resources or information.