As COVID-19 spreads across the world, more and more of us will be exposed to it. After getting through my own COVID-19 infection in March/April of 2020 I wanted to offer some supportive resources for others in case you are exposed to it or come down with symptoms.
Before moving into energy medicine I worked in the field of public health for many years on another notable virus, HIV. I have a Master’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where the now infamous Dr. Anthony Fauci was the commencement speaker the year I graduated (2000). I don’t take offering advice lightly and before including these recommendations I reviewed the medical literature to make sure there was solid evidence behind each of these natural supplements, and no known adverse effects related to COVID-19.
If you do begin to feel symptoms of COVID-19 or know that you have been exposed to someone who is sick, don’t let fear take over. Stay positive and know that your body is strong and your immune system can beat this. Many people have recovered and you can too. Boost your immune system with supplements and herbs and plenty of sleep and sun and fresh air. Pay attention to what makes you feel better, and prioritize your health above all else. This is a tricky virus that can escalate quickly. Please also be sure to contact your doctor early on so that you can receive timely care.
In addition to the supplements listed below, I also invite you to experience some meditation and journeying videos I’ve put together specifically for COVID-19. They can help energize your immune system and help you relax and sleep well.
Supplements and Herbs for Immune Support
One important thing I learned in researching these supplements and talking with naturopaths and herbalists, is that your body needs different support at different times as you fend off the virus.
Early Immune Boosters (before you are exposed)
The following supplements are great at the beginning of exposure to the virus and can give your immune system a boost in helping address it early. This doesn’t mean you won’t get the virus at all, but if you do it may last for a shorter period of time and become less serious. (I wish I had taken these supplements before I got sick!)
- Zinc. Multiple studies have found that zinc supplementation at the onset of a cold can significantly decrease its severity. This has been proven for common coronaviruses, SARS, and according to scientists likely holds true with COVID-19. Zinc gluconate lozenges or syrup appear to be most effective. Be sure not to exceed the maximum dosage recommendations on the zinc you buy as taking too much can cause adverse effects. Learn more.
- Vitamin D. This vitamin is critical for overall healthy immune function. More specific to COVID-19 however, there is strong evidence that supplementation can significantly decrease the risk of respiratory infection in people with Vitamin D deficiencies. Similarly, low levels of Vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections. If you’ve ever had Vitamin D deficiency, you will want to supplement with between 1,000 and 3,000 IU per day to ensure your Vitamins D levels are adequate in the time of coronavirus. Again, make sure not to exceed maximum dosage recommendations as there can be side effects. Learn more.
- Vitamin C. While the results of Vitamin C studies are not as conclusive as they are with Vitamin D and Zinc, we know that Vitamin C supports the immune system and may decrease the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. There is enough evidence to support the use of Vitamin C that hospitals in China and now New York have adopted intravenous Vitamin C as part of their regimen for treating COVID-19 patients. If you supplement with Vitamin C you will want to take at least 1500 milligrams a day to help see the positive effects. Learn more.
- Other Supplements. There is some evidence that at the very early stages of COVID-19 exposure Elderberry extract could protect against infection as it contains compounds that decrease the ability of viruses to infect cells. ***An important warning however – as soon as you develop symptoms you should discontinue Elderberry (and any product with Echinacea) as it may provoke the release of cytokines which could in turn contribute to acute respiratory illness.
Mid-Infection Immune Support
Once you start feeling really tired and developing some of the COVID-19 symptoms, you will want to immediately stop taking Elderberry. You can continue taking Vitamin C and Vitamin D, and for a little while, zinc. Your approach should now turn to self-care, making sure that you’re sleeping well and resting and prioritizing your health.
- Drink Lots of Liquids. An abundance of water and other liquids will help ensure you stay hydrated and support your kidneys as they work to flush the virus out of your system. This was the main advice from my doctor when I got sick. There are many wonderful herbal teas, some of which may have additional immune boosting qualities. Eating lots of hot soup and drinking lemon water can also help you stay hydrated and feel better.
- Expectorant. An expectorant helps clear bronchial passages and relieve mucus buildup. This is great for helping keep the lungs clear from a virus that likes to aggressively move into the lungs. Choose an expectorant that contains Guafenesin which has proven to be effective in helping clear the lungs. You can find a pharmaceutical version like Mucinex in the pharmacy or natural versions in health food stores.
- Sunshine and Fresh Air. Being outside in the sun will naturally increase your Vitamin D levels, though supplements will get you quicker results. Both sunshine and fresh air were cited as therapeutic during the H1N1 “Spanish flu” Influenza outbreak of 1918-1919 and were studied extensively afterwards. During the outbreak one open-air camp with a regimen of sunshine and fresh air reduced mortality from the typical 40% seen at standard hospitals to just 13%. So if you start feeling sick, get outside, air out your house, open your windows and let the sun shine in! Learn more. We also know that sunshine is a natural disinfectant and both viruses and bacteria die more quickly when exposed to the sun. NOTE: This is definitely not a fool-proof way to disinfect your house, your masks or any surfaces that have been exposed to the virus – as we still don’t know how long it takes to kill the COVID-19 virus with sunlight. But it can accelerate the process and certainly won’t hurt when done in addition to proper disinfecting practices. Learn more.
- Chinese Herbs. If you know an acupuncturist or herbalist who is trained in Chinese medicine, I highly recommending contacting them for an herbal formula that can best support your needs. Chinese herbs offer subtle yet effective and affordable support for the body’s systems with fewer side effects than most pharmaceutical options. I have taken Chinese herbs on many occasions and always found them helpful in bringing my body back to health. During my COVID-19 infection I started taking a lung-supporting herbal blend after it moved into my lungs. If you don’t have access to a doctor who can give you a custom formula, Cold Snap is a great blend that boosts your immune system and can be found in many health food stores.
- Tapping. This next strategy may not have any evidence behind it, but it seemed to give my immune system a boost and make me feel better afterwards. You can tap your thymus (behind which the infection seems to be concentrated) while repeating “I am healthy”, “My lungs are clear and healthy”, “My body is strong”, “My heart is healthy” and other positively reinforcing statements. Visualize your body as strong and healthy while you repeat these statements and you’ll likely feel better afterwards.
One of the most tricky things about this virus is that you can feel like you’re getting better and then suddenly experience a backslide. So continuing to support your immune system even after you feel better is very important. As you recover, continue to take Vitamins C and D, expectorant, Chinese herbs that boost your immune system, spend time outside and get plenty of sleep.
If you feel yourself falling into fear or have trouble sleeping, try these guided meditations and journeys. They will help you feel empowered and affirmed in your body’s capacity to heal itself.
Please be cautious about having contact with others even after you feel better. Some doctors believe that the 14 day quarantine period is not long enough, as it is still possible to continue shedding the virus (and therefore spreading it to others) after 14 days. Not enough research has been done yet to be sure what the safe quarantine period should be once someone has come down with the virus. My doctor recommended that I wait until I feel 100% better and then wait three more days before having contact with anyone outside my household.
Wishing you vibrant health, calm and positivity as we continue to move forward together through these tumultuous times.