Covid-19 Herbs: Covid-19 has changed the world quickly, and in ways, we couldn’t imagine. This information is using herbs most people can find easily in their community or yards. Many herbs exist but if they are out of stock or have to be shipped that in itself can be problematic. These Covid-19 Herbal options will hopefully offer you some resources.
When this virus was not even in the US yet, I remember feeling that this would be bad. It was something new, presenting new challenges. I even did a big herb and supply shop for myself and my children. Of course, my kids did think I was being a little reactionary, but my husband is kind of used to my flutters.
I have been hesitant to even open my mouth about this issue. As you can imagine, with thousands of students, I have been asked a lot. I just don’t know. I don’t want to leave people feeling misled, so I have done my best to address it the best way I know-how.
I tend to approach things from a practical approach because we have a lack of information, lack of pathological data, and studies.
So, when students have called seeking support and information, I can hear it in their voice, the fear, disconnection and want a plan of action, I know I have to offer a practical and honest approach.
Some of my suggestions are:
- Wash your hands. Follow the guidelines for handwashing from the CDC. Using regular bar soap is fine. You don’t need special soaps. Have soap and clean towels at all sinks. It would be best if you washed your hands every single time you come into the house.
- Clean under your fingernails.
- You can make hand sanitizer. Use over 91% (not proof) alcohol and aloe vera, ratios 2/3 alcohol to 1/2 aloe. You can add a few drops of essential oils. This should NOT replace hand washing.
- Do not touch your face while out. Keep your hands away from your face.
- Clean all surfaces. At least once a day, you need to wash down light switches, doorknobs, toilets, faucets, tabletops, cabinet pulls, etc.. make sure if you have little ones, you wipe lower. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.html
- Coming home? Remove shoes outside, walk to the washing machine, disrobe, and hit the shower. Clean all touched surfaces upon exiting the shower. Overkill? Maybe but my husband and I are doing this. We don’t want to infect anyone else or have it in our house to infect us. We are not sure of reinfection issues, etc..
- Have to go out? Make sure you practice social distancing and use hand sanitizer.
- Remember, although theories about at risks ages have been posted, we are now finding that all age groups are at risk, so act as though you are.
- Get help if you need it. Use tel-med or call your doctor or department of health, before you walk into an emergency room, potentially infecting more people. If you have the following, get help. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
Here are the CDC Guidelines
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
Building immunity and encouraging the release of happy hormones is essential at times like these.
- Laugh- Watch funny movies, listen to comedy, talk to that person that makes you laugh (over the phone, of course, social distancing).
- Dance- Dance in your living room with your kids, partner, dog, get your body moving to your favorite music. Studies show moderate to vigorous exercise can reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections, including the common cold. Dance also helps to relieve stress.
- Sing- sing while you dance or just sing. Scientists found concentrations of immunoglobin A – proteins in the immune system, which function as antibodies – and hydrocortisone, an anti-stress hormone, raised significantly while singing.
- Exercise helps build immunity.
- Get some SUN. Our bodies absorb vitamin D from the sun. Try to spend at least 30 minutes outside in the sun. You can also eat fortified foods or take a supplement, but the sunshine will also affect your mood and outlook.
- Get some fresh air, air out your house. Talk a walk, have a cup of tea on the back deck, read under a tree. Fresh air will help you feel better and help keep your mood up.
- Have sex- Sex can help boosts the body’s ability to make protective antibodies against bacteria, viruses, and other germs that produce common illnesses.
- Paint, write, use clay, making art is a great way to destress and work through emotions.
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
- Eat the best foods you can. Do the best you can for your families.
- Call and connect with the people you love.
- Remember we are all in this together. Be kind to yourself and each other.
Eat vitamin and mineral-rich foods.
Citrus foods, rich in vitamin C.
Rosehip tea, even more, abundant in vitamin C than citrus fruits.
Zinc-rich foods, like pumpkin seeds, some meats, and legumes.
Eat food like leeks, shallots, garlic, and onions; these are rich in sulfur compounds, which can have helpful antiviral actions.
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. Add fresh herbs and mushrooms to your cooking.
Now is a great time to look into cleaner eating for the whole family.
If your family is running low on supplies or have an odd assortment of supplies, look up Depression-Era recipes for some tips and ideas.
Here is a list of regional food banks. https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank
Herbs for Health
The following are helpful herbs to have on hand for this whole pandemic situation. They are supportive of the variety of issues that occur during “shelter in place” scenarios. These herbs are not going to be hard to find for most; they will be potentially found at local markets in one form or another. I will also list herbs that can be found in most grocery store tea sections. In these times, we may not have access to our full supplies or our families, many not.
Avena Sativa- Oats work to nourish our nervous systems. They are also rich in minerals and some vitamins. Oats can help with stress, anxiety, and constipation. You can use the milk tops, oatmeal, or the oat straw, using what you have on hand is a great option. You can purchase the milky tops or use oatmeal. Keep it simple and easy for yourself. You can even use oatmeal from the grocery store, try to get the best quality you can for your budget. Oats are excellent for topical issues like chickenpox, eczema, nervous system issues, restlessness and feelings of fidgetiness, or nervous/anxious movements. Kids can eat oats or take in tea form, and it can be used in a bath, as a wash or compress. It is versatile and easy to find.
Garlic- Garlic has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Oregano, Basil, Sage, Thyme-are all rich in antiviral properties. Italian food herbs, add them to all of your foods. Drink in teas.
Ginger- had impressive antiviral activity and can be helpful for nausea and sour stomach.
Holy Basil/Tulsi tea- this can be found usually in a few varieties, with rose petal, for example. This can help with stress levels. Tulsi has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals, and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion, ischemia, physical restraint, and exposure to cold and excessive noise. Tulsi has also been shown to counter metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function and through its anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties. (Cohen, Marc Maurice. “Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons.” Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine vol. 5,4 (2014): 251-9. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.146554)
Dandelion- if you don’t have the leaves fresh in your yard, many supermarkets carry them fresh or frozen. Dandelion is a rich source of nutrients. The leaves and roots contain Vitamins (like A, C, K, and B-vitamins) as well as minerals (including magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, and choline).
Peppermint tea- This can help with settling the stomach and sore throat.
Sage and Thyme tea- This is an excellent combination for a sore throat. You can use it as a gargle also.
Lemon Balm- this can be used as an infusion, it is potent antiviral and found fresh at many markets. Lemon balm is exceptionally suitable for children. The herb has antiviral properties, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, can help to strengthen the neurological system, reduces pain, helps with digestive issues, and assist with sleep issues. Lemon Balm is what is known as gentle power. It is a powerful herb, but also one of the gentlest. Kids love the way it tastes and smells, and it blends well with the first two herbs. This is an excellent herb for kids for so many reasons.
Reishi Tea- Studies have found reishi works to regulate the immune system, calming an overstimulated immune response, while improving lessened immune function. It can elicit a sense of well-being and lessen anxiety.
Rosehip tea- This tea is rich in antioxidants, one of the richest sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells called lymphocytes, which protect the body against infection. Vitamin C has also been found to enhance the function of lymphocytes and help the skin to maintain its protective barrier against pathogens.
Hibiscus Tea- Rich in vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.
Parsley- You can find this fresh at many supermarkets. Parsley has diuretic, carminative, antipyretic, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. You can eat fresh, add to salads and smoothies, added to cooked foods or taken as a tea.
Stinging Nettle or Nettles (Urtica Dioica) Nettles can be eaten in foods, used in teas, syrups, and are rich in rich in iron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, boron, strontium. They also contain vitamins – A, C, K, and B vitamins. Nettles has many nutritional benefits. Still, it can also work to fortify when a child is starting to get a cold or flu, has stressed adrenals, PMS issues, wanting clearer skin, has seasonal allergies, or suffering from diarrhea.
Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) This herb is rich in many mineral contents such as iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc, magnesium, and alpha-hydroxy acid and packed with antioxidants. This herb is fantastic for children who stress out or can’t seem to hold up to stressors. This tea tastes lovely can be used to flavor blends, and for children can aid in headaches, sleep issues, colic, and anxiety linked with stress.
Chai tea blends- full of great herbs, many of great expectorants, often used for sore throats and coughs. Don’t use Chai tea blends that are sweetened.
Citrus Peels- these can be made into nourishing teas.
Herbs for Symptoms
Sore Throat- Sage and thyme tea, sip, or use as a gargle. Onion and honey syrups, lozenges, hard candy, ginger tea, marshmallow root tea.
Fever- Catnip or yarrow.
Cough- Marshmallow root tea, thyme tea, chai tea, pine needle tea, chickweed tea (you can eat chickweed in salads), linden, and mullein.
Some stimulating expectorants include:
• Elecampane (Inula helenium)
• Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
• Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
• Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
• Osha root (Ligusticum porteri)
• Horehound (M. vulgare and M. peregrinum)
• Garlic (Allium sativum)
• Onion (Allium cepa)
• Cottonwood buds (Populus balsamifera)
Unproductive Cough Herbs Include:
· Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus)
· Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)
· Usnea (Usness pp.)
· Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Helpful herbs for a tickly cough are:
· Karsten Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
· Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia)
Some great herbs for chesty coughs are:
· Ivy (Hedera helix)
· Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
· Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
· Rose hips (Rosa spp).
Some respiratory anti-virals are:
· Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
· Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
· Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
· Ginger root (Zingiber officinale)
· Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
· Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
· Rhodiola rosea
· Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
· Garlic (Allium sativum)
Some Easy Recipes
Sore Throat Soother Tea
1-part Slippery Elm bark (Ulmus rubra)
1-part Marshmallow leaf (Althaea officinalis)
1-part Hibiscus leaf (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
Make as a decoction.
This tea is rich in vitamins and minerals.
1 part Rosehips
1 part Roobois
1 part Nettle
1 part Lemon Balm.
Make as an infusion.
Demetria’s Fyre Cidre
Fire Cider is an age-old immunity health remedy, great for cold and flu season. It is packed with everything you need to ward off winter ails. Nutrients, vitamins, antibacterial and antibiotic herbs, and so much more. We used the name as we did because, at one point, a company was trying to enforce a trademark for the words Fire Cider, they have since lost in court. After all, it is like trying to trademark the term tea.
You will need:
Large Jar-Get a large quart jar at least. One a little bigger may be easier to work with.
Cutting board- the turmeric will stain your board potentially. I use marble, but that means I sharpen my knives a lot. You can also use woods like hardwoods or bamboo. I tend to have separate tools for my herbal work than in my kitchen. Everything can be sterilized at once and together, and it lessens the potential for cross-contamination.
Cheese Grater or food processor. If you have excellent knife skills, you may not need this. I use a sharp cheese grater. If you are sensitive to horseradish, you may find using a food processor is better for you. It has a strong, pungent smell.
Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup fresh grated organic ginger root. Ginger is helpful for muscle aches, nausea, anti-Inflammatory, and Gingerol, the bioactive substance in fresh ginger, can help lower the risk of infections.
1 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root, when you grate with you may need to wear goggles and a handkerchief over your mouth. I am so used to it that it really doesn’t generally bother me, but it is potent and can cause the eyes to sting. Most “wasabi” products are made from horseradish, so if you have had wasabi, you will know what I mean.
1 medium organic onion, chopped or organic shallots chopped. Onions contain Sulphur compounds, are rich in vitamin C, potassium and Onions can fight potentially dangerous bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Bacillus cereus. Additionally, the extract of onion has been shown to inhibit the growth of Vibrio cholerae, a bacteria that is a foremost public health concern in the developing world.
20 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped. You don’t have to add quite as much garlic as I do, but I love garlic so much, and the Sulphur in garlic acts as a natural antibiotic. This herb contains high doses of allicin, alliin, and diallyl sulfide as well as phytonutrients.
3 organic Jalapeños peppers-Jalapeños are rich in vitamins A and C and potassium. The peppers also have carotene — an antioxidant that may help fight damage to the cells – as well as folate, vitamin K, and B vitamins. Capsaicin is the compound linked to its many health benefits.
2 organic lemons (I also sometimes like to add oranges), zest, and juice of.
4 Tbsp. of fresh rosemary leaves (I use a few sprigs of fresh rosemary from the garden).
1 cup fresh chopped organic turmeric root. This herb is a powerhouse for inflammation. It offers so many health benefits and it has a long history of use. I love using the fresh root, I will admit that I love that it turns my fingers orange. I guess that is the kid in me, still like to get dirty when I play.
1/4 tsp. organic cayenne powder
Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother. The mother appears as a cloudy substance floating in some bottles of vinegar. This is “mother” is believed to be rich in health-boosting natural protein, healthy bacteria, and acetic acid. The mother forms naturally as raw organic vinegar ferments, producing a murky, brownish-colored vinegar.
A brand liked Bragg’s is a perfect choice or Eden. These can be found at many regular grocery stores now, so you don’t have to head to a health food store.
1/2 cup or so of local raw honey. The honey will be added to your cider for your taste preference. You can use orange blossom honey that tastes lovely. Raw honey is precisely what it sounds like – honey that is raw, unaltered, unprocessed, unpasteurized, and straight from the beehive. Raw honey is what bees produce directly in the hive.
Directions: Grate, chop, and prepare all of your ingredients. You can use a food processor if you want for ease. Just a note, horseradish is very potent and will clear out your sinuses. Have two-quart jars, sterilized to be used. Mix all of your chopped and graded ingredients and fill your jars until about 3/4 full. Then fill the jars covering the ingredients until the jar is packed to the top or almost to the top. Cover with a piece of natural parchment paper and screw on the lid.
The parchment paper keeps the lid from coming into contact with the vinegar. You can use a plastic cover if you want too. Shake well and gently agitate every day.
After a month, strain through cheesecloth. Squeeze the pulp to get all of that goodness.
Pour into a clean, sterilized jar.
Next, add the honey. Add and stir well until it is incorporated. Taste, and add more honey if needed.
Herbal Ingredient Variations for your Fyre Cidre. Star Anise, Rosehips, Hibiscus, Burdock, Citrus Peels, different types of onion, peppers, or Peppercorns can be added. You can use fresh or dried herbs, with dried the ratios will be different. I prefer fresh because I love working with fresh herbs, it is a preference.
You may notice your children are experiencing more stress and anxiety, help them by offering nourishing infusions and foods, let them play, give them time to be loud and bring the house down. Give them activities to do, like helping to cook, art projects, journaling. Look into ways they can chat with friends and play games online with friends.
Pets are going to pick up on the vibe at home, play more with your pets, catch, snuggles and tug o war are great ways to help your animals when they are feeling stressed.
Look, I am still learning about this disease, like everyone else, be safe.