Heaven Forbid, CoVid19 . . .

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I have decided to share my plans, such as they are, should I develop symptoms of having caught CoVid-19. Not because I have any expertise with this virus or have any medical expertise to support my plans. Nor am I recommending you follow my plans. But you might want to consider whether some early treatments might prevent the CoVid-19 from progressing to ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) should you have the misfortune of catching this difficult virus.

The central, troubling feature of CoVid-19 is that it quickly moves deeply into the respiratory tract and begins to damage the lungs – sometimes before even causing overt symptoms. As the lung cells that form the outer surface (on both the insides and outsides of the lungs) are damaged, they become dense and fluid filled. This impedes oxygen exchange. Both from airways into the lungs and from the lungs into the capillaries that then feed the circulatory system and deliver oxygen to our body.

This edema also hinders the movement of antiviral compounds that your immune cells produce to attack the virus as well as any antiviral compounds you may have taken in the form of medications, herbs, and/or supplements. They cannot reach a target that basically has built a wall around itself as it replicates, bursts open the cell, and moves on to damage other lung cells.

Influenza does something similar although usually not as quickly or dramatically. When I wrote my book Herbs & Influenza, I described how Eclectic MDs (doctors trained in the use of herbal medicines) treated patients in the 1918 pandemic. I discovered that virtually all used chest applications as part of their treatment. This makes great sense. Most scents and odors are volatiles that can move across the barrier the virus creates in the damaged lung cells. Further, many herbs contain compounds that are both volatiles and antiviral. A classic example of a volatile mixture that has at least some antiviral activity: Vicks. But pine needles, cedar twigs, sage leaves, oregano, eucalyptus, and others have a great variety of very active volatile, antiviral compounds.

My plan is to begin using chest applications the minute I suspect I have the virus such as developing a slight fever, a tightness in the chest, a cough, or unusual fatigue. I also plan to use steam inhalants to reach the “outside of the inside” of my lungs, so to speak. That likely will consist of simply hanging a towel over my head covering me and a pot of steaming (not boiling) water with some white sage or chaparral or pine needles in it.

What I will NOT do: I will not apply essential oils directly to my skin and will use them very carefully, if at all. Vicks is less than 10% volatiles because, in more concentrated amounts, these compounds can become toxic and damaging, especially to the liver. So, do your math carefully in figuring out how many drops of oil to add to how much volume of coconut or olive oil if you are making your own applications. As well, do NOT put Vicks or any of these compounds directly on infants and babies under the age of two. Fortunately, so far CoVid 19 is not much of a problem for children and if it becomes one, get medical attention. Do not experiment on fragile little ones.

When it comes to the fever that often accompanies CoVid-19, I plan to listen to my body: If I am acting chilled and the fever is not way high, I won’t try to reduce it. However, if I am kicking off blankets and acting “too hot,” I will use diaphoretic herbs or herbal teas perhaps to try to bring it down. The elderflowers will be blooming soon. They make a good diaphoretic tea so you might want to gather and dry some.  Finally, based on the suggestions of Chris Cuomo who is sharing his journey with this illness on CNN, I am doing breathing exercises and will keep moving even during febrile moments when I don’t feel like it.

PS I mention Vicks a lot, not because it is the best choice but simply because it is something most of us are familiar with. There are many different chest applications and more are listed in my book on herbal pandemic treatments, including a simple onion poultice.

My book on pandemic herbs is available at Minglement, The Country Store, and at TQIDiet.com.