I would like to share additional information regarding each immune support topic from last week. If you have not read the March 13, 2020 blog, please do before reading this.
#1 Hygiene - One tool many of you have in your tool kits are essential oils. Do not use them excessively but put them to good use now. They will be especially helpful if someone in your house is diagnosed with COVID-19. Even now as you are still going out to the store and on errands they can be very helpful. Use them to make a hand sanitizer easily by adding 10-20 drops of oils like Tea Tree and Frankincense to a 1 oz spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol and a bit of aloe vera gel. Hand washing IS best but you will find times when you are out and about that you may want to sanitize immediately (think grocery store carts and PIN pads!)
#2 Adaptogens - Many people are not yet ready to think of this outbreak in the long term view that will be needed. For those who are not exposed currently and are taking safety precautions, the next most important thing for them is to reduce their STRESS. Stress depletes the body's ability to respond to immune challenges. As an herbalist we use nervines (herbs that nourish and calm the nervous system) and adaptogens (herbs that strengthen the body's resilience) to help. Mitigating stress is key RIGHT NOW. There are a lot of mind/body suggestions out there for calming and I suggested a couple in my last newsletter but if you need additional support for this please reach out. *Some adaptogens are best not taken when actively ill so make an appointment with your herbalist to discuss your custom remedy and how to proceed if you become ill.
#3 Supporting wei-qi - Now that you have more time at home implement a daily practice of the Qi Gong routine I shared last week. Increasing our wei-qi and our lung health is good preventative medicine right now!
#4 General immune support - Kitchen medicine like eating warm, nourishing soups, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and citrus fruits are part of a healthy lifestyle. These are things we can all do and should do. Remember that good health doesn't come in a bottle. All these little choices add up!
#5 Immune stimulating herbs - Many people often reach of elderberry and echinacea to boost the immune system. These are just 2 of the more common ones. Right now there is information floating around stirring up fears about immune stimulants. I didn't get too deep into this discussion in the previous newsletter and was possibly too vague as people begin to panic when they read about cytokine storms. First of all understand that every answer is nuanced so when I say that I might "reconsider" elderberry syrup for those who are ill it does not mean stop. It means reconsider. I am going to be looking at whether or not they have already been using it as a preventative and how it has been working for them. Has it been enough? Are there better herbs given their particular needs? Do I need to move on to my next protocol? There are many herbs for me to choose from and layers in that decision. Also as I mentioned previously, herbalists walk a thin line in how we practice so sometimes we have to be a bit vague. We can not come right out and make claims like drug companies can. With regards to elderberry, in particular, in the last newsletter I shared the perspective from the Science and Art of Herbalism program (the Rosemary Gladstar program that I teach here in Omaha). I have continued to read what a variety of prominent herbalists have shared. Here I will also share what my first herbal teacher Nicholas Schnell shared on his page recently.
Elder Berry Safety with Acute Viral Infections
There is much mis-information going around that elderberry will cause a "cytokine storm" if taken during an acute infection. This is simply not true and not based on clinical facts. Elderberry is an immune modulator and anti-viral. It can affect IL-6 to some degree. However, calling this a cytokine storm is misleading. Considering it is one of the most researched herbs for viral influenza, I think it creates more confusion in the public.
Dr. Eric Yarnell: I already posted about this but here it goes again to quash this nonsense: forget about all the in vitro crap that suggests Sambucus (Elder) would cause a cytokine storm. Look at the human clinical trials in influenza using Sambucus, another disease where we know cytokine storms cause severe morbidity and mortality (PMID 26189369). Sambucus has not caused cytokine storms in influenza, quite the opposite: symptoms improved much more rapidly with Sambucus than placebo (hardly in line with Sambucus causing aggravation and cytokine storms) (PMID 9395631, 15080016).
#6 - #7 Immune amphoteric and modulating herbs and alteratives - I defined these herbs a bit and gave some herbs to consider for my more knowledgeable clients and so that clients understand some of what I am considering in my formulations. If you do not have the individual knowledge of which of these herbs to choose then if you get to the point of needing these items you might want to schedule a consultation with your herbalist.
#8 My office and client protocols - I will remain open as long as I feel it is the right thing to do for my family and my community. Starting next week all appointments will be via Skype or phone. For refills and pick-ups I ask that you be very specific in your appointment notes so that we have the items ready for you. We would be glad to bring them out to your vehicle if you text us when you arrive. This is especially helpful if you have children. We will be sanitizing all touched surfaces should you choose to come in. We can also mail them to you if you note that on your appointment note. We will bill via Square for purchases so that we mitigate passage of germs in the payment process. We will not be answering questions and or socializing at herb pick-up time. It will be a quick in-and-out process. If you have questions and are looking for advice you will need to make an appointment.
I am making available a "pro-active" immune support blend and an "active" immune support blend that can be purchased for $40 for 4 oz. to help people be prepared. If you are a current client and become ill you can email me and I will make a more specific blend, if applicable, and it will be mailed to you. I will only be making custom formulations related to immune support for CURRENT CLIENTS. A current client is someone who has had a consultation with me in the last 2 years.
I am committed to being here for you as I can but I also acknowledge that at some point myself and my staff may have to quarantine. Many clients may have very mild symptoms and all of this may see over-reactionary but for some of my clients with immune challenges this is the protocol that is required in order to keep them health!
I will share a quote that was often said when I was in the Army that I find highly applicable right now.
"Failure to prepare, is preparing to fail!" - Benjamin Franklin
Be well my herbal family! Your health and vitality is of the utmost importance to me!