The new Coronavirus, Covid-19, is sweeping around the world indiscriminately infecting the population.
According to medical science, there is no cure, and a vaccine likely won’t be available for at least a year or longer.
That’s a long time to wait!
That means it’s imperative we find other ways to keep our bodies healthy and strong during this highly infectious time.
Since this is a new virus for the human population, NO-ONE is immune.
That means you may get it. I may get it. My husband probably has it (he’s has a dry cough, is running a high fever and has chills).
The truth is, the vast majority of humans will be exposed to it, and get it as well.
Our first line of defense, of course, is the immune system. It needs to be prepared and ready to fight as it comes in contact with this highly opportunistic pathogen.
I covered our first line of defense in this article: Do you know how to support immunity?
If your immune system is healthy and strong at the onset, the virus may be contained and destroyed in the nasal passageways and not descend deeper into the body.
More specifically, deeper into our lungs.
“For most people, the Coronavirus begins and ends in the lungs because it’s a respiratory disease. In the early days of an infection, the novel coronavirus rapidly invades human lung cells.”
Besides boosting immunity for the initial attack, it’s imperative to strengthen our lungs to be in tip-top shape and able to survive the damage and destruction caused by this virus and the body’s response to it.
“Your body is immediately trying to repair the damage in the lung as soon as it’s happening. Various white blood cells that consume pathogens and help heal damaged tissue act as first-responders. Normally, if this goes well, you can clear up your infection in just a few days.”
This is the best-case scenario – just a few days and the infection clears up.
But, not everyone’s first line of defense, the immune system, is functioning optimally for a variety of reasons: pre-existing underlying health conditions, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
Besides boosting immunity and macrophages, NK cells and other blood cells needed to take on this fight, below are smart things to do right now to support your lungs and respiratory system: the system that is directly targeted by this virus.
The lungs require moisture and a healthy layer of mucus to function at their best.
One of the symptoms of Covid-19 is a dry cough, possibly due to inflammation that is burning up internal fluids. 68% of people afflicted with this virus have presented with a dry cough.
Your body needs moisture and fluids to carry immune cells and to create the life-saving mucus that naturally lines your lungs and digestive system.
That means this is NOT the time for coffee or other highly caffeinated diuretics.
It would be much wiser to sip on warm or room temperature water throughout your day, at least 6-8 glasses.
I also highly suggest hydrating by sipping on warm herbal teas.
You can get back to your daily cup of Joe (or make that 3cups!) after this crisis passes. For now, temporarily replace your morning caffeine ritual with something like this Lung and Respiratory Support Tea.
Given the circumstances, it’s a smarter choice.
LUNG SUPPORTIVE FOODS
Besides hydrating, which is your number one priority right now, we need to create a healthy layer of mucus in the body.
I say “healthy” because you can very easily create an unhealthy layer of mucus with poor food choices.
For example, greasy food, fried foods, cheese, and dairy products, fast food, fatty meats, cookies/pastries, and refined carbs, can all contribute to excess phlegm, and that’s not what you want right now.
Excess phlegm congests the digestive system where the vast majority of your immune system lies and ultimately impacts the health of the sinuses and lungs (according to ancient healing medicine – TCM), as well as every other organ system in the body.
There are a wide variety of foods that would better support your body to create a healthy layer of mucus in your system.
Focus on a whole foods diet that includes:
- Funghi – Mushrooms
- Whole grains
- Fish and Seafood
- Lean grass-fed meats
- Sea vegetables
- Stock (bone stock, mushroom stock, veggie stock)
- Soy products (tofu, tempeh, miso, natto)
Basically, swap out junk food and heavier hard-to-digest foods for light and easy to digest foods.
Choosing better quality fiber and starches from wholesome foods will feed the bacteria that thrive in your gut, creating a more vital microbiome and a healthier layer of mucus.
Each of the foods listed above is linked to recipes you can start using right now. If you are quarantined at home this would be a GREAT time to cook up some delicious medicine.
It’s also wise to use a variety of spicy/pungent-flavored foods and herbs like radishes, onion, ginger, garlic, cabbage, mustard greens, peppers, turmeric, thyme, and oregano.
According to the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal medicine, pungent/spicy foods have a dispersive effect on the cells and viscera and expel mucus. You can read more about that here: Support your lungs with Pungent Spicy Foods
Your whole body is connected.
By making better food choices you can support your digestive system, and essentially your lungs and respiratory system.
LUNG SUPPORTIVE HERBS
There are a wide variety of herbs that have been used to support the lungs and respiratory system for thousands of years.
It’s a really good idea to use these ancient herbal medicines right NOW and not wait around for the modern cure to come knocking at your door.
The below herbs are deeply supportive plant medicine you can use during this challenging time.
- Thyme – can be used to expectorate excess mucus and clear the nasal passageways. Pour boiling water into a bowl with 1-2 tbsp. of thyme leaves. Grab a towel, cover your head and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for 5 minutes. This is a homemade herbal nasal/facial steam. As an added benefit, thymol (found in the oil in thyme) is considered to be highly potent against a wide range of pathogens, including viruses.
- Mullein leaf – is considered a nutritive tonic and is used for irritable dry coughs and also for atrophy of the lymphatic system with poor absorption in the small intestine. Mullein, pictured above, resembles a lung (doctrine of signatures). Here’s an easy way to use it in a tea: Lung and Respiratory support infusion
- Elecampane – contains a powerful antiseptic called helenin that soothes the bronchial passageways and helps to resolve coughs. It also helps people that have trouble breathing.
- Slippery elm – a demulcent herb that coats and moistens the tissues. It is especially important for gut health and can be used to relieve dry conditions. It can be easily prepared in a breakfast dish like this: Gut Healing Morning Porridge
- Marshmallow root – is considered a mucilage that restores lubrication. It is especially useful when there is dryness combined with heat. For someone that is hot and burning up all of their fluids due to fever and inflammation, this cooling and moistening herb could work well.
As you can see, there is a LOT you can do to support your lungs and respiratory system during this highly viral Coronavirus outbreak.
Do yourself a favor, don’t wait around for the vaccine to save you – start using these remedies now.
Want to learn how to prepare and properly use these and other lung supportive food and herbs? Check out the recording of my Lung and Respiratory Support Cooking class
You will gain access to a variety of food and herbs that lubricate, moisten, nourish and expectorate your lungs and respiratory system, to help you and your family get through this very challenging time in human history.
 The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism, Matthew Wood, North Atlantic Books, 2004, pg. 189
 Herbal Medicine – The Natural Way to Stay and Get Well, Dian Dincin Buchman, 1979, pg. 87, 136
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.
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