• Kerri Bailey, BS CH

Combating Corona Virus with Immunity Boosting Herbs & Foods

Our world is currently stirred up surrounding the threat of the Corona Virus. The is no “cure” or vaccine at this time but there are a lot of things we can do to prepare & prevent. As an Herbalist, I felt it was important to write this article for those who choose a natural approach to help build your immune system with certain foods and various herbal supplements. I have also provided some of my recipes for making your own antiseptic sprays, immune boosting dishes and herbal teas, tinctures & supplements.


The first thing we want to do is not to panic, instead practice some common sense. Corona Virus is spread through the inhalation of droplets from someone infected when they cough or sneeze. People have also contracted the virus from touching infected objects and then touching our face. Here are some suggestions to help stop the spread of the virus:


1. Do Not Touch Your Face. Every hour we touch our face at least 30 times. Be conscious of this, especially avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.

2. Wash Your Hands Often- for 20 seconds with hot soapy water. Hand sanitizers may also be effective. Don’t rely on “antibacterial soap” they won’t work on viruses. Wear latex gloves.

3. Do Not Go Out if You are Sick. If you must go out, wear a face mask to help protect others (see more below). Work from Home if Possible- If you are sick, stay home.

4. Manage Stress Levels. Yoga, stretching, meditation and exercise help reduce stress. Also make sure you Get Good Quality Regular Sleep.

5. Cough in Your Elbow. Always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

6. Do Not Share with Others. Avoid drinking or eating from other people’s straws, utensils, water bottles, glasses and personal care products like mascara or lipstick.

7. Keep it Clean. Regularly Sanitize your phone, computer, doorknobs, counter tops and other objects other people in your household, work or office may regularly touch.

8. Boost Your Immune System. There are many vitamins, herbs and foods that can help naturally build your immune system. I have also provided examples of herbs to take when you are experiencing symptoms vs those to take before you are sick. See below.

Immunity Enemies:

· Lack of Sleep & Exercise

· the 3 S’s: Stress, Sugar & Smoking

· Poor Diet that lacks in vitamins

· Excessive Alcohol Intake


For additional information about the prevention, spread and more specifics concerning the Corona Virus refer to the following links:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/01/health/coronavirus-symptoms-treatment/index.html


https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html?

CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2Fabout%2Ftransmission.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/29/health/coronavirus-n95-face-masks.html

https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/n95-respirator-mask-coronavirus



Food, Vitamins & Herbs for Immunity Building

There are many types of vitamins and foods we can take that increase our body’s immune system preventing illness. Eat combinations of these foods to your individual tolerance as we are all unique.



Vitamin A is a powerful antiviral that helps maintain the Thymus gland. It is found in liver, oily fish, dairy products and in plants in the form of beta-carotene (and other carotenoids): Asparagus, Broccoli, Cantaloupe & Melons, Carrots, Kiwi, Pumpkin, Red Bell Pepper, Yams & Sweet Potatoes, Spinach and Tomatoes. Herbs High in Vitamin A: Alfalfa, Burdock, Cayenne, Chickweed, Fennel, Kelp, Lemongrass, Mustard, Nettle, Oat Straw, Parsley, Paprika, Peppermint, Raspberry Leaf, Red Clover, Thyme, Violet leaves, Yellow Dock.


B- Vitamins are a complex or group of vitamins that are important for white blood cells or phagocytes production. Foods high in B Vitamins: Meat, Fish, Nuts, Beans, Greens & Kale, Mushrooms, many Fruits &Vegetables, Cereals & Grains. Herbs High in Vitamin B: Alfalfa, Bladderwrack, Burdock, Cayenne, Chickweed, Dandelion, Fennel, Fenugreek, Kelp, Mullein Mushrooms, Nettle, Oat Straw, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Raspberry Leaf, Red Clover, Rose Hips, Spirulina, Watercress, Violet leaves & Yellow Dock.


Vitamin C is the immune systems powerhouse antioxidant found in most fruits and vegetables. Foods High in Vitamin C: Citrus Fruits, Strawberries, Cantaloupe, Bell Peppers, Green Tea, Greens & Kale Herbs High in Vitamin C: Acerola, Alfalfa, Burdock, Cayenne, Chickweed, Elder Flower, Fennel, Fenugreek, Kelp, Nettle, Oat Straw, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Raspberry Leaf, Red Clover, Rose Hips, Violet leaves & Yellow Dock.


Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps stimulate antibody production Foods High in Vitamin E: Avocados, Cold Pressed Vegetable Oils- Olive, Soybean, Corn, Sunflower, etc. Dark Leafy Veggies, Legumes, nuts. Brown Rice Herbs High in Vitamin E: Alfalfa, Bladderwrack & Kelp, Dandelion, Dong Quai, Flaxseed, Nettle, Oat Straw, Raspberry Leaf, Rose Hips and Watercress.


There are many minerals that help aid & build the immune response. Calcium helps the phagocytes clean up Lymph; Seleniumis needed for producing antibodies; Iron builds overall resistance and the maturation of T cells is dependent upon Zinc. Most minerals are found in Seeds, Nuts, Apricots and Green Leafy Vegetables. Herbs with high mineral content: Alfalfa, Fennel Seeds, Garlic, Nettle Leaf, Mustard Seeds, Turmeric Root.


Herbs for Immune Enhancing (Before You Get Sick) Astragalus, Beet Root Powder, Cordyceps, Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng), Olive Leaf, Red Root, Rhodiola Root

Herbs for Colds & Flu: Cayenne, Cinnamon, Echinacea (short term), Eleuthero, Garlic & Onions, Ginger, Licorice, Pau d’Arco; Coryceps, Reishi, Shitake & Maitake Mushrooms; Thyme, Usnea

Herbs for Sinus & Fevers Boneset, Chamomile, Chinese Chrysanthemum, Elderflower, Honeysuckle Flower, Nettle, Peppermint, Sage, Spearmint, Rose Hip, Yarrow

Herbs for Lungs & Sore Throat Angelica, Anise, Catnip, Coltsfoot, Elderberry, Elecampane, Fenugreek, Ginger, Goldenrod, Horehound, Lemon Balm, Lungwort, Mullein, Pleurisy Root, Schisandra, Violets, Wild Cherry


Immune Enhancing Broth:

· 3 Cups of water, tea or vegetable broth

· 1 oz Herb or Herb Combo of Choice*: Astragalus, Cayenne, Ginger, Licorice, Cinnamon

· 5-10 Garlic Cloves or 1 -2 Tsp Garlic Powder or Minced (can substitute or add onion)

Combine liquid, herbs & garlic in a pot and simmer covered for up to several hours. Strain the mixture, add salt & pepper if desired to taste. Drink this broth several times daily when you feel the first signs of an infection or use as a prophylactic preventative and immune enhancing.

* Many herbs will work, Elderberry & Astragalus is a good combo for young to old; while Astragalus, Cayenne & Cinnamon for stronger palettes and Ginger, Licorice & Cinnamon is a mild warming pleasant taste. Please refer to the statement below about choosing herbs that work for you.


Immune Enhancing Tea this intended to be taken before or at the very onset of illness. If you are already sick- try the Cold n Flu Brew, next recipe below.

· 1 oz Astragalus slices or chunks (or if you only have powder but it will be gritty)

· .5 oz Licorice, Ginger & Cinnamon or use 1 oz Mulling or Chai Spice blend- slices or chunks (or if you only have powder but it will be gritty)

· Honey & Lemon to taste (optional)

· 16oz or 2 Cups of water

Combine herbs & water in a pot and simmer covered for 20-40 minutes or more for a stronger brew. Strain the mixture, add honey & lemon if desired to taste. Drink this tea several times daily when you feel the first signs of an infection or use as a prophylactic preventative and immune enhancing.


Cold & Flu Brew Decoction Tea this intended to be taken at onset of illness and while you are already sick. Try this recipe and combine herbs to your palette.

· 1 oz Echinacea angustifolia Root (or E. purpurea, not as effective) chunks (or powder but it will be gritty)

· .5 oz Eleuthero, Elderberries or Wild Cherry Bark

· .5oz Ginger &/or Cinnamon or use 1 oz Mulling or Chai Spice blend- slices or chunks (or powder but it may be gritty)

· Honey & Lemon to taste (optional)

· 4 Cups of water

Combine herbs & water in a pot and simmer covered for 20-40 minutes or more for a stronger brew. Strain the mixture, add honey & lemon if desired to taste. Drink this tea several times daily when you feel the first signs of an infection or use as a prophylactic preventative and immune enhancing.


Cold & Flu Brew Infusion Tea this intended to be taken at onset of illness and while you are already sick. Try this recipe and combine herbs to your palette.

· .5 oz Usnea or Echinacea herb (or powder but it will be gritty)

· .5 oz Yarrow or Boneset herb

· .25oz Elderflower, Goldenrod or Chamomile

· .5oz Lemon Balm, Spearmint or Peppermint

· Honey & Lemon to taste (optional)

· 2 Cups of water

Combine herbs & water in a pot and simmer covered for 15-30 minutes or combine herbs in a tea ball or infuser. Strain the mixture, add honey & lemon if desired to taste. Drink this tea several times daily at the first signs of an infection or use while you are already sick.



Powder Herbal Supplements-use powders in smoothies or put into gelatin capsules. You may also find combinations or single herbs capsules from herbal companies or your local health food store or herb shop.

Immunity Booster Herb Powder Combo:

Combine Equal Parts of powdered Cordyceps or Red Root; Astragalus or Eleuthero; Rhodiola or Beet Root. Store in a clean glass jar or plastic baggie. Use 1-2 tsp per dose 1-4 times a day or as needed. Add powder to smoothies, yogurt or other food. If you prefer to take pills, then encapsulate them and take 2-4 capsules 2-3 times a day.


Essential Oil Antiseptic Spray: You will need a few different essential oils; a Sprayer Bottle; Alcohol, Tincture or Extract; Water and a few drops of Soap

1. Add 1/3 the volume of Tincture, Alcohol or Witch Hazel Extract into your spray bottle

2. Then add a combination of 3-5 essential oils at a rate of 10-12 drops per ounce (2oz bottle would take 20-24 drops)

3. Add 4 drops of mild soap per ounce (2oz bottle would take 8 drops)

4. Fill the rest of the bottle almost to the top (leave room for the sprayer insert ½” or so) with water. Screw on top tightly.

5. Gently invert to mix and test your spray. Use to help sanitize surface areas, hands and face (close eyes first!) as a toner.

Good Essential Oil Combinations

(per ounce): 4 drops each Lemon or Grapefruit; 3 Drops of Cedarwood or Fir;

3 Drops Tea Tree or Rosemary.

“Thieves Blend”: 4 drops Lemon, 3 Drops Eucalyptus & Rosemary; 2 Drops Clove & Cinnamon Bark.



Important Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes and is not a substitute for your doctor’s advice. If you are taking medications, pregnant or lactating, have health issues or problems consult with your medical professionals before starting an herbal program.Please keep in mind that: Not all Herbs work for Everyone!


I encourage you to read my other blogs on Immunity, Herbs and making your own Supplements. If you need a customized formula, I do online consultations and have my own line of herbal products, teas and supplements as well as eBooks. If you are local to the Tacoma, WA area, take one of my classes at Pierce College or SPSCC. For more information, visit: www.HerbalElements.net

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