Healers have used herbal medicine for thousands of years. Unlike prescription medications that typically have one specific function and target organ, plants hold within them the power to perform multiple actions across many body systems.
Adaptogenic herbs are some of the most amazing herbs because they contain the knowledge and power to respond and change their action depending on the body’s need.
The word adaptogenic means just that… adaptogens are plants or herbs that have the ability to change and adapt their action depending on body need and conditions.
When focusing on the immune system, adaptogenic herbs respond to an up-regulated immune system by “cooling” things off. When the immune system is down regulated, these herbs bring up the “fire”. Think of them like great balancers, bringing the body back into homeostasis.
Some of my favorite adaptogenic herbs for COVID-19 include:
- Licorice Root
- Don Quai
We have seen in clinical practice as well as in the literature that coronavirus has been affecting organ systems outside of the lungs including the heart, gut, kidneys, nervous system and brain as well as the circulatory system. Much of the multi-organ system affect is due to the virus’s ability to down regulate some parts of the immune system (we are seeing the lowering of white blood cell counts for example) and firing up the inflammation and the cytokine cascade (causing organ damage and even strokes).
Herbs that support specific organ systems affected by COVID-19 include:
- Hawthorne has known properties that protect the heart
- Berberine may be helpful in addressing gut issues associated with coronavirus infections
- Japanese knotweed is very specific to protecting the lining of our blood vessels
- Ginko biloba is protective for the brain
- Isatis and Baikal skullcap have shown strong anti-viral activity against past coronaviruses
This virus has been stealthy, causing severe respiratory failure in some patients while leaving others asymptomatic. Our medical system has been scrambling to find interventions that work in those who become critically ill.
My focus has been to help people get and stay well. In the event that you do become ill with COVID-19, the goal is to support the body as best we can to fight the virus at home as safely as possible.
Herbs are very safe and can be used by most people to help the body respond appropriately to viral and other body stressors.
Please consult with your medical provider if you are a woman who is pregnant or nursing as well as those patients taking prescription medications, as some medications may have interactions with herbal protocols.
These herbal recommendations come from an interview with the renowned herbalist, Stephen Buhner.
Dr. Amy Reidhead