Currently, at the top of every conversation is the novel coronavirus outbreak. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) and described as the next world pandemic.
It is important to know that there are four types of common coronaviruses (229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1) that are associated with the common cold that affects most individuals at some time in their life. The ‘typical’ coronavirus infection is short-lived with symptoms such as a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of being unwell. In compromised individuals, the elderly, the young and those with a compromised immune system or other severe health issues, the common coronaviruses can cause bronchitis or pneumonia.
The COVID-2019 is a new strain that is seen to begin as a common cold with fever, lethargy, cough and difficulty breathing. Additional symptoms may include sore throat, nasal congestion and swollen adenoids. In some people, especially those that are already immune compromised, have respiratory diseases (COPD etc) and are elderly, it can rapidly cause dire respiratory symptoms, including viral pneumonia, and may lead to death if not treated.
Naturopathic Treatment and Prevention
Currently there is no treatment for the virus, naturopathic practitioners recognise the importance of both minimising exposure and addressing individual susceptibility as a way of promoting overall health. The following guidelines may be beneficial in supporting general health and wellbeing.
The best approach for all disease is immune support. The immune system is better at warding off foreign invaders than any drug ever invented and therefore, supporting immune function is something we should all address on a day to day basis, whether in the presence or absence of disease. First, it is imperative to begin with a solid foundation: ensure a balanced diet with immune boosting foods, manage your stress levels and get plenty of good quality sleep. you’re eating immune boosting foods, getting plenty of sleep, and managing your stress – fear does not serve you.
Immune Support Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs
Nearly all vitamins, minerals and herbs play a role in supporting the immune system.
- Vitamin C. Increases production of lymphocytes (white blood cells). Lymphocytes are generated by the immune system to defend the body against all pathogens, and foreign matter. Found to be circulating in the blood and lymph fluid Lymphocytes provide a means for immunity against antigens.
- Zinc. This mineral is incredibly necessary for development of the immune system’s T-cells as well as decreasing inflammation. Vitamin A and zinc are synergistic, as well, as zinc helps to mobilize Vitamin A from the liver.
- Echinacea. Due to macrophage and Natural killer (NK) cell activity, this is effective in preventing colds and flus,
- Elderberry. Are especially effective against the influenza virus by stimulating antiviral properties and immune responses.
- Oregano. An essential oil, oregano is antimicrobial and also stimulates the immune syste
- Mushroom extracts. Mycotherapy is increasingly becoming more popular for immune support, particularly for cancer patient. Highly potent and rich in beta glucans, these stimulate a wide variety of immune responses.
- Probiotics. The good bacteria in the gut microbiome provide the body’s first line of defence against foreign invaders. As such, they provide a wide variety of immune responses including activation of macrophages, natural killer (NK)cells, T-cells, and release of cytokines (chemical messengers of the immune system).
- Bee Propolis. Propolis is effective especially against gram positive bacteria and kill eradicates viruses, fungi, any type of bad microorganism.
By Aliyyaa Spring-Charles, president of the British Naturopathic Association and General Council and Register of Naturopaths