Covid, chronic disease and herbs
We live in a high tech world and yet every year more and more people suffer from chronic and infectious diseases. Now, the strange virus known as Covid -19 has literally changed all our lives – and is especially affecting those who have chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
Have you wondered why chronic disease is so common – and whether it is avoidable? As a herbalist, I know the power of plant medicine to restore and protect the body – a power that has been proven over thousands of years and may now be more needed than ever.
Covid-19 is referred to as a virus but it is not actually a living thing. It’s more like a piece of a molecule and since it cannot replicate alone it aims to get inside healthy cells in the human body and use them to multiply and infect more cells.
This virus can attack organs like the kidneys, brain and lungs while also depriving the blood of essential oxygen. This happens because, once inside the respiratory system, it can travel down its many branching airways as far as the alveoli, small air sacs which release oxygen into the bloodstream and absorb carbon dioxide.
When the virus enters the body, it is not looking for just any healthy cell but one type in particular – those that are expressing a high amount of something called ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 to be technical). We’ve all seen the diagram of the virus with its little ‘arms’ and when those arms find high ACE2 cells, they dock on and start their work.
Let’s understand better what’s going on from a recent letter to The Lancet magazine written by distinguished medical experts:
What type of cells become high in ACE2?
Those in the lung, intestine, kidney, and blood vessels.
Who tends to have high ACE2 cells?
People who suffer from diabetes, hypertension and metabolic disease
What do doctors give patients who have these problems?
ACE inhibitors and ARBs
What effect do these drugs have on the body?
They actually increase the amount of ACE2 expressed by cells, making the person even more susceptible to Covid-19 virus and less able to fight it off.
So both chronic disease and the conventional treatment for it may be putting people in danger from this strange new virus. It seems that we need to go back to examine the cause of chronic disease and how it can be addressed.
That’s simple – the cause is Inflammation – and inflammation is the immune system’s biological response to aging, stress, a poor diet high in processed food and sugar, excessive alcohol, lack of exercise, obesity and other medical conditions.
In the thinking of traditional Chinese medicine, this inflammation creates a propensity for heat within the body – and heat can lead to a stagnation of body fluids, especially blood stagnation. There is a whole range of herbs that can efficiently clear this heat and stagnation, without unpleasant or dangerous side effects – and many of them are in our Resist herbal formula.
When it comes to recovery from covid type symptoms, I keep seeing how good our Expert Herbalist Cough formula is for nourishing, protecting and restoring the lungs.
It is full of antibacterial and antiviral herbs that particularly nourish lungs, stop spasm and clear phlegm.
For maintaining good health, of course we need to address all the lifestyle causes of inflammation. Meanwhile to help strengthen and protect the immune system, Expert Herbalist Resist herbal formula can be taken long term at a maintenance dose. Also very important is Vitamin D3, along with food-state Vitamin C. Those with low levels of vitamin D have been seen to be more susceptible to covid. Elderberry is useful, too, as it helps prevent the virus from attaching to the lung by coating the alveoli receptors.
We are working on new formulas all the time, so be on the lookout for additions to our range and feel free to get in touch if you need specific health advice. Meanwhile, to learn more about herbs and good health, download our free e-book, ‘Herbs and the Human Body’. Live well, love well, stay well.
Matthew Jackson – Somerset Health Practice