In the face of COVID19, contemporary medicine has been left trailing behind in the search for a cure or preventative vaccine, so, in the spirit of true biohacking we must come to an acceptance of alternative ways of medicine than what we may have always been presented with. We must explore alternate possibilities of health, possibilities that perhaps, are already being used with success by our peers.
As people interested in the optimization of our lives and thus wellbeing, we must welcome, for desire of education, an exploration into the ways in which humanity of all cultures have brought their medicine (quite literally) to the table to try and treat the novel coronavirus. I would suggest we delve into an exploration of methods of illness prevention to ensure the continuation of our own and our loved ones’ optimal functioning.
In the midst of such chaos, we must assume an objective stance and understand that the presence of a universal viral pandemic is not one new to humanity, and neither is the simple presence of viruses. In the face of it all, we have always survived and conquered. So, who has stood at the agile hands of humanity since the dawn of disease, offering service time and time again? Who, perhaps has been the less than metaphorical root of modern medicine and would therefore be the perfect place to turn in its lag? Plants, of course! It is perhaps the greatest disservice to ourselves in the modern age, that we have forgotten our allies in health. After all, early hominins co-evolved with plants about 3 millions of years ago.
Ok, you get it; Plant medicine to the preventative rescue! So now how do we work with these wonders to tackle the novel coronavirus with definitive power? Let us explore the current world briefly, in search for current answers. In the Philippines, coconut oil is being suggested! According to the Philippine council on health research and development of the department of science and technology, the antiviral properties (from lauric acid and monolaurin) of virgin coconut oil are due to be tested as a prophylactic to Covid19. In South Korea, the drug Hydroxychloroquine is being used with incredible success. Iit is thought that this is because it is a zinc ionophore (helps zinc to ENTER the cells and prevent viral replication). In China we see a plethora of integrative treatment methods including intravenous Vitamin C as recommended by the government of Shanghai, and the use of traditional Chinese medicine such as the Qingfei peidu decoction that includes common herbs and roots such as liquorice and astragalus. Bountiful suggestions have been made in regards to nutrition for immune support (think Vitamin C rich foods, multivitamin supplementation and health foods like green tea or matcha) and herbs for antiviral activity (Thyme, Garlic, Rosemary, Echinacea, Elderberry). The truth in all of this is that when we turn to nature, the act of biohacking our immune optimization is abundant to the point of near infinity. The core of the matter is that we cannot control a virus, but we can certainly control the host. We can make the host inhospitable, and we can do this not only to aid ourselves but to aid all of us in a community effort to ease the spread. As a nutritionist and herbalist, below I am going to lay out 4 of the most impactful ways of making ourselves “inhospitable hosts” (So that if we are infected, symptoms may not be destructive) and become empowered biohackers, bosses of our health:
1) Get your gut health on track! You can eat all of the immune boosting, nutrient dense food in the world with the aim of viral prevention, but if your gut isn’t up to scratch, they’re just going to get pushed out the other end. I would suggest contacting a professional to go through the proper protocol for this, or alternatively googling and seeing what you can do safely for yourself.
2) Get your antiviral, immune boosting, health maintenance and loving plants inside you! On the plant medicine side of things, gut health won’t impact the bioavailability of the compounds in plant decoction and teas, so feel free to brew as much rosemary, thyme, echinacea, ginger and certainly green tea as is possible in the day. (Hint: Anything in the mint family is generally anti-viral and is an excellent actor on respiratory health. Considering the symptoms of COVID19, maybe these should be a large feature of our teas!)
3) Eat Quercetin! Include your onions, broccoli, orange peel and peppers into your day-to-day meals. One of my favourite alleys of individual research (meaning not government backed, purely an interested individual) is on Quercetin as having similar zinc ionophore effects as the drug hydroxychloroquine. THis means that a supplementation of Zinc and Quercetin could be incredible for viral treatment and prevention.
4) Exercise! One that may be slightly over-used (but for good reason), the lymphatic system is our body’s waste drainage system and it does not move by itself! The lymphatic system relies on the movement of the musco-skeletal system to pump waste out. Illness is bred in stagnation, so let’s keep our bodies flushed and moving.
The most important takeaway from this should be that while this virus is new, viruses in general are not and, in the outlook of true biohacking, we must notice that the earth is offering us (and always has offered) a bounty of ways in which we may prevent infection. There are opportunities in the millions to bio-hack the maintenance of our health.
— Shannon Beckerleg