Updated: Feb 16
So, your hands are all rough and dry from washing them so much. You’re rethinking your plans to limit your exposure to COVID-19. You’ve created a new mindfulness practice called “Stop Touching Your Face.” But, you might be wondering what else you can do to stay healthy. Let’s look at this virus from the Chinese medicine perspective and find some useful strategies.
First, let’s look at what type of virus we’re dealing with here. What is its personality and preferences? An environmental pathogen can have different natures. The coronavirus popped up in a cold-damp environment, the spring season in Wuhan, China.
Most Chinese medicine doctors agree it is a damp pathogen. It likes dampness and creates more of it. The main symptoms are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. From what I’ve read from Chinese medicine doctors is that the cough seems dry because the phlegm is like a thick glue in the lungs. This type of dampness is difficult to treat and is compared to separating oil from flour. This thick, lingering gunk in the lungs is what is most dangerous for people infected with the virus.
The fever itself is like the heat of a compost heap. To reduce the fever, the compost heap needs to be dispersed and dried out, not doused with ice. This is important to know if you want to know how to prevent and treat it correctly and maybe more importantly, not make the situation worst with the wrong treatment.
***NOTE ABOUT THE WRONG TREATMENT For cold and flu viruses characterized by fever and heat signs, cold anti-viral formulas like Gan Mao Ling and Yin Qiao San can be very effective. These are widely available online and in stores like Whole Foods. HOWEVER, this is NOT that, and these are not your go to formulas. They can actually make things worse. So, if those are your go-to remedies, don’t use them unless someone who is board certified in Chinese herbal medicine tells you to.
Choosing the right preventive strategy
Is your body a good breeding ground where this pathogen can thrive, or will it have a hard time?
The modern sedentary lifestyle and diet of comfort foods tends to create dampness in the body. Some people are also constitutionally more prone to it.
What are some signs and symptoms of dampness in the body? Tongue diagnosis is very useful here. First, tune in to how your tongue feels inside your mouth. Is it pushing against your teeth? Look in the mirror. Are there ridges on the sides of your tongue from this contact with your teeth all day? Is your tongue swollen and puffy looking? Is there a thick wet coat, or does it look sticky? (If you want to see some examples of damp tongues and coronavirus case studies, check them out here.)
After considering your tongue, consider some other aspects of your health. Are you prone to water retention or excess weight in your body? Are you prone to yeast infections, foot fungus, and sticky bowel movements that leave a streak in the toilet bowl? Do you feel heavy and lethargic? These are all signs that you have dampness in your system, so your goal is now to warm and dry your body!
Reminder of things you already know to do
~Wash your hands, scrubbing vigorously for 20 seconds. The friction is important ~When using a hand sanitizer gel, you also need to rub your hands vigoursly for 20 seconds ~Don’t touch your face (Is that even possible??? Keep trying) ~Clean surfaces with disinfectant, and be sure to read the label of the disinfectant for proper use. Sometimes the surface needs to remain wet with disinfectant for a specific amount of time. And don’t forget to clean your phone, water bottle, sunglasses and keyboard! ~Avoid large crowds
Extra things you can do to stay healthy (warm and dry the body and be less sticky to the virus)
~Make exercise a priority sweat out excess fluids and strengthen your lungs. The Aerobic Heartrate Zone (70% – 80% of your Max Hr) is very beneficial for lung health and will induce a light sweat without exhausting you. Calculate your Aerobic Heart Rate Zone here ~Use a sauna once a week (Anointed Massage next door has a dry sauna/pay per minute) ~Eat ginger, garlic, onions, and mushrooms ~Avoid cold, raw foods and smoothies and ice water ~Be in bed 8-10 hours a night to ensure you’re getting plenty of sleep ~Practice stress reduction techniques ~Rest ~Spend time in nature ~Eat a nutrient dense, whole-foods, anti-inflammatory diet ~Avoid sugar, wheat, dairy, peanut butter, alcohol ~Use zinc lozenges to support immune function and block viruses from multiplying in the throat ~Drink ginger tea with honey
More info on the benefits of ginger
Ginger has been used to prevent and treat viral infections long before we could see them with microscopes. Its anti-viral properties have now been proven. Ginger actually helps to prevent viruses from adhering to the walls of your upper respiratory tract. So, it’s good to have ginger in your system to prevent catching a virus.
According to functional medicine doc Chris Kresser, you need large doses of fresh ginger to accomplish this. I followed his recipe and holy smokes, this is STRONG! There’s absolutely no way I could drink 4 oz of this in 6 oz of water. I also left out the cayenne pepper. One ounce makes my lips burn. I’m drinking it though, because I’m a cold damp kind of gal and I want to stay healthy. I also bought organic ginger from Natural Grocers to avoid needing to peel it. I just scrubbed it with a brush and trimmed off any black old bits. If you don’t have a juicer, you can grate the ginger, steep or lightly simmer, and strain. So, here is the recipe and the link to his coronavirus podcast:
Fresh Ginger Tea
To create this tea, follow these steps:
Juice one to two pounds of ginger, and place juice in a jar and refrigerate. Place two to four ounces of ginger juice in a mug with the juice of one-half lemon and a large tablespoon of honey. Add one-eighth teaspoon of cayenne pepper and six ounces of hot water. Drink two to six cups of this per day, sipping slowly throughout the day.