A couple days ago the University of Arizona College of Medicine and Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine released a document entitled Integrative Considerations during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The intention of the article was to guide integrative healthcare providers in their suggestions for integrative treatments. These recommendations are based on current knowledge of this new strain of coronavirus and other similar viruses.  I want to share some of the considerations with you to guide you through this challenging time. 

Please understand that none of these measures have been validated in human trials and that you should still practice the current recommendations of:

  • Social distancing
  • Handwashing
  • Stop non-essential travel
  • Stay home and avoid contact with others if any symptoms of fever and cough.

Reducing your risk:

  • Get adequate sleep (this is age dependent).  If difficulty sleeping during this time, melatonin may be useful (it helps sleep, but also has beneficial impact on the immune system). 
  • Manage stress using breathing exercises, guided imagery, exercise, being in nature.
  • Zinc, especially in lozenge form, may be inhibit the growth of the virus
  • Eat 5-7 servings of vegetables, 2-3 servings of fruit daily – these foods contain many flavonoids that impact the immune system in positive ways and are anti-inflammatory in general.
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D, but avoid large doses

A note on Elderberry – Elderberry has anti-viral qualities that support the immune system in identifying and fighting viruses.  It does this by stimulating certain cytokines in the body, which in the case of COVID-19, may – in some people – exacerbate the disease.  At this time, I recommend Elderberry be taken only by healthy, asymptomatic individuals.  At the onset of symptoms, elderberry should be discontinued.  I do not recommend increasing the dose with illness onset, as is studied and recommended with influenza treatment. 

There are some integrative treatments that you should use with caution and others that are generally consider safe if your child begins having symptoms of fever or cough.

Caution

Caution may be needed with Elderberry, Polysaccaride extracts from medicinal mushrooms, echinacea, larch arabinogalactan, and high doses of Vitamin D while ill.  These ingredients stimulate certain cytokines in the body, which in the case of COVID-19, may – in some people exacerbate – the disease.

Likely Safe:

  • Garlic
  • Quercitin
  • Astragalus
  • Peppermint
  • Andrographis
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C

If you would like to read the entire article you may access it here.