Here at Remedy we are doing everything we can to ensure our safety and yours amidst global concern over the outbreak of the coronavirus infection. As a holistic pharmacy, we want you to be informed about what conventional and traditional medicines have to offer to support you. As far as natural options, there are herbs with specific activity against viruses that may be helpful in both prevention and/or treatment.
Our team has been closely following the global developments of herbal based treatments. Many of which are based on traditional chinese herbs, which given the geographic origin of the outbreak (of both COVID-19 and other previous SARS outbreaks) makes sense. We aimed to use this information to create a formula with antiviral activity that is specific for viruses in the SARS family. Coronavirus, or SARS-Cov-2 is a member of the SARS family but has shown to be more pathogenic. Although there are no randomized controlled trials to support the efficacy of these herbs (we wish!) this formula IS research and evidence based, with various sources linked below. Ultimately this is something that we are personally supplementing with and we wouldn’t be sharing it if we didn’t 100%, whole-heartedly stand behind it!
Remedy’s Virus Formula #1
There are a number of herbs included in this formula, each for a specific reason. We want you to understand exactly how these plants work in the body and why they’re included in this formula. Our formula includes: Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis), Forsythia (Forsythia suspensa), Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza spp.), Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), Cordyceps (Cordyceps spp.), Astragalus (Astragalus spp.), and Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea). Let’s break it down! Orders are now available here!
There are many powerful antiviral herbs out there, but we wanted to find herbs that were specifically antiviral against the SARS group of viruses - which includes the pathogen SARS-Cov-2, which then causes the infection called COVID-19. The strongest antivirals for this group of viruses include: Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis), Forsythia (Forsythia suspensa), and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza spp.). Another potent antiviral, but slightly less effective than those previously mentioned is the Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).
When SARS group viruses - including the SARS-Cov-2 virus- enter the body, they attach to ACE-2 receptors found on the surface of cells. These receptors are where the virus infects our cells. These ACE-2 receptors are found on cells throughout the body, including in the lungs and digestive tract. Herbs that protect and regulate production of ACE-2 include: Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis), Elder (Sambucus spp.), Kudzu (Pueraria spp.), and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza spp.).
Inflammatory Cascade + the Cytokine Storm
An outpouring of inflammatory cytokines is released in the body when someone gets a SARS group virus infection like COVID-19. These cytokines are molecular messengers that regulate inflammation and immunity by signaling our immune system to activate. A cytokine storm occurs when there is an overproduction of both cytokines and immune cells.
When inflammatory cytokines begin flooding the body there are numerous effects that occur. At first, these are helpful to healing but if they progress unchecked they can begin to cause more damage and less healing. One example is increased permeability of the epithelium tissue layers in the lungs, allowing the virus to penetrate and worsen the infection. Medicinal herbs that help to regulate the cytokine response include: Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), Cordyceps (Cordyceps spp.), Astragalus (Astragalus spp.), Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis), and Kudzu (Pueraria spp.).
In addition to regulating the cytokine response to help reduce inflammation, it is also important to regulate the overall reaction of the immune system. Immune modulating herbs encourage our immune system to activate when necessary, but also calm down autoimmunity . They help to build up the strength and vitality of our immune system, while preventing any excessive reactions from occurring. These immune modulating herbs also happen to be anti-inflammatory, making them a robust addition to any immune formula. They include: Cordyceps (Cordyceps spp.), Astragalus (Astragalus spp.), and Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea).
As we previously mentioned, the virus attacks specific cells within the body - including ciliated epithelial cells in the lungs as well as dendritic cells (which are a type of cell within the immune system). Dendritic cells are especially important as they cue the immune system to respond appropriately to whatever pathogen is present. Cytokine storms can have a detrimental effect on the dendritic cells in our immune system, preventing them from maturing, which then inhibits production of immune boosting T-cells, further inhibiting the overall immune response. Botanicals that stimulate dendritic cell maturation, preventing the whole mess of immunosuppression include: Elder (Sambucus spp.), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza spp.), and Cordyceps (Cordyceps spp.).
Protect the Lungs
One of the more long-lasting damaging effects of viral infection is cellular and tissue damage. There are many reasons why this happens, but it occurs especially within the cells and tissues of the lungs. There are little appendages, called cilia, which are hair-like protrusions in lung cells that help move along cellular fluids and clear pathogens and debris. These ciliated cells are specifically targeted by the virus, where the virus replicates and then causes severe cellular damage. The adaptogenic mushroom Cordyceps (Cordyceps spp.) helps to protect these ciliated cells.
Additionally, another damaging condition called hypoxia often occurs. Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen in the person affected, but more specifically, in the cells of lung, lymph, and spleen tissues1. An adaptogenic herb, called Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), helps prevent hypoxia by increasing the efficiency of oxygen utilization and increasing intracellular oxygen diffusion.
Love Your Lymph
In addition to taking the above formula or herbs specifically geared towards COVID-19, we highly recommend supporting your lymphatic system. The lymphatic system, which makes up the bulk of our immune system, is how the body removes and rids itself of any unwanted pathogens and cellular debris. If you suspect you have a sluggish or overworked immune system, consider trying out this formula as part of your daily routine during the flu season. We have a lymph support tincture that is formulated specifically to promote movement and flow throughout the lymphatic system. Daily walks and regular exercise is also fundamental to encouraging healthy lymphatic flow.
What’s on the Shelf
Here are a few other products we have that include some of the ingredients mentioned above:
Immuno-Well RX - Forsythia (Forsythia suspensa) and Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).
Remedy’s Astragalus capsules
Remedy Elderberry syrup
Natura’s Throat and Gland Spray- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Natura’s Flew Away- Elderberry (Sambucus), Forsythia (Forsythia suspensa) and Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
Remedy’s Yin Chao Plus - Forsythia (Forsythia suspensa) and Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
Breathe by Host Defense, which contains the immune modulating mushrooms Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), and Cordyceps (Cordyceps spp.).
Thanks for tuning in! We know this article was a long one, but with rising concerns about the coronavirus infection COVID-19, we want you to feel as informed and prepared as possible! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We are wholly dedicated to the well-being of our family, friends, and community, so know that during these rather stressful times your Remedy family has your back!
5. https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202002.0193/v16. https://www.datapunk.net/covid19/antivirals.pl?fbclid=IwAR3glpl4F_oCGOzQKCumFl13y6pymotpJfeGjtnhTJkGrwFKE4yXY8kycSE