Dr Hammond often quotes Louis Pasteur “the germ is nothing, the terrain is everything”.
Whilst we know that some viruses such as Ebola, SARS and Cornoavirus are particularly virulent and contagious, there are many things that people can do to increase their immunity and decrease their chances of acquiring infections. A recent release by the College of Medicine highlights the following ways we can defend ourselves against the Coronavirus.
There is no treatment or vaccine currently available. As with other viral infections antibiotics will not be effective (unless there are secondary bacterial infections).
Although with current rates of spread we must now expect more cases near us, so far this strain of coronavirus is relatively mild but there are good reasons to build up our resilience. The main risks are to people who are already vulnerable or infirm, the very young and old, or with pre-existing conditions like lung disease and diabetes. For these groups active health-promotion will be particularly important.
Below are some home remedies with evidence for improving defences against respiratory viral infections. This evidence relates to other respiratory infections but the principle of improving resistance is likely to apply to protection against this strain of coronavirus.
In the unlikely event that you do contract the virus, the remedies recommended to relieve the symptoms of flu and the common cold may also be helpful.
Home remedies with evidence for improving defences against upper respiratory viral infections.
Fruit & Vegetables
Polyphenols, such as flavonoids and anthocyanidins, are very common constituents of plants, fruit and vegetables, especially those that are coloured. Supplementation with polyphenols has been shown to reduce the incidence and shorten the duration of colds and viral infections. High natural sources of polyphenols are red grapes (and red wine), cocoa (as in 70% + chocolate!), blueberries, any other coloured fruit, and pomegranate.
There is clinical trial evidence that mushroom supplements (containing β-glucans and other immunoactive constituents) reduce the incidence of respiratory tract infections. The main species studied are reishi (ganoderma), shiitake, and maitake mushrooms. Yeast supplements may also be helpful and are generally more available.
If choosing medicinal mushroom supplements, it is wise to choose a reputable supplier rather than buy indiscriminately on the internet.
The benefits of supplements may also be obtained by eating a range of mushrooms in the diet, and these are widespread as foods around the world. However there is no direct evidence for this.
In research studies of mixed quality, various probiotic supplements, especially containing strains of Lactobacillusand Bifidobacteria, have been shown to reduce the frequency, duration and intensity of respiratory infections, especially in children.
All these benefits were seen after at least several weeks consumption of these probiotics and it is less likely that short term use will have much impact. Probiotics may therefore best be seen as preventative rather than as treatments.
There is good quality evidence that vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of catching colds or other respiratory infections.
Regular dosing is more effective than taking the vitamin intermittently and benefits will be felt most by people who are depleted in the vitamin. However in Britain and other urban cultures and where there is less exposure to sunlight, vitamin D deficiency is quite common.
* Official guidance from the UK government, the UK NHS and World Health Organisation
The priority in managing the risks from this new strain of coronavirus is to follow latest guidelines above, so that any cases are isolated (including self-isolation if there is a reasonable risk you have been infected). Notification is also vital, so that public health measures can be applied. However this should be by phoning (111 in the UK): health centres do not need the risk of further contagion.
It is most important that we do all we can to stop the spread of the virus. It appears to be relatively contagious and there is already evidence that it can spread before there are symptoms like coughing. This means that as well as airborne transmission it could be transmitted by direct contact. The advice is to wash hands frequently with soap or sanitary hand gels, and carefully dispose of tissues and other possibly contagious materials.
Knowledge and best practice in the health field are constantly changing. Each person and illness is also unique and no general information can anticipate every circumstance, nor be appropriate for every reader. Each individual case is best assessed in person by a qualified health advisor.
In the case of remedies or other products, users should read the label carefully for detailed information about safe use and in the case of natural products should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and safety monitoring procedures.
To the fullest extent of the law, neither the College of Medicine nor the authors, contributors or editors, assume any liability for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions or ideas contained in the materials herein.
Reliable Ways to Look after yourselves, – Self care and Social prescription resources from College of Medicine.