Are you hugging?
That’s what my friend, Lori, co-owner of the Yaupon Teahouse in Savannah, Georgia (a delightful shop serving up the only native North American source of caffeine, along with herbal products including yaupon, and classes I’ll be teaching [a podcast and blog on the incredible yaupon research they’ve done soon]) asked as we saw each other again. It was mid March and the reality of coronavirus/COVID-19 was starting to set in, along with the accompanying fear, for a lot of people. I’ve been wanting to write an article about it since then, but have been waiting because more resources keep surfacing, and I want to include them all. Then I realized that they’re multiplying faster than anyone can keep up with, so I’ll just keep updating this article as they come in. Please add any good articles/resources you’ve found to the comments below.
First I’m going to tell you what I don’t want this article to be, and then what I do.
I do not want this article to be a list of herbs that you can take and specific protocols for fighting the virus. Why not? Because:
1. I feel that there are lots of articles, many from highly reputable herbalists, already doing that, and you can look below or easily do a search and pick and choose what makes sense to you. And I really do encourage you to do your own research. As herbalism is a holistic science, I think it’s always important to remind ourselves that not every herb/remedy works for every body.
2. I feel like the general media and big agencies are putting a big emphasis on a few tactics we can use for prevention, i.e. social distancing, handwashing, cleaning surfaces; and are ignoring so many other simple, natural, and available options.
3. As an Herbalist (ie a health practitioner that of an unlicensed branch in the US), I cannot make any claims, prescribe, treat, cure, or diagnose. Just by writing this article, I'm putting myself at risk. You might want to print it out, in case I have to take it down.
I do want this article to give you those simple options in an accessible way, along with some awesome resources for you to feel empowered.
The words “social distancing” have been making me cringe every time I hear or read them. The R in WANDER School stands for “Reconnection”. I believe that the biggest issues in the world today, causing dis-ease and unhappiness, are disconnection, of people to each other and to nature. Creating more isolation and loneliness seems like one of the worst things we can do right now. Connection keeps our immune symptoms more highly functioning.
Don’t get me wrong, I support everyone’s right to handle this the best way we all see how. And minimizing our contact with others, especially large groups, could help a lot to contain the virus. My friend Lori created a term I love to describe one way of looking at this situation, “unintended opportunities”. Here’s some unintended opportunities that I can see:
For me, an unintended opportunity is time to focus on getting online education finished and launched. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, to answer your requests for more accessible botanical education, no matter your location or schedule. Chek out my brand new foraged e-cookbook, The Wild Foraged Life (included for Patrons on Patreon at the $10/month level and above), and my upcoming herbal medicine making video series, The Wild Herbal Life.
Speaking of which, now more than ever, your support of small businesses is needed, if you’re able. And it’s the perfect time for home education. (If you’d like to continue your wild edible and herbal education while you’re sitting at home, check out The WANDER School’s Patreon site for ongoing education in the form of botanical ID videos, foraged cooking classes, podcast bonus material, and workshop summaries.)
Here’s some suggestions from what I’m doing myself to keep myself and my family healthy and prevent illness. If you are pregnant, have health conditions, or are taking medication, please check with your health practitioner before trying anything new. And remember that we are all individuals with different bodies, chemistry, and needs. Your body may react differently and not like some of this. The best thing you can do for your health is to listen to your body.
As promised, here are a bunch of articles for your own research on what to be aware of and what to do/herbs and supplements to take for prevention and if you get the virus:
COVID-19 Resources - American Herbalists Guild - A huge collection of articles and resources from a wide array of herbalists and others
COVID-19: An Integrative MDs Commonsense Approach - Aviva Romm - A collection of articles written by MD, Herbalist, and Midwife, Aviva Romm, including info on the virus and pregnancy and breastfeeding, autoimmune disease, general symptoms, and how to talk to kids about the virus
COVID-19 Community Care Center - Herbalista Free Clinic - As always, an incredible breadth of knowledge on a wide variety of topics, from dealing with the virus in community, to sanitation guidelines, and a plethora of recipes (including hand sanitizer)
Herbal Treatment for Coronavirus Infections - Stephen Harrod Buhner - A good explanation of how the virus works, many suggestions for specific herbs and formulas, though some herbs are Asian and may not be readily available in the US
An Herbalist’s Note on the COVID-19 Virus - 7Song - A helpful resource for herbalists, especially those who work with clients/in clinics
Coronavirus Disease (COVID 19) - Oscar Sierra - some great preventative measures that you might not have heard, with helpful herbs for the virus, and some good info on zinc and how to take it
What’s the Deal with Elderberry and Cytokine Storm? - Larken Bunce - answers questions that have been coming up lately about possible adverse effects of elderberry, with folks with autoimmune issues and the general public.
Coronavirus Resources - Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism - various resources and a free webinar with Matt and Phyllis Light 3/23
COVID-19 Resources - Heartfelt Tidbits - Info on the virus, activities for kids, how to get or give help (from a fabulous nonprofit in SW Ohio that supports immigrants and refugees)
To close, I want to let you know that I understand what you’re going through and support you. We're all feeling so much and it's important to let ourselves feel it, honor it, and make space for tons of rest. I’m sending you my love, virtual hugs, and healing herbal energy.
Please comment with your thoughts, what is working for you, and any resources you’ve enjoyed that you’d like to share with our community. And if you appreciate this information and you can, please support this important work, especially now when it makes the biggest impact, by becoming a patron on Patreon (as low as $5/month) and the upcoming online education I’ll be offering. Are you on the WANDER School email list? If not, sign up now so you’ll know when all this cool education is released. In the meantime, thanks for being you, being awesome, and stay healthy.
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