COVID-19: Vital Information + Herbal Support For The CoronaVirus Epidemic

As we celebrate our second year in business as a brick and mortar apothecary, I am struck with profound gratitude and recognition of how far we have come and how much love and effort has gone into our apothecary. We have felt encouraged by the entire peak to peak community and have found partners and support from herbalists, herbal brands, and herb growers all over Colorado.  


While I would love to be in full-on Second Year Birthday celebration mode, I have, like I’m sure you have, been recently inundated with urgent and truly frightening news, statistics, and images.  I am more aware now than ever how important our work is and will continue to be toward building health and resilience in the community.  


We will maintain our mission of service to our local community and beyond.  We will do our best to provide you with information and resources so that you and your family can feel empowered, aware, and most importantly, calm and grounded.  There are few things that can spread as quickly and fiercely as fear and panic. Try to stay calm, take deep breaths, and tune in to your own body. Remember that we are all unique in how our bodies respond to the threat of illness or illness itself, and you may need to put into practice a more or less intensive health regimen in order to stay well right now.  Honor your intuition, boundaries, and needs.  

 


{PSA - Updated 3/12/2020: 

We have decided to temporarily close our physical store in Nederland due to the rising health concerns around COVID-19 (CoronaVirus) and in an effort to help slow its spread in our area. Our online shop will still be up and running during this time and we are working on creating a local pick-up system so that our community still has access to the herbs, supplements, and products they need while we are closed. Please stay tuned for more information on this temporary pick-up system as it will only be available select days of the week and we are still ironing out the details with our staff.

Logistics aside: we all deeply appreciate your understanding during this time so much as this was such a difficult decision for us to make. Ultimately, we feel this will be the best temporary solution that we can make to protect our staff, our space, and our community. Please remember that our apothecary is a hub for many folks who have compromised health and/or pre-existing health conditions who are significantly more at-risk in regards to this virus than are other populations. This means that we are responsible for taking extra precautions beyond what the larger community, county, and state are requiring at this point. Thank you all again so much for your understanding and for respecting our decision and please stay tuned for more information to come! Please feel free to call, email, or direct message us with any questions or concerns you might have in the meantime. We are so looking forward to the day when we can put this crisis behind us and reopen our doors to receive our community over herbal tea, conversation, and plant magic! }


 

In the wake of the recent and rapidly evolving Coronavirus threat, I am, like many herbalists, reviewing all of the important and ever-growing lists of Chinese, Western, and Ayurvedic herbal allies and the assortment of alternative methods and products that can help us build our immunity and resilience in an ever-changing ecosystem of microbial influences.  


Let me remind you, as I’ve had to remind both myself, my colleagues, and my community - what little we really know and understand about this virus should attune us to the fact that of all the life that has ever existed on this planet, viruses are some of the oldest and most profoundly intelligent. That being said, our bodies are also made up of some pretty dang intelligent and sophisticated organisms and processes, to help prepare us for pandemics such as SARS 2/COVID-19. Since, not all of us have the same access to essential nutrients and foods, or innate immunological resilience, it is important to explore alternative methods and practices to support your body in the best way possible.  Through working with specific herbal allies and foods, and staying vigilant about getting good sleep and managing stress whenever possible, our choices now can go a very long way in helping to reduce the severity and length of illness in many cases.  


I provided a list of articles related to COVID-19 support at the end of this article written by nationally known herbalists, some of whom I know and have learned from personally.  I trust each of them, their insight, and their adeptness at researching before responding. Some of these articles are a little bit techincal, targeted more for practitioners, but each article contains gems of information and reminders so that you can feel informed instead of panicked.  

 


Looking for just a little bit of info for now?  You can also check out this blog on some of our staff’s favorite immune-boosting herbs here


Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner. But through years of formal study and self-study in the fields of herbalism, nutrition, and cultivation, I feel empowered to speak on how herbs can offer incredible synergy within our own physiology, especially in helping build immuno-resilience.  I am also a part of the population that is very much at risk in the scenario of possible exposure, with my own existing conditions including Lyme Disease and Epstein Barr Virus. I say without a doubt, that yes, elderly and immunocompromised folks should 100% take extra precautions, just as we do in all cases of infectious disease.  Healthy folks should also do their best to remember these vulnerable populations when making their decisions so that we can collectively slow the spread of COVID-19 and not overwhelm our medical infrastructure. We all need to work together, whether it be about dealing with world-wide pandemics, ecological degradation, human and animal rights, and so many more important issues...



In order to serve the community in the best way we can, we are stocking up on all of our favorite herbs, herbal products, and supplements that can offer support for the immune, respiratory, and nervous systems which are all greatly affected by COVID-19.  As always, please consult with your medical practitioner before working with any new supplements or herbs especially if you have any underlying health conditions, are taking any medications, or if you are pregnant.  


The staff at Alpine Botanicals have adopted diverse and incredible herbal and supplement protocols.  Regardless of who is working at the apothecary when you visit, you are sure to share in inspired conversation about how we can each best support ourselves.  Below I share just a few of my daily go-tos from what we carry in the shop. In addition to these, I also try to drink a lot of fresh ginger root tea (a potent immune and digestive focused herb) or a daily cup of our Mountain Root Chai to keep my liver and elimination systems in tip-top shape, to help clear surplus hormones, and to keep my core temperature warm and active.  

 


Alpine Botanical’s Cold & Flu Brew

This delicious all organic herbal tea blend is a customer favorite for helping soothe a dry sore throat and provide an array of immune-supportive herbs.  It includes some of the herbs identified in the articles below that have been recognized for their potential application in working with viruses, specifically those that impact the respiratory system.  These include Elderflower, Cinnamon chips, Slippery Elm Bark, and Lemon Balm. We suggest adding a squeeze of fresh organic lemon juice for an added boost of nutrients, in particular an ideal form of bioavailable vitamin C.  

 

Host Defense Stamets 7

Immune-boosting mushrooms are your best friends right now and will be in high demand in the coming weeks and months!  We love the Stamets 7 formula and I personally use it every single day. Not only do the mushrooms in this formula provide a wide array of protective antioxidants, but they also contain important constituents for supporting a healthy immune response, called “immunomodulating polysaccharides”.   I increase or decrease the dosage and frequency of use for this formula depending on factors like how much sleep I’ve gotten, monthly hormonal fluctuations, risk of exposure to illness, and time of year.   

 

The following Herb Pharm Liquid Extracts for Preliminary Care:

  • Herb Pharm Astragalus Extract - I take extra care to protect and safeguard my lungs in the case of a SARS family virus, named for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, known to wreak havoc on lung tissue and the hairlike-cilia which line the lungs and allow us to effectively expectorate mucus.  If allowed to build up during illness, stagnant mucus can lead to pneumonia. Check out Stephen Harold Buhner’s article below for more on herbal therapeutics for COVID-19 and how Astragalus can support the lungs.  
  • Herb Pharm Lemon Balm and/or Lavender Extract - Helping promote a sense of calm in oneself is an important step in staying resilient to infection.  Acute and chronic stress responses can hijack our body’s normal immune response. I love both Lemon Balm and Lavender for helping calm the mind and breath, while also providing their own immune-supportive constituents to the body.  If you’re not a fan of liquid extracts, you can enjoy these together in a simple tea, or check out our Alpine Botanicals Cold & Flu Brew (contains Lemon Balm) and Alpine Botanicals Calming Tea 

  • The following Herb Pharm Liquid Extracts for Acute Care

  • Rapid Immune Boost - General immune-boosting herbal formula that works as an active responder when the immune system is under an acute threat. A powerful formula combining respiratory system supportive herbs like Osha and Yerba Santa, viral supportive herbs like Elderberry and Ginger, and bacterial modulating herbs including Echinacea and Goldenseal. 
  • Virattack - Specific formula for supporting the body’s response to acute viral infection. 

  • There are many other specific herbal allies and foods, along with lifestyle tips and tricks that can help promote a greater sense of wellbeing. The most vital thing we can do is to listen to our own body’s intuition around how to best take care of ourselves.

     

    As Michigan-based herbalist Jim Mcdonald reminds us, “Different people have different constitutions and will respond to the same illness differently, indicating different herbs”.


    Along those same lines, Rosalee de Foret reminds us that it’s “by working with your own immune system and using supporting and nourishing practices that you will have the best chances at seeing beneficial results from using herbs.”


    Now is the time to employ all the tools in your self-care toolbox.  And encourage your friends and community to do the same. As always, we are here for you! 


    Take care, and eat a lot of garlic!


    Kate

     



    Interesting and Informative Articles Regarding Coronavirus, Herbal Therapies, and More


    >> First off, where in the US are there confirmed cases?  See this page for updates.  

    >> From herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt - read article here

    >> From Medical Herbalist Paul Bergner - read article here

    >> From herbalist Matthew Wood - read article here

    >> “Report from the Front Line in Wuhan”, By Liu Lihong; Institute for the Research and Preservation of Classical Chinese Medicine, Guanxi University of TCM - read article here

    >> From herbalist Jim Mcdonald - read article here 

    >> From herbalist Sevensong - read article here

    >> INCREDIBLE and long article by Stephen Harrod Buhner - read here

    >> A growing series of mini-articles from MD, herbalist, and Integrative Medicine Doctor Aviva Romm - read articles here

    >> and lastly, read thisAnd wash your hands.

     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Kate Miller is a community herbalist, Biodynamic herb grower, and eco-social activist.  She is the owner and founder of Alpine Botanicals Artisan Apothecary in Nederland.  Read more about Kate and her story here.  

    2 comments

    Mary, could you or anyone kindly share any reputable resources for further education on the elderberry and echinacea concerns? Am currently digging in. Thanks!

    alida March 13, 2020

    Yes to most of this! Thank you for posting.
    Important to note:
    Elderberry + Echinacea, while helpful for many cold/flu cases, aren’t helpful when it comes to COVID-19. Elderberry and Echinacea both increase cytokine production, and COVID-19 in particular is already creating a hyperactive cytokine response in your system, similar to an auto-immune disease. So, if you take Elderberry extract or Echinacea extract and further increase the cytokine production, it can intensify the the process to a dangerous and potentially deadly level. Please consider editing this article.

    Mary Taylor March 13, 2020

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