Covid Care Part 1
A common symptom of virus Covid 19 is to cause the body to form copious amounts of mucus that hardens and obstructs airways. The same mechanism that does this may also effect blood vessel walls that can lead to heart attack, stroke and kidney damage for some people. This post focuses on respiratory protection since pneumonia is a common secondary infection. Knowing how to take care of yourself when you are told to stay home begins now. We start while we’re healthy to use plant power to keep respiratory passages open and strong and keep our lymph systems running clear.
The power of essential oils. Doctors and thieves during the Bubonic Plague used plants with strong essential oils to protect themselves. They made masks (some looking like long bird beaks) and filled them with fresh plant material high in essential oils: thyme, rosemary, sage, fennel, fennel, wormwood, clove, cinnamon etc. Plants produce compounds to protect themselves from insects and other predators, they are part of the plants immune system and change with environmental conditions. Through distillation of plant material, we can extract these compounds and use the resulting essential oils in sprays, carrier oils and lotions, household cleaning products and spray the outside of our masks for extra protection.
Home sanitizers and room spray. For hand/surface sanitizer you need 60% alcohol solution (vodka + addition of Everclear or another high ethanol). You can also use isopropyl alcohol of 70-90% to add in, though it is more toxic. Use roughly one third of the 75+% alcohols to two thirds of 40 % one. If you are starting with 90% alcohol, you can dilute with water, hydrosol and/or aloe gel (to keep skin from getting too dry). Room sprays can be made with half part vodka to half part filtered water and essential oils added. Room sprays are not used for sanitizing surfaces but the aromas dissuade microbes and protect lungs and sinuses. Drop in essential oils, shake and test. Oils vary in strength and quality – always test and then add more using your nose as a guide. It should smell strong but not over-powering. Try a single oil like eucalyptus, or up to three, example: thyme-lemongrass-eucalyptus.
Re-entry of car and home-cleaning. Keep sanitizer spray by your door with a clean rag and use it to stop and spray your keys, cards/wallet, phone, walkers/canes before you take off your outer wear and go to sink to wash hands and face (singing as you do . . .). Don’t forget to wipe down steering wheel, inside door handles, electronic devices, dog leash and backpack/purse handles. Your mask can be washed then too. Hang outer clothes outside on a sunny day or subject to the dryer or a blowing heater. This is the time to adopt the custom of everyone taking their shoes off before entering the house, if you haven’t already done so.
Keep nasal passages clear and open. If you tend to accumulate mucus there normally, use a netti-pot/nasal wash 2-4 times a week to keep mucus from accumulating. Nasal rinses can include strong herbal teas like oregano, sage, pine/fir, yarrow tops, eucalyptus, clove added to the salt water (1:1 ratio). You can also make a nasal-protecting oil by carefully diluting small amounts of essential oil (rosemary, tea tree, mint, lavender can work) in olive oil or coconut oil (1:10 ratio). Then swab oil just inside your nostrils so you are breathing oils in as you move about in public. Finally, steaming is a relaxing way to breathe in oils and fill the respiratory passages with immune aid. Add essential oil to boiled water in a bowl or bring one or more fresh herbs mentioned above to a boil, take off heat and carefully bring your face over the steam with a towel over your head to create a tent. Take deep inhales and exhales. This is very effective when your breathing is compromised.
Ways to use the herbs in your garden (or pantry) to protect your body.
Gargles – You can cleanse your throat now and then by gargling, especially before bed or especially if you feel a slight soreness or scratchiness. Simply make a half cup tea with sage, rosemary, oregano of thyme, echinacea or calendula leaf (fresh is great but dried works too!), add sea salt and let it sit covered until tepid, strain and use as gargle – you can store in a jar in the fridge for two days, but warm it up before using. If you are getting a sore throat, gargle at least twice a day, you can also add vitamin C powder, herbs in tincture form or colloidal silver to gargles. Allergies can cause sore throat but so do viruses – both can be treated with gargling and throat sprays that contain propolis and herbs. Up your immune herbs like raw garlic that will ‘perfume’ your throat for hours.
Daily Teas. Make with any one or combination of: lemon balm, sage, thyme, dandelion, ceanothus leaf, fir, yarrow, plantain, lavender, calendula, rosemary, fir, mint, chickweed, mallow, mullein, fennel, yerba santa, cleavers, nettle, horehound and many more – observe what is growing around you and if little is available, purchasing dried bulk herbs or packaged teas (lung and detox varieties) will do! Make fresh teas by cleaning and breaking-up herbs into vessel (coffee presses work well for this), filling it a third of the way with plant material, then pour boiling water over, cover and steep. The longer the stronger. An easy way to do this is in the evening before bed so it sits overnight as a long infusion. Strain tea in the morning and bottle, then reheat a cup at a time to drink throughout the day, or drink as an ice-tea on hot days. All these plants contain healthy mineral salts that move lymph plus antioxidants and oils that provide vibrant easily assimilated food for our cells and our souls.
Kitchen Herbs. Make every meal medicinal by freely adding ginger, oregano, basil/Italian herb blends, wasabi, mustard and mustard greens, cayenne/chilis, curry powder spices, horseradish (all radishes and onions are your friends) – Herbs that physically move mucus and make you cry! Keep your kitchen spices up to date and use fresh when you can. You can also combine herbs and spices in apple cider vinegar with or without raw honey – see my recipe for Supertonic with Herbs.