Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to lower your risk naturally
At this point, everyone is familiar with coronavirus. Store shelves are empty when it comes to toilet paper, hand sanitizer, even rubbing alcohol. Should we panic? As a certified women's health and functional nutrition coach and an (almost) certified aromatherapist ...can I offer a few suggestions first?
1. WASH YOUR HANDS
Of course, take the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and wash your hands often with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds (anyone want to write me a new song so I don't have to sing "Happy Birthday" 20X a day?)
See all of the recommendations from the CDC here:
2. HAND SANITIZER
In between washing your hands, when it's not an option...
If you can't get ahold of Purell or other hand sanitizers that are 60% alcohol then you can make you own using alcohol, aloe vera gel, and anti-viral essential oils.
2 ounces of rubbing alcohol (if that's out too, you can substitute vodka but keep in mind the alcohol content is much lower so make sure to include the anti-viral essential oils)
1 ounce of aloe vera gel (I love this totally natural stuff from Botanically Rooted)
18 drops total of anti-viral essential oils (see list in #3)
In an amber glass bottle with spray top, combine 1 ounce of aloe vera gel and the essential oils you're using. Add in the 2 ounces of alcohol and shake to mix well. Label and date it with an extra note to "shake before each use". It'll be good for up to 6 months.
3. ANTI-VIRAL MOISTURIZING BLEND
Use essential oils in a moisturizing blend for use on your hands through-out the day between washing your hands. Because let's be real, all that hand-washing has us reaching for lotion anyway!
Many essential oils have antimicrobial properties but here are a few common essential oils that were shown in a recent (2019) research study to exhibit significant (in vitro) anti-viral effects:
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- Melissa (Melissa officinalis)
- Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
- Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Other common essential oils known for their anti-viral properties are
- Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)
- Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
- Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)
In a 4 ounce amber glass jar drop in 24 drops total of your choice of essential oils listed above then fill the jar with a plain, fragrance-free white lotion like this one. Stir or shake to combine well and label.
For me personally I can't tolerate even a plain white lotion so I would use sweet almond oil in its place during the low-humidity months (jojoba or fractionated coconut oil for summer time).
4. THROAT SPRAY
This season can bring about dry and sore throats for reasons other than illness so throwing this "Sore Throat" spray recipe in here, too. Of course if you develop symptoms of respiratory illness, call your doctor and follow these guidelines from the CDC
1/2 cup Chamomile herb tea
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Teaspoon honey
2 drops Lavender essential oil
1 drop Lemon essential oil
1 drop Tea Tree essential oil
Brew the herbal tea and strain well and let cool. Add the vinegar. I a separate bowl mix essential oils with the honey then add the aromatic honey to the tea mixture. Pour into an amber glass spray bottle and label. Shake well before each use! Spray 1-2 sprays directly into your throat and mouth (be very careful not to spray your eyes or face). It can be swallowed*
Use up to 3X a day.
*Use certified organic, pure essential oils from a reputable source
5. HERBAL TEAS
Want to sip on some anti-viral herbal teas that also boost your immune system? Make your own dried/loose leaf combinations of these herbs:
6. Don't Fret
Take some deep breaths, pull your shoulders down & back, and recite your mantra (mine is "One Step, Enough For Me"... you can borrow it if you need one)
Stress and anxiety lower your immune function. It's been shown in the research over and over. Yes, actual immune cell counts lower when our system has to buffer against stress.
Research also shows that mindfulness-based meditation practices can reduce stress. It can also physically reduce the size of the amygdala in the brain, which is responsible for anxiety. And increase grey matter in the frontal lobe, which is responsible for reasoning and memory.
There are tons of apps and sites that offer guided meditation so you're sure to find the best one for you. My fav is Headspace. You can download the app for free and go through their beginners course (10 sessions) for free.
Lelešius, Raimundas, et al. “In Vitro Antiviral Activity of Fifteen Plant Extracts against Avian Infectious Bronchitis Virus.” BMC Veterinary Research, vol. 15, no. 1, 2019, doi:10.1186/s12917-019-1925-6.
Cooksley, Valerie, and Laraine Pounds. The Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy. Vol. 2, Floramed Publishing, 2017.
Cooksley, Valerie Gennari. Aromatherapy: a Holistic Guide to Natural Healing with Essential Oils. Floramed Publishing, 2015.
Stephanie Yeager: Passionate about spreading the word of hope and healing for those like her, influencing a paradigm shift in the medical community toward greater understanding of chronic pelvic pain disorders, and prevention initiatives that may protect young women before onset can occur.