So you have Covid 19, now what? Do not fear! No matter how healthy you are, you, at some point will get sick. It is a natural response, and in fact one that is perfectly normal. When we get sick, and if we treat it appropriately and recover, then our bodies will be stronger because of it.
There is a lot of conflicting and confusing information out there about COVID 19 and it seems that daily, what we have been told changes. With all the astronomical numbers coming out about the amount of positive COVID tests then it seems to be the doom of it is not a matter of 'if' you get the virus, but 'when'. So common sense, a healthy immune system and listening to your body is imperative when it comes to dealing with this concerning virus.
Did you know as of March 2020 WHO States that For COVID-19, data suggest that 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15% are severe infection, requiring oxygen and 5% are critical infections, requiring ventilation
If you are lucky, you won't experience any signs or symptoms at all. But if you do, here are some common COVID 19 symptoms that you may experience:
Usually within 2-14 days after exposure to the virus you may experience:
Emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If you or someone you know is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Western Medicine, or allopathic medicine can sometimes offer little that is effective against viruses except to manage the symptoms. Often, the products used are counter to the body’s natural immune response. For instance, when a virus is attempting to establish colonies in the nasal mucosa, the sinuses instinctively discharge a steady stream of mucous to carry the virus away - out of the nose or down the throat to the stomach, where the hydrochloric acid in the stomach will naturally kill the virus. Antihistamines are usually given, and although this will make a person temporarily more comfortable, the antihistamine will dry out the membranes and prevent the body’s vital defense tactic. And if you have read or listened to any of my previous ayurvedic videos or blogs about prevention, you will know that oiling the nasal passages is one of our first lines of defense in preventing a cold/flu in the first place. Drying out the nasal mucosa after we have obtained a virus is counterintuitive to the body and can at times put us more at risk for higher infection.
Another example is fever. Fever is the body’s way of raising the metabolic rate, increasing the movement of white blood cells, which by the way, is our body's way of attacking the virus and destroying it. The fever is designed to raise the body’s temperature out of the preferred range of the pathogens thus making it an unfavorable environment for the virus to want to stick around. Yet, if we take aspirin or Tylenol to lower fever, we again defeat the body’s natural responses.
In Ayurveda, we treat each viral infection differently. Ayurveda recognizes that there are different types of colds and flus and depending on the person’s doshic makeup, will most of the time determine how the person’s body will respond to the virus and then we treat accordingly. We use the person’s doshic makeup or blueprint, determine the type of virus and then determine a plan of care.
For the flu there are generally 3 different types. There is the wet type, dry type and hot type of flu.
The goal of each type is to reduce phlegm, reduce ama (toxins), reduce fever (if it is out of control), induce sweating and clear the bowels.
For the wet type of flu the treatment in general is tulsi, pippali, cinnamon, dry ginger and/or ephedra. Breathing in a steam inhalation of thyme, eucalyptus, rosemary and camphor is beneficial to help clear the lungs.
For the Dry type the treatment is cardamom, cinnamon, fresh ginger, castor oil.
For the Hot type the treatment is sitopaladi, mahasurdarshan, lemon grass, vasa and/or kalmegh. For a fever breathing a steam inhalation of lavender and chamomile can be beneficial.
Here are 10 Ayurvedic Remedies for all the flu types. These simple remedies have been found to be very effective:
Tulsi is considered one of the most purifying Ayurvedic herbs. When it comes to colds and flus, tulsi can help reduce headaches and fevers, relieve congestion, and support digestion. Mildly warming, tulsi is known for soothing the nerves, supporting healthy emotions, and enhancing mental clarity. It is recommended that people fighting the flu try drinking one or two cups of tulsi a day. Avoid tulsi during pregnancy or high-pitta conditions like acid reflux or hot flashes.
Turmeric is an immune-boosting spice. There may not be a better herb to amp up the immunity needed to fight off a flu, as it boasts natural anti-viral properties as well as energy-, mood-, and digestion-boosting properties. At the first sign of the flu, simply mix together equal parts raw honey and turmeric powder. Take 1 teaspoon of the paste every few hours. To make the formula more potent, mix 16 parts turmeric to 1 part black pepper and make a paste with raw honey.
Ginger tea is good for more than your digestion—it is also a powerful expectorant and helps get rid of phlegm (kapha dosha). Try a cup of this pungent, warming tea to expel congestion, reduce gas and bloating and support good circulation. To make your own ginger tea steep three to five slices of fresh ginger in hot water. Note: Anyone with ulcers, inflammatory skin conditions, or bleeding disorders should avoid ginger tea.
This adaptogenic herb has been shown to reduce stress and boost the immune system. An adaptogen, it helps restore the endurance, energy, and stamina we need to fight the flu. It is an herb with overall nervine tonic benefits—energizing the body when it needs it during the day and calming overactive nerves for easy and restful sleep at night. To help fight the flu, take 500 milligrams of the whole root after meals. Note that it’s always wise to check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Gentle yoga can help when you’re feeling under the weather. Practicing mindful breathing can clear congestion, enhance circulation, and restore a balanced energy flow throughout your body. Try completing one to three minutes of Complete Yogic Breath, or Three-Part Breath (dirgha pranayama) several times per day. Here’s how: Sit up or lie down with a long, straight spine. Direct the inhalation down toward the belly, then take in more breath to flare the ribcage, and finally take in a bit more breath for the upper chest (never force or strain), exhale thoroughly and begin again. The breath may feel heavy and resistant at first, but with mindful repetition, this simple practice can help clear, purify, and lighten the body and mind when most needed.
The skin is the largest organ of your body, and it can have up to 1 billion microbes per square centimeter. Not only that, but the sensory neurons on the skin can be aggravated by many different environmental factors, such as weather, stress, travel, clothing, and more. Applying dosha specific oil to the skin can calm these neurons and as a result the central nervous system, which needs a full tank of fuel when fighting the flu. Oiling the skin can keep the skin microbiome healthy, which in turn supports our immunity and the active communication between the skin microbes, the environmental microbes, the gut microbes and the function of the whole body.
Sun exposure can do wonders for your immune system. Studies have shown that people who get less sun exposure are twice as likely to get a cough and three times as likely to get a runny nose, compared to those with the most sun exposure. The reason behind this is vitamin D3, which activates immune-boosting proteins. To make sure you are getting an adequate amount of vitamin D3, spend some time outside or supplement with 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.
This trick is a simple and effective Ayurvedic favorite. Gargling warm salt water not only helps loosen any stubborn mucus in the throat, it also cleans out bacteria and germs. “Dissolve a half teaspoon of high-quality Himalayan salt or sea salt into a half cup of warm water. Gargle for at least 30 seconds and repeat twice a day while sick, and at least once a day throughout the week after sickness has cleared up. It is recommended to do this rinse on an empty stomach and check with your doctor if you are on a sodium-restricted diet. Make sure to clean the cup you use in between rinses to avoid bacteria building up.
The flu can really run you down and compromise your immune system, making it harder to fight back against the virus. “The ability to employ your own immunity can be enhanced by delivering the immune-boosting nutrition we need by ingesting one of Ayurveda’s most famous rejuvenating formulas called Chyawanprash. Chyawanprash has over 40 different herbs and is full of vitamin C and antioxidants needed to help fight off the flu.
Combat the flu with healthy food. Ayurveda treats symptoms with opposite qualities, so when bogged down with thick, heavy, sticky congestion, Ayurveda recommends eating light, clear foods. Seek out clear broths, clear liquids, and vegetables that take on a translucent quality once they’re cooked, like bitter leeks, bok choy, celery, kale, and asparagus. Avoid foods that might be harder to digest, like meat, dairy, and sticky breads. Nourish your body with organic bone broths and kitchari. If you do not know how to make kitchari click HERE for a link to my delicious and nourishing kitchari video.
Your body is intelligent. Listen to what it needs. Try not to treat the symptoms too quickly, but if they do make you so uncomfortable that you cannot eat or are miserable breathing then give yourself some grace and take an antihistamine or a Tylenol. Combat the side effects of these medications by oiling the nose with nasya oil and nourishing the body with whole, organic pure foods.
If you apply these principles and are patient, in the end you will develop a stronger and healthier immune system and if COVID 19 sticks around and/or recirculates next year like most viruses, you should be more immune to it and better equipped so that you can help others who might be suffering with the symptoms of COVID 19. We live in a temporary body that is subject to the laws of this earth. As long as we are on this earth, then we will get sick. It happens. The golden key is to keep yourself healthy, strong and thus prepared for life's setbacks.
Hope this helps! May you stay safe. May you stay strong. May you have peace no matter what you endure. May your loved ones be well.
Berohn, Katherine. “Ayurveda's 10 Best Flu Survival Tips for a Speedy Recovery.” Yoga Journal, 21 Feb. 2018, www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/ayurvedas-10-best-flu-survival-tips.
Miller, Light, and Bryan Miller. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: the Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing. Motilal Banarsicass, 2005.
Pole, Sebastian. Ayurvedic Medicine: the Principles of Traditional Practice. Churchill Livingstone, 2006.
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