14 Easy Methods of Viral Infection Protection – Naturally

 In COVID-19, Herbal & Traditional Wisdom, Holistic Tools & Strategies, Lifestyle Practices

The best protection against viral infection is a healthy immune system.  

Our bodies are home to 100 times more viruses than human cells, and viruses have influenced the evolution of life on this planet in significant ways throughout the ages.  With this in mind, and as the Delta and other variants of the Coronavirus arise, we might consider how we can stand in right relationship to viruses in general, and to the Coronavirus and its variants specifically.

Did you know that a virus gave mammals the defining ability to carry their unborn baby inside the placenta of the mother?

This is just 1 (very potent) example of how human DNA has been gifted evolutionary updates from viruses over time.  “New studies revealing the role of endogenous retroviruses in the more recent evolution of humans show that these snippets of DNA are helping to blur the boundary between human and virus. Humans are, in a very real sense, part virus.”

Co-existence, not embattlement, is a shift of paradigm and mindset that enables us to live happily and peacefully despite the on-going “threat” of coronavirus – just as with Lyme-borreliosis and other potentially destructive infections. 

Chronic fear and anxiety that leads to feeling powerless and overwhelmed is harmful to your immune system (and absolutely no fun).  Yet responding proactively to something that triggers legitimate fear puts us into right relationship with our instincts and our environment.

We already possess the capacity to stay healthy and successfully fight disease (thank you amazing immune system!) – but are we caring for it like the precious life-preserving treasure that it is?

There is much you can do to fortify your body’s ability to handle exposure to viruses successfully.  The stronger you are in your self (cell-f), the greater your capacity for resilience against any stressor (and given what we know about our symbiotic relationship with most viruses, perhaps the real threat is not the SARS-COV-2 itself as much as it is the divisiveness and disconnection the pandemic has fueled).  

Viral Infection Protection:  

If you want to be ready and resilient for everything life has in store, including the next virus or variant that’s making the rounds, implement these easy, free or low-cost immune boosting tools into your day.

  1. Sleep:  Sleep and circadian rhythm exerts a strong regulatory influence on the immune system.  The relationship is complex and multi-faceted, but the connection between poor sleep and poor health outcomes is clear.  Enjoy at least 8 hours of deep sleep nightly.
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  2. Exercise:  Multiple studies confirm the deeply beneficial impact that exercise has on the immune system.  In addition to many other complex effects, exercise moves white blood cells more quickly through the body leading to faster response time to infection.  Moderate-intensity exercise for 30-45 minutes is ideal for boosting immunity on a daily basis.
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  3. Breathing:  Oxygenating the blood through deep diaphragmatic breathing boosts natural killer cells and reduces stress chemistry.  Take 10 deep 3-part breaths upon waking, while driving, during a work break, and before going to bed.  It’s a profoundly effective way to self-regulate your body and mind.
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  4. Healthy cleansing diet:  One of the most powerful tools for strengthening your immune system is food.  There are 2 important rules to follow.

    1. Don’t overeat.  Excessive consumption, even of healthy organic foods, leads to congestion in the system, and burdens the body with too much to process.  It’s like having a home with too many possessions and clutter – you’re always overworking to clean up, clear away and process everything – it ends up draining your energy rather than providing abundance.
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    2. Eat mostly vegetables and fruits.  I recommend fresh juices, smoothies, stir-fries, roasted veggies, soups and stews that are veggie-centric.  Beans, meats and grains can be a complement but are not the primary providers of the phytonutrients that fuel the immune system:  folate, zinc, iron, beta-carotene, vitamins A, B6 and 12, C, D and E.
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  5. Vitamin D / Sunshine:  Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased susceptibility to infection and is clearly associated with worse outcome in those infected by COVID-19.  Most people spend excessive time indoors and do not receive adequate sunshine (the body’s natural production of Vitamin D is triggered by receiving UBV light rays on the skin).  I recommend spending as much time outdoors as possible soaking in the sun’s rays during the summer months.  During the darker time of year, supplement with 5,000 IU / day (or more if blood tests show Vitamin D levels lower than 40).
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  6. Zinc:  I am not a vitamin junkie, but if your diet is less than optimal, take 50 mg / day of zinc picolinate.  Zinc appears to inhibit Coronavirus replication and is a powerful driver of immune system activity.
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  7. Chinese herbal formulas for immune support and viral protection:  I have written in the past about some excellent Chinese herbals formulations that have been used with high success rates in the treatment of COVID-19.  They can be taken preventatively and used to treat infection.  They are applicable to Coronavirus infection as well as non-COVID viral infection, including the flu.  Take herbs regularly and be amazed at how resilient you feel!  Learn more about and purchase these HERE.
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  8. Easy daily immune tonic tea:  Herbal infusions are a traditional way that proactive people can use a safe and simple herbal combination to maintain health.  I recommend the following blend for daily consumption:  1 Tablespoon astragalus root; 1 Tablespoon elderberries; 1 teaspoon ginger (or 2 slices of fresh ginger); 1 teaspoon thyme. Place the herbs into 16 oz. of water.  Bring to a boil with the pot covered, then turn off the heat and allow the herbs to steep for 10 minutes.  Drink 1 cup / 2x / day.  Honey and/or lemon are optional additions.  A ginger-free version of this with honey is very child friendly!
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  9. Elderberry Syrup:  If teas are not your thing, or your young one is particular and prefers sweet medicines, elderberry syrup is a great option.  We are currently making fresh batches of this syrup for the fall and winter season.  The dose is 1 Tablespoon / 2-3x / day. Check it out!
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  10. Sweat:  Just as the body mounts a fever to open the pores and expel an infection from the body, when we sweat this proactively eliminates toxins and pathogens from the body.  One great method for this is the far infra-red sauna.   Alternatively, a hot detox bath (containing a cup of Epsom salts) will also increase your body temp and draw waste out through the pores.
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  11. Get a grip on stress:  Your immune system knows when you are in fear or worry about relationships, finances, or current events.  It’s not short-term stress (lasting hours) that’s an issue, it’s chronic stress that suppresses or dysregulates innate and adaptive immune responses by altering the cytokine balance, inducing low-grade inflammation, and suppressing numbers, flow and function of protective cells.  What to do?
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    1. First, I highly recommend limiting exposure to media, including social media.  Find a healthy balance between staying informed and constantly upsetting yourself by reading inflammatory headlines and posts.  You can get the gist of what is newsworthy in about 1 hour / week exposure to media.  Then, go for a walk, run, or take a hot bath and bring yourself back to a more centered neutral state.
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    2. Second, I find it profoundly helpful to adopt the spiritual belief that, “All things are happening for my highest good.”  It may feel forced or hotly debatable at first, but gradually you may come to realize that even the things that are clearly causing pain, challenge and loss can lead you to life-changing gifts and revelations that you never would have experienced if life hadn’t handed you a bitter pill.
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  12. Wash your hands with soap and water regularly.  This simple advice is still among the top most effective ways to stay healthy and avoid contracting viral infection.  Avoid chemical hand sanitizers though – these contain toxins that compromise your health.
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  13. Essential Oils:  The effectiveness of wearing masks to prevent viral transmission is dubious at best.  Exhaling is a basic way that the respiratory tract rids the body of waste gas and pathogens.  Breathing in fresh air is equally important to our vital functioning.  However, when masking is required I make it work to my advantage by using a (cloth) mask as an essential oil diffuser – for which they work great!  Favorite anti-viral essential oils include peppermint, lavender, oregano and (if money is no obstacle) Melissa.
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  14. Mushroom tonics:  No discussion of immune system support would be complete without the mention of medicinal mushrooms.  They have been used in Chinese herbal and dietary medicine for thousands of years.  Chaga, reishi, shitake, maitake, cordyceps and others all can improve T-cell and immune system function, and lower inflammation.  They are best taken as a tincture at 1 ml in 2 oz. water / 2x / day, or in your evening stir fry!
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May all illness, including the viruses and superbugs of the modern world, serve as fertilizer for your inner garden, the dark matter (compost) that disturbs your reality yet has great potential to awaken transformation and a path of greater resilience.  It’s up to each of us to accept the invitation.

(Want to learn more about using herbs to fortify your immune system? Sign up to view a FREE recording of Hillary’s recent webinar, Herbal Self-Care for Immune Strength and Resilience, offered through the Holistic Health Community.)

Yours in Health,

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Sources:

  1. Besedovsky, Luciana & Lange, Tanja & Born, Jan. (2011). Sleep and immune function. Pflügers Archiv : European journal of physiology. 463. 121-37. 10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0.
  2. Daneshkhah, Ali et al.  The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.08.20058578
  3. Dhabhar FS. Effects of stress on immune function: the good, the bad, and the beautiful. Immunol Res. 2014 May;58(2-3):193-210. doi: 10.1007/s12026-014-8517-0. PMID: 24798553.
  4. Lau, Frank H. et al.   Vitamin D insufficiency is prevalent in severe COVID-19  doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.24.20075838
  5. Motivala, Sarosh J., and Michael R. Irwin. “Sleep and Immunity: Cytokine Pathways Linking Sleep and Health Outcomes.” Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 16, no. 1, 2007, pp. 21–25. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20183152. Accessed 27 Aug. 2021.
  6. Simpson RJ, Campbell JP, Gleeson M, Krüger K, Nieman DC, Pyne DB, Turner JE, Walsh NP. Can exercise affect immune function to increase susceptibility to infection? Exerc Immunol Rev. 2020;26:8-22. PMID: 32139352.
  7. te Velthuis AJ, van den Worm SH, Sims AC, Baric RS, Snijder EJ, van Hemert MJ. Zn(2+) inhibits coronavirus and arterivirus RNA polymerase activity in vitro and zinc ionophores block the replication of these viruses in cell culture. PLoS Pathog. 2010 Nov 4;6(11):e1001176. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001176. PMID: 21079686; PMCID: PMC2973827.
  8. https://foodrevolution.org/blog/how-to-boost-immune-system/
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Showing 2 comments
  • Patricia Husted
    Reply

    Hillary – Thank you once again for your insights and advice. I am an avid follower of your blog and continue to find the information you offer both helpful and informative. Several years ago I saw you personally for many months for treatment of lingering symptoms of Lyme disease and found your treatments and practices very effective. I still utilize many of the practices you taught me during that time. So to say that I respect you is truly hearfelt. There is one aspect that you continue to voice that I completely question and disagree with however which is your stance on masks, you say “the effectiveness of wearing masks to prevent viral transmission is dubious at best”. As a healthcare worker myself this makes no sense to me whatsoever. I have worked in a busy hospital where the virus in present for some time now and we wear masks at all times. After a year my bloodwork is still negative for antibodies indicating I have avoided infection but that is anecdotal so I have found some studies I am attaching. One includes studies from the 1960’s and 1970’s therefor uninfluence by the current pandemic and a second article referencing a more recent study. https://www.pnas.org/content/118/4/e2014564118 and https://www.salon.com/2021/09/05/bangladesh-mask-study-interventions-covid-19/

    • Hillary Thing
      Reply

      Patricia, thanks for reading and responding. We welcome the open and respectful discussion and the sharing of resources and perspectives.

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