Covid-19: a complementary approach

The situation with the new strain of Coronavirus, officially labelled Covid-19, has been developing and changing on an almost daily basis since being identified in January as an epidemic illness with the potential to become a pandemic. In recent weeks the situation has developed rapidly following the spread from northern Italy, with several countries taking dramatic measures to try to delay the spread of the virus as much as possible. In the UK, there is no news media with anything but Covid-19 as the leading story, so it is easy to keep informed on how the virus is spreading throughout the country. Bear in mind that because the majority of people infected will have only mild symptoms, not everyone will present themselves for testing, so although the reported proportion of deaths of infected people may currently seem high, it is quite possible that this may turn out to be much lower and closer to seasonal flu than is currently portrayed. That is not to dismiss the potential of the severity of the illness for those at particular risk and while there are plenty of resources explaining the typical progression of symptoms, rather than cover these here I think it’s more useful to discuss the current suggestions from the complementary camp on how best to prepare yourself from a holistic perspective. 

From the medical angle there is a lot of fear because there isn’t a vaccine or specific treatment yet (despite the surprising ineffectiveness of the flu jab when compared to the intensive campaign that everyone gets vaccinated – but that’s another story  Of course, from the holistic/ complementary point of view, we already have options that are readily available!

There is a well-researched article on the Complementary Medical Association (CMA) website that was written relatively early in the epidemic and updated on 17th March that provides sensible holistic advice, as well as detail on the symptoms displayed by patients and other useful information. 

The nutritional therapist Patrick Holford has a good article on his website discussing the evidence for Vitamin C as an antiviral agent. He advocates high dose Vitamin Calong with Zinc and elderberry extract as an ideal supplement in the event of symptoms, which may also be taken as a preventative. 

Another good factual article which includes practical advice, as well as discussing nutritional support that you can take – expanding on the advice from the previous mentioned article – is on the Nutri Advanced website.  I recommend you take a look for an overview of Covid 19 and particularly the comparison with seasonal influenza, as well as the other recommendations for nutritional support. 

As mentioned in the Nutri Advanced article, you may wish to consider supplementing the diet with beta-glucans,which are large molecules made up of sugars that have been linked to enhanced immune function, improved blood sugar control and lowered cholesterol. They occur naturally in the cell walls of plants such as oats and barley, as well as yeasts, fungi and algae. Mushrooms are a good source and medicinal mushrooms in particular have been linked with reduced susceptibility to infections, whether viral, bacterial or fungal. You could consider consuming more mushrooms (cooked) in the diet or if you prefer to take a supplement, examples of those containing beta-glucans include:  Immunovite or 50+ from Cytoplan; Whole Health Immune Complex from New Vistas; Mushrooms in general, though Cordyceps, Trametes versicolor (aka Coriolus or Turkey Tail), Shiitake and Maiitake have also been shown to inhibit flu viruses in studies (ref: Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide, 2nd ed. by Martin Powell 2014). Good quality mushroom supplements can be obtained from  or  

At a recent Kinesiology Association seminar where Covid 19 was discussed, Vitamin D was advised for the healthy functioning of the immune system in general, with the amino acid Citrulline also recommended to enhance the body’s production of nitric oxide, which is the chemical the body makes to kill viruses. 

With any epidemic, the common symptoms presented by patients can lead homeopaths to what is known as the ‘genus epidemicus’ – the remedy that would be most useful to take as first line in the event of feeling unwell, or even on a daily basis as a preventative remedy. The initial reports of the effects of the virus mentioned in the CMA article suggest that this remedy is Gelsemium. A more recent analysis of cases by homeopath Dr Manish Bhatia indicates Bryonia as the genus epidemicus. So which to choose?  

As Dr Bhatia states in his article, there have been many reports of success with a wide range of remedies, not just both of the above, depending on the particular symptoms of the individual. This reminds me of how stressful it was as a homeopath-in-training with the belief that only the single ‘correct’ remedy could be successful for any set of symptoms. However, the key to homeopathy is ‘similarity’ and a remedy only has to be ‘sufficiently similar’ in the symptoms it covers to be effective. Many remedies share common symptoms, so whether you have Gelsemium or Bryonia, you should find it supportive either for the initial stages of infection or as a preventative remedy. Even a remedy that’s your ‘go-to’ for colds & flu or feeling under the weather may well be helpful at the first sign of any symptoms. 

Interestingly the Indian government have recommended Arsenicum album (Ars alb) as the genus epidemicus. Given the increasing state of fear as well as panic-buying in supermarkets in the UK, I think this would be highly appropriate for pretty much everyone at this time!

As this is a round-up of a variety of holistic approaches to supporting the body in managing Covid 19, here are some other options you may wish to take a closer look at: 

Colloidal silver, Echinacea tincture, Oregano oil, Garlic (raw/ capsules), Raw onion, Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Allspice 

I hope you find this information helpful. And if you need any specific remedy advice regarding any symptoms you may be experiencing, please get in touch. Keep well and try not to be swept up in the fear!

PS: If you need help with the stress of this current situation, take a look at a meditation app/ website, such as Calm. Or click the link in the footer of this site for the brainwave entrainment programme InnaPeace.

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