Zinc is an important trace mineral that plays a crucial role in growth, development, and maintenance of immune function. Zinc deficiency is common and may be result of lifestyle, age, certain disease-mediated factors (liver cirrhosis, inflammatory bowel disease) , and malnourishment.
A mounting evidence accumulated over 50 years of research demonstrates that zinc has antiviral effect against variety of viruses via numerous mechanisms. Zinc can have a direct antiviral effect, but it also can generate innate and acquired antiviral immune system responses.
It has been demonstrated in many studies that zinc inhibits replication of RNA viruses such as influenza, poliovirus and coronavirus. The studies have also shown that zinc has inhibitory effect on many other viruses such as HPV, HIV, Varicella Zoster, HSV and Hepatitis C.
Another important factor is the intracellular concentration of zinc. To be efficient in fighting viruses, zinc has to be able to enter the cells and maintain a sufficient concentration. Substances that help zinc transport inside the cells are called zinc-ionophores. Substances such as pyrithione and quercetin are zinc-ionophores.
A study published in 2010, demonstrated that combined action of pyrithione and zinc was very efficient in inhibiting influenza, poliovirus and coronavirus.
Although no studies have been done on efficacy of combined action of quercetin and zinc in inhibiting these viruses, it could be assumed that they can have similar effect, since quercetin is capable of transporting zinc into the cells, thus increasing the intracellular concentration of zinc.
Both quercetin and zinc are safe supplements and adding them during flu and cold season may be very beneficial. Covid-19 is caused by a coronavirus and previous studies have shown that zinc was efficient in inhibiting SARS virus (Covid-19 is caused by SARS covariant coronavirus.).
Quercetin and zinc are also readily available in food. Quercetin rich foods are: onion, watercress, radicchio, asparagus, kale, red leaf lettuce, elderberry, cranberry, blueberry, apple and other. Zinc rich food are: red meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts, dairy, eggs and other. So, bolster your antiviral defenses and Bon Appetit!
*It is interesting to note that hydroxychloroquine is also a zinc-ionophore which may explain why many doctors used it in combination with zinc for covid-19 patients.
[1 ]Read, S. A., Obeid, S., Ahlenstiel, C., & Ahlenstiel, G. (2019). The Role of Zinc in Antiviral Immunity. Advances in Nutrition, 10(4), 696-710. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz013
 Velthuis, A. J., Sjoerd H. E. Van Den Worm, Sims, A. C., Baric, R. S., Snijder, E. J., & Hemert, M. J. (2010). Zn2 Inhibits Coronavirus and Arterivirus RNA Polymerase Activity In Vitro and Zinc Ionophores Block the Replication of These Viruses in Cell Culture. PLoS Pathogens, 6(11). doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1001176
Shi Quan Da Bu Tang (SQDBT) is a classical Chinese formula traditionally used to alleviate exhaustion, anemia, fatigue and weakness in the patients with consumptive disorders.
It is also a great therapy to alleviate hematotoxicity (low white blood cells and hemoglobin counts) in patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
In one study a group of breast cancer patients was given SQDBT at the start of chemotherapy and compared to a control group that had started chemotherapy at the same time, but was not given SQDBT. One week after chemotherapy, the SQDBT group had significantly higher WBC and neutrophil counts than the control group.
SQDBT ingredients include herbs that also have known antineoplastic and immnuostimulatory effect such as Ren Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Ginseng, Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), Huang Qi (Radix Astragali), and Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Preparata).
Sheng-Miauh Huang, PhD, Li-Yin Chien, ScD, Cheng-Jeng Tai, MD, Jeng-Fong Chiou, MD, Ching-Shyang Chen, MD, and Chen-Jei Tai, MD, PhD (2012) "Effectivenes of 3-Week Intervantion of Shi Quan Da Bu Tang for Alleviating Hematotoxicity Among Patients with Breast Carcinoma Receiving Chemotherapy" - Integrative Cancer Therapies 12(2) 136-144
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to common cold and flu symptoms:
In over 98% of COVID-19 cases people recover completely. The disease enters its severe phase when the virus propagates from the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat) to lower respiratory tract (lungs). In that case, immune system reaction may result in severe inflammation that can cause scarring and damage of the alveoli in the lungs and result in severe oxygen deprivation and multiple organ failure.
Thus, it is of the utmost importance to prevent disease from spreading to the lungs. Western medicine does not have a definitive treatment for the early phase of the disease, but medicinal herbs can play a major role.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is well integrated with modern medicine in China, and in many instances the main treatment for mild and moderate are herbal medicinal formulas, as western medicine still does not have a definitive treatment for this virus.
1. No symptoms? Great, keep it that way by strengthening your immune system.
proliferation, and elevated levels of cytokine (nitric oxide, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1, beta, interleukin-6,
and interferon beta).
2. Early phase, mild symptoms:
Research: Ge Gen Tang demonstrated antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Ge Gen Tang also has
a beneficial effect on mucosal lining of upper respiratory system, which is a first line of defense against any foreign particles
(microbes, dust, pollutants) entering our body.
Research: Two main herbs in this formula, Jin Yin Hua (Flos Lonicerae Japonicae) and Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae)
show strong antiviral, antibiotic, and antibacterial effect, especially against influenza viruses, coxackie B virus, echo virus,
Asian influenza A virus and others.
Jin Yin Hua contains three compounds that have potential to directly inhibit Covid19 novel coronavirus.
Research: Two main herbs in this formula: Sang Ye (Folium Mori) and Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemum) exhibit antibacterial,
anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antipyretic effect. Sang Ye has compounds that interfere with SARS corona virus ability
to bind to ACE2 receptors.
3. Moderate severity:
Research: XCFT has effect on temperature regulation, has anti-inflammatory effect, antiasthmatic and antiallergic effect .
It is also a famous formula because of its hepatoprotective, antitumor properties and also regulates high cholesterol levels.
Research: MXGST has been demonstrated to reduce neutrophil infiltration into lung tissue and reduce lung inflammation.
This means that it can prevent or reduce the damage to the lungs produced by the cytokine storm. This is the primary base
formula used for Covid-19.
These points are often used for anxiety, depression and insomnia. You can apply pressure discreetly whenever you feel nervous, anxious or uneasy wherever you are: in a meeting, in the car, while talking to someone, before the events that can make you anxious, in the evening before going to bed..
The three acupuncture points that can be very effective in relieving anxiety , depression and insomnia are PC-6, HT-7, LU-9.
Used together they form a 'golden triangle' and have a powerful combined effect.
You can stimulate these points with acupressure or with magnets.
How to Apply Acupressure
Three finger-widths away from the wrist crease and on the midline of the palmar side of your lower arm.
Anxiety, Fright, Insomnia
At the wrist joint, along the line of your small finger.
At the wrist crease on palmar side of the hand, opposite to and at the level with HT-7.
Golden Triangle: All Three Together
When stimulated together, these points provide a great relief for anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
When Wuhan, the city in China that was first struck with COVID-19 pandemic, had to be put under a lockdown, the Chinese Government announced a major change in strategy - all infected patients were also to be treated with Chinse traditional medicine.
The TCM doctors worked on creating protocols and herbal formulas to fight the disease in various phases of development, and this is how they did it:
- Base herbal formula: Yu Ping Feng San
- Acupuncture: moxa on ST-36, CV-6, CV-12
soreness of muscles and limbs
- Base formula: Ge Gen Tang or Chai Ge Jie Ji Tang
- If there is also sore and dry throat, dry cough - Base formula: Yin Qiao San
- Acupuncture: Moxa on LI-4, LV-3, ST-36 and CV-8
according to TCM principles
- Base formula: Sha Shen Ma Dong Tang
- Acupuncture: Moxa on GV-14, BL-17, BL-13, ST-13, LU-6
Inclusion of TCM in China in the treatment against COVID-19 has produced very good results and was documented in the hospital records.
American herbalists and acupuncturists can make a great difference in Prevention, Early and Recovery phase.
The herbal formulas and individual herbs indicated for each phase are available in the US, although, perhaps as a testament of their efficacy, it's become harder and harder to find them since COVID-19 pandemic started.
Great Road Acupuncture and Herbs has limited amount in stock. Find out more here.
Source: How Covid-19 is Treated in China with TCM - John Chen elouts.org
Acupuncture Point ST-36 (Zusanli)
If you ever had acupuncture, chances are that your acupuncturist needled this point, which is also called "longevity point".
Often, when needle is inserted at ST-36, the feeling you may experience is one of dull ache and heaviness.
It is a very powerful point that can have effect on your immune system, digestion and even mood.
This point is located on the lateral side on the front of the lower leg, about hand-width below the knee crease.
How to Apply Acupressure
ST-36 is the 36th point on the Stomach meridian. Traditionally it is used for:
Acupuncture stimulation of ST-36 has effect on vagus nerve. Vagus nerve is a cranial nerve that innervates viscera, especially digestive organs, which may explain why this point is used for digestive issues.
ST-36 is an Anti-Inflammatory point!
Another important function of vagus nerve is regulation of pathologic inflammatory reactions, thus acting as a bridge between neural and immune system. Chronic inflammation is at the root of many health conditions: diabetes, digestive issues, fatigue, depression.. No wonder it is called "longevity point"!
Acupuncture works great for chronic pain, anxiety and sleep problems. Adding these exercises will build on your previous acupuncture treatments, and further enhance the healing.
The exercises I chose are gentle, short and can be easily done in your home. However, don't do anything that you feel is causing you pain, discomfort or is against your doctors orders.
For chronic pain, limited flexibility, difficulty walking
- Improve ankle, thigh, hip strength and promote good circulation
- Improve balance and strength in lower extremities, reduce low back pain
Low back pain
Anxiety, insomnia, neck, shoulder , posture, lung circulation
Certain foods can be used to fight respiratory diseases and can have "mucokinetic" (mucus-moving) effect, similar to the commonly used decongestants and expectorants.
Like it Hot!
The best mucokinetic foods are hot and spicy. The effectiveness of these ancient remedies have been confirmed by research.
If you can tolerate it and if you do not have a health condition for which eating hot spicy food is contraindicated, here are few tips to clear up stuffy nose and lung congestion from Dr. Irwin Ziment, lung specialist from UCLA:
Some foods have proven antiviral effect.
- Enhances immune system
- Commonly called "Russian penicillin" for its widespread use in Russia and throughout Eastern Europe
- Add whole peeled garlic cloves to soup.
See also: Keeping Your Immune System Strong - What to Eat
Source: Food Your Miracle Medicine by Jean Carper
Chinese Herbal Medicine has a two thousand long history. People of ancient times suffered from numerous infectious and febrile diseases with the same symptoms that we see today in colds, flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, malaria and many other. Over centuries the Chinese doctors discovered and developed extensive herbal pharmacopeia that they used to create herbal remedies to treat these diseases.
So it is no surprise that today with the COVID-19 pandemic, Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctors in China work together to cure patients from this disease.
These herbal supplements they use in China are also available to us here.
Great Road Acupuncture and Herbs LLC provides herbal and dietary consultations online (email, skype, facebook, whatsup video chats or phone conversations). Herbal prescriptions are not included in the consultation fee.
The prescription orders can be picked up in the office or mailed to your address.
CONTACT US for more information or SCHEDULE HERBAL CONSULTATION.
"Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food."
What we eat can have a great influence on our immune system.
Based on research studies, these foods have a strong immune-boosting effect:
- Simulates production of gamma interferon, boosts activity of natural killer (NK) cells
- Revs up production of antibodies
- Stimulate macrophages (important in fighting cancer cells and microbes)
spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, broccoli sprouts, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, onions..
- You can eat raw garlic or a cold-pressed garlic extract
- When you feel sore throat coming on, eat some garlic or onion to scare off the cold or flu.
- Oysters (raw and smoked), crabmeat, pot roast, calf's liver, turkey (dark meat), pumpkin and squash seeds
- You can take also zinc supplements
Foods that can weaken immune system:
- Vegetable polyunsaturated fats (omega-6 fatty acids) such as in corn, sunflwer and safflower seed oils
can inhibit formation of lymphocytes