Disclaimer: while botanicals have protective properties against viruses such as COVID-19, it’s not a replacement for medications required to combat COVID-19 infection, nor is the prophylactic features of botanicals the reason for you to not seek medical attention should you suspect that you’re infected with the virus.
When it comes to getting creative in the kitchen, whether it’s baking, cooking, or simply just making teas, I am always about KISS – keep it super simple. Wherever I can, I recommend teas that are not too tricky to get. The botanicals I recommend here are mostly readily available in your regular groceries store. If you are in the Calgary area, you can also order dried herbs from The Apothecary in Inglewood. Enjoy!
Viral Infection Prevention
Licorice root is capable of blocking the COVID-19 virus from accessing its entry point to the body, known as ACE-2. Licorice root also increases a type of immune cells called T cells, which are important in forming defence mechanism against novel viruses.
***Precaution: do not use this herb if you are pregnant or have hypertension (high blood pressure). If you don’t have high blood pressure but gets headache consistently after drinking this tea, discontinue.
Like Licorice root, cinnamon is also capable of blocking COVID-19 from accessing ACE-2.
1. Licorice Spice by Stash (contains both licorice root and cinnamon)
2. Cinnamon Apple Chamomile by Stash (contains cinnamon, hibiscus, chamomile)
3. Cinnamon Apple by Celestial Seasoning (contains cinnamon, hibiscus, chamomile)
4. Cinnamon sticks steeped in hot water
***Precaution: The hibiscus in cinnamon apple teas is contraindicated for people taking
chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, a malarial and anti-rheumatic drug that is currently being
used off-label as an investigative therapy for COVID-19 infection.
Viral Respiratory Tract Infection Support
Mint has anti-viral properties.
Precaution: can trigger heartburn.
Lemon Balm, belonging to the mint family, is not only an anti-viral, it’s also an anti-inflammatory herb, reducing the fatigue and lethargy associated with respiratory tract infection, as well an anxiolytic, particularly applicable during a pandemic.
Elderberry flower and/or berries
Same rationale as licorice root without concern for pregnancy and hypertensive individuals.
(see explanation on licorice root above)
Precaution: not suitable for people on immunosuppressant drugs.
1. Lemon Balm Tea by Traditional Medicinals
2. Mint tea by Stash, Celestial Seasonings, Pukka, President’s Choice
3. Peppermint by Twinings
4. Mint bunch from produce
5. Mint bunch from your herb garden
6. Elderberry cocktail by Biotta
Astagalus root is an immune response modulator, meaning that it allows our body to adapt to the environment in response to pathogens. Akin to how a phytoestrogen behaves in the body where it acts like an estrogen when needed, and a dampener when the amount of estrogen is high, astragalus root modulates the body’s response to infection, so that the body is not over producing inflammatory factors (cytokines), which make us feel lethargic, nor underproducing T cells (immune defence cells), which we need to fight the virus.
Astragalus root is readily available at most herbal shops including the store mentioned above in introduction, as well your local apothecaries.
Chamomile is a mild sedative. It’s particularly useful for restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and
(See above: Viral Respiratory Tract Infection Support)
1. Chamomile with Lavender by Traditional Medicinals
2. Chamomile by Celestial Seasonings
***Precaution: while lavender is also an anxiolytic, I would avoid using it at this time because in excess, it could have implications on your estrogen reserve, and therefore possibly aggravating menopausal symptoms. Different from phytoestrogens which is an estrogen modulator, lavender is pro-estrogenic and anti-androgenic.