Coronavirus is very contagious infection caused by novel virus COVID 19. At the time of this article COVID 19 has affected 375,498 people in over 195 countries / areas according to WHO. (1)
Most people infected with the COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness requiring hospitalizations or ventilator needs.
Coronavirus disease is caused by a Novel virus called SARS-CoV-2 (2) because this strain of virus was not recognized before and humans are likely never exposed to it before to have antibodies against the virus to fight the infection.
The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. (3)
COVID 19 is estimated to affect thousands of millions of people as in present world we have more means of travel and large amount of animal and bird coops for mass production of animal products.
I have done some extensive research to find out some of the natural products which can increase our natural immunity to fight against some of the infections. How effective are the following measures in COVID 19, no one can tell but these measures can surely avoid or mitigate the effect of pathogens on human body !
- Ginkgolic acid may be effective against enveloped viruses – Ginkgolic acids are present in the leaves and fruits of Ginkgo biloba which have been used as herbal supplements in the form of Ginko extracts. It contains high levels of flavonoids and terpenoids, which are compounds known for their strong antioxidant effects. (4) is reported to have anti-tumor, antiviral and anti bacterial activity. Thus, in light of the strong effect of GA on viral infection, even after the infection begins, it may potentially be used to treat acute infections. (5)
- Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation may be useful – Elderberry has been used for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis, and has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex. It is considered potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for routine cases of the common cold and influenza. (6)
- Echinacea for Preventing and Treating the Common Cold– Some of the meta-analysis studies suggests that Echinacea products may be associated with a small reduction in cold incidence. Trials investigating the prevention of colds need large sample sizes as the potential effects of Echinacea products are likely to be small. (7)
- Vitamin C beneficial effects – There are numerous reports indicating that vitamin C may enhance your immune system and increases the resistance to many bacterial and viral infections. (8) Buffered vitamin C is less acidic, which means it causes less gastrointestinal irritation and may be better tolerated as a supplement.
- Probiotics can enhance your immune response– Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that, when administered in appropriate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host. Probiotics can mediate immunological effects directly through their interaction with intestinal immune cells and epithelial cells and/or indirectly through modulation of the intestinal bacteria. Importantly, probiotic effects are species- and strain-specific, and immune effects can vary depending on the selected probiotic. Now probiotics is considered as a potential source of novel vaccine adjuvants. (9)
- Plants derived Antibodies – Some studies have described tobacco-derived plantibodies that showed potent therapeutic activity against multiple viruses such as EBOV, HBV, HIV, and others in small animal models of infection, e.g., mice can also protect against influenza viral infections. Concerns exist that plantibodies can be immunogenic and/or allergenic in animals and humans therefore, more studies needed in this field. (10) (11)
- Licorice may help with common cold- Licorice is one of the oldest and most frequently used herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. It contains compounds like triterpenoids and flavonoids. These compounds possess antitumor, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, and several other activities that contribute to the recovery and protection of the nervous, respiratory and cardiovascular systems. (12)
- Avoid stress and take adequate sleep- We all know that mental or physical stress can exert various actions on the body ranging from alterations in homeostasis to life-threatening effects. It can also make you more prone to various infections and chronic diseases. Adequate sleep is 6-8 hrs of sleep at night however, has beneficial effects on your mental and physical health. Staying home and resting also prevents potential exposure and spread of viral respiratory disease like COVID 19.
- Stay hydrated- Water Oxygenates Your Blood and Flushes out Toxins. It also helps in production of lymph which circulates vital nutrients in the body. It helps with digestion and enhances immune response. It is recommended to drink at least 7-8 glasses of water a day.
Micronutrients and supplements might be beneficial in overall health. More larger studies are needed though to prove their clear effects on human body.
Warning : Above recommendations are based on the quoted studies. Individual response and need might vary. Please do not indulge in over use of any supplements as they might have potential side effects when consumed in excess. Please consult your physician prior to using any supplementations.