In recent months, the coronavirus pandemic — originating from Wuhan, China — has been taking the world by storm with more cases being reported daily. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently announced that there are more than 118,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and that 4,291 have lost their lives to the infectious disease. According to Tedros, the WHO expects to see the number of cases and deaths climb even higher in the weeks ahead. Because of this, healthy-minded people are looking into ways to strengthen their body’s immune system in an attempt to find some sort of protection against the novel coronavirus.
How do you protect yourself against coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a flu-like disease caused by a member of the coronavirus family that is closely related to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past. The disease is caused by a virus designated as SARS-CoV-2 by the Coronavirus Study Group (CSG) of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. COVID, on the other hand, is short for “coronavirus disease.” Those with confirmed cases reported symptoms such as coughing, fever and shortness of breath. However, severe cases of COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia and death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidelines on simple ways to prevent illness by limiting exposure to the virus. However, boosting the immune system can also help the body fight off infections like the coronavirus. Below you can find a few science-backed, natural ways that can provide adequate protection against the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Related: Natural ways to boost your immunity as coronavirus spreads.)
Elderberry is considered one of the most used medicinal plants in the world and has become a popular supplementary food against symptoms of the flu and common cold. While there are many species of elderberry, Sambucus nigra is often used for medicinal purposes due to the many health benefits it provides. However, Health Impact News reported that buying a prepared formula made with S. nigra is better than making your own from fresh berries. This is because elderberry contains natural toxins called cyanogenic glycosides which can cause vomiting, nausea, cramps and diarrhea.
Recent research has established that elderberry could reduce the effects of the common cold and influenza. A study done by researchers from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem enrolled patients who exhibited flu-like symptoms and asked them to take 15 milliliters (mL) of elderberry syrup four times a day for a testing period of five days. Their findings revealed that those who took the elderberry syrup recovered four days earlier than participants who took regular flu medications or a placebo.
Furthermore, another study, published in the journal Nutrients, gave 312 economy class passengers a 300 milligram (mg) dose of elderberry extract three times per day. The researchers found that passengers who got sick during the flight experienced much tamer symptoms and had shorter periods of illness, suggesting a significant reduction in cold duration and severity.
Colloidal silver products are popular among holistic health circles and are touted as an effective antibacterial agent. However, recent studies have shown that colloidal silver can handle infectious viruses as well. In a study published in the Journal of Nanotechnology, a research team comprising of members from the University of Texas and Mexico University in Nuevo Leon found that silver nanoparticles could kill HIV-1 and other types of viruses in only three hours. The team incubated HIV-1 virus samples at 37 C and observed that the silver nanoparticle-preparations they tested eliminated 100 percent of the virus.
There are also studies that focused on the efficacy of colloidal silver against respiratory viruses similar to the novel coronavirus. A study published in the International Journal of Nanomedicine found that silver nanoparticles reduced the viral infectivity of human parainfluenza virus type 3. Researchers from the University of Naples theorized that silver is capable of doing so by blocking the interaction of the virus with the cell.
Vitamin C Supplements
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning that the body cannot produce it on its own and it must be gained from external sources. However, the vitamin plays many roles that promote overall health. A large portion of the world, especially in Asia and continental Europe, consider Vitamin C as a potent antiviral agent. Health Impact News reported that China has conducted several clinical trials that involved the intravenous application of vitamin C to treat patients with coronavirus.
While vitamin C has not been tested against coronavirus until recently, previous research has already established its effectiveness against other types of viral infections, such as influenza. A study conducted by researchers from the Seoul National University College of Medicine looked into the anti-viral immune response of vitamin C and found that it exhibits responses even at early times of influenza virus infections through the increased production of the antiviral cytokine interferon (IFN)-a/B.
Following safety precaution guidelines and even quarantining people can be effective ways to reduce the spread of coronavirus. However, these methods do not help in the event of coming into contact with the virus itself. Because of this, strengthening your immune system using natural ways should be considered as a viable and effective prevention protocol to keep yourself safe from the pandemic.