Thursday, March 12, 2020

Potential Natural Options for Prevention and Treatment of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

My Integrative and Functional Medicine training has helped me to consider ways to naturally boost our immune system and fight infections. My family and I use many of these strategies to prevent the flu each year, however, there are several specific concerns and recommendations that I will cover that are specific for this virus.

In the case of this novel coronavirus, there are several goals. 

First, prevent exposure to the virus, Second, optimize the immune system, Third, help kill any virus in our nose and mouth if we have been exposed. Fourth, prevent the virus entering cells and replicating if an infection occurs (this is the way many antiviral pharmaceutical medications work). Fifth, prevent a “cytokine storm” in the event of infection which is an inflammatory response that may be so excessive that this it can be deadly.

Here is the protocol that my family and I are now following in response to this virus.

To prevent exposure - we try to avoid spending extended periods of time in poorly ventilated buildings, we wear masks regularly when we are away from home and we socially distance. We also wash and sanitize our hands regularly for any exposure outside our home. 

After any potential exposure, we try to decrease the virus in our nasal passages and throat. We use XClear Nasal Spray (Xylitol and Grapefruit Seed Extract) and/or Iotech International Molecular Iodine nasal spray as well as Iotech International Molecular Iodine mouthwash

To help our immune system we use a variety of supplements including Stephen Buhner's immune support herbal tinctures (see below). We also choose healthy foods, try to get enough sleep, exercise daily and use relaxation therapies (including exercise). See below for an expanded discussion of these options. 

At the first sign of symptoms, we start the Buhner herbal tincture formula, we increase our use of nasal spray and mouthwash, we steam with organic essential oils, drink fresh ginger tea throughout the day (see below for expanded discussion).  

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Dangers of Volatile Organic Compounds

Recently I bought a bathrobe from a major department store. I found that the bathrobe had an odd chemical smell when I put it on at home. I tried washing it... twice. I tried putting it outside in the sun, multiple times. And yet, it still stinks. The bathrobe has some kind of fabric coating that feels slippery to the touch. The fumes coming off of it while I wear it irritate my eyes and throat. I believe that the robe is “off-gassing” (reacting with the air and giving off) volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can cause a wide variety of health problems from asthma to cancer. Needless to say, I am returning the robe.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Nutrition and Tooth Decay


Did you know tooth decay is a (relatively) recent problem for mankind?  Until the advent of farming approximately 12,000 years ago, cavities were rare in our ancestors. With the addition of grains to the diet, the bacteria in our mouths began to change. The bacteria, once benign, started evolving.  Thus, tooth decay was “born.”  As more food processing developed people started eating flour, breads, sugar, and processed foods. This encouraged the oral bacteria to become even more aggressive and destructive. 
A researcher from the turn of the 20th century, a dentist named Weston Price, was a man well ahead of his time.  He and his wife traveled to many points on the globe, exploring the mouths and diets of people living in isolated tribes or communities.  These people had not had exposure to the processed foods, flour or sugars that were the main diet staples of the then current “modern” societies.  Dr. Price photographed and documented the many big, beautiful, healthy smiles of these indigenous people. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Food and Dieting Myths - Healthy weight loss

In trying to maintain a healthy weight I needed to unlearn many of the myths surrounding food and dieting.


I used to believe that the number of calories I ate were the key to weight gain. I believed the myth that calories in and calories out accounted for all weight changes. This was very frustrating for me because I just couldn’t seem to eat small enough portions to lose weight. Also, eating these small portions left me very hungry and unsatisfied.

Eventually a doctor I consulted recommended a low carbohydrate diet and suddenly I started to shed my excess weight without difficulty. What I came to learn is that contrary to popular belief, calories are NOT the only thing you need to concern yourself with when it comes to losing weight. Research over the last 20 years has made remarkable progress in understanding adipose tissue (body fat cells) and how we gain and lose weight. Calories have very little to do with this process. Some calories (carbohydrates and sugar) can turn straight to excess body fat and some simply cannot.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Water Therapy - the gentle pain reliever

I have experienced chronic pain since I suffered a spinal injury when I was a teenager. Prior to my injury, I was able to run, hike, backpack, bike and do just about any other exercise that a healthy young woman could do. In fact, I loved all kinds of exercise. However, after my injury things were different because many types of exercise started causing me discomfort. Eventually, I discovered water therapy and water became my friend. Especially, natural salt water because it does not have any chlorine and it nourishes my body with minerals from the ocean.

Not all of us have access to the ocean but many of us have access to some kind of swimming pool, whether it be at your local YMCA, JCC or sports club. There are also many water therapy programs that specifically work with patients in chronic pain.