COVID-19 Herb Info

Updated: Mar 21

(So, do you like my new image for the coronavirus/COVID-19? I decided I better do away with the crown/corona pic I used previously, now that the virus has an official name. And I didn't really want to use a picture of the actual virus - seeing too much of that everywhere we look these days!)


In an earlier post, on March 7, "What's a Minnesotan to Do?", I said I would post information about the herbs I mentioned. Here goes. I am also attempting to enter all of these into the forum area with more information about each one.


I know many of you made these remedies last summer, gathering from the You Pick Medicinal Herbs garden - aren't you glad you bothered! If you are in need of any of them, I do have some of them still available. And if I don't, perhaps someone else from the group might... just contact me.


Boneset -  great antiviral that helps dry out mucus and address deep, aching pain in lungs, with or without fever.  Most commonly suggested to use as a strong tea several times/day to induce sweating, thus reducing fever.   I know a hot tea would be best, but I also know I am not going to do that if miserable, so I will use a tincture if needed.

When to Use:  If actively sick and feel heaviness in the lungs.


Dandelion root - one of my favorites for everything!  In this case, it will offer great liver support for dealing with the waste materials sure to build up in our bodies, aid digestion, simple overall ability to cope with whatever COVID-19 throws at us!

When to Use:  This is one I use daily, so I am already taking it.  If you have it in your apothecary, I encourage the same.


Elecampane - Good expectorant of green, yucky mucus.  And it does not increase cytokines as several others tend to do.  Helps pull infection out of lungs. One of my favorites.

When to Use:  Actively sick with heaviness in chest


Elderberry - inactivates viruses by disallowing their entry through the membranes of healthy cells.  Supports healthy immune system by increasing cytokines. Reduces intensity and length of symptoms. Helps to clean out cellular waste and purify the blood.

When to Use:  Preventative. There is discussion about not using elderberry when actively sick due to the potential of increasing cytokines to the point of producing a cytokine cascade/storm (yes, that’s bad).  Due to that, you could stop elderberry if you become actively sick. (That said, I plan on continuing to use elderberry even if sick in hopes of kicking it a bit faster).


Elderflower - a gentle, but strong relaxing diaphoretic to help relax resistance to outward circulation of heat while encouraging the permeability of skin by keeping the pores open for release of that heat.   Also helps to block replication of the virus.

When to Use:  Same as elderberry.


Echinacea - mimics the virus, causing the immune system to stay at high alert thinking it is under attack..  Sounds like it might be useful, but, in my opinion, not if you are actively sick and your immune system is already on alert due to real viruses!

When to Use:  Preventative to alert immune system, but stop if become sick.  But this is just my opinion. Some herbalists encourage high doses throughout illness.  Your choice, of course.


Spilanthes - my favorite antiviral, antibacterial, anti-everything (sounds like the media to me!).  Will write more in the forum section, too. Gentle for little ones and elderly and very effective for everyone.

When to Use:  Preventative for sure.  I will continue to use spilanthes if actively sick.  A tasty suggestion is adding it to your tea - adds a nice flavor and bit of a buzz on your tongue.


Hyssop - has a long history as a medicinal plant and used historically with great success in previous pandemics, once thought of as a “cure-all”.

When to Use:  Matt Wood suggests using hyssop, along with pleurisy root, at the beginning of active illness and throughout.  I plan to follow this advice should I become ill. I think Matt has much to offer us from his years of experience!


Horehound - helps to thin mucus, making it easier to expel.  May help with coughing. Also good for digestion, which may need support, but then many of these herbs aid digestion!

When to Use:  Actively sick with stuck mucus


Licorice - shown to be active against other coronaviruses, such as SARS.  Appears to be a very effective antiviral, shown to inhibit replication of the virus.  Also helps all herbs to work well together nicely.

When to Use:  as part of a formula when actively ill, not typically as a single.


Lobelia inflata - low dose botanical, considered a great antispasmodic, possibly easing a hard cough.  Also helps to focus herbs where needed.

When to Use:  this one is a low dose herb - please check with me about use.


Mullein leaf - my family’s go to for lung support.  Nourishing and strengthening for the lungs in all situations.

When to Use:  see post about drinking the tea, use as tea preventatively and throughout illness.  I often add ½ dropperful of tincture to the tea as an extra mullein boost.


Pleurisy Root -  keeps internal and external pores open and is very gentle, helps to pull fluids out of the  lungs. Expectorant.

When to Use:See hyssop information above.


Red Root - great lymphatic remedy that can be quite good for jump starting the immune system if it seems to get stuck, not progressing.  Also great cleaner of waste in the bloodstream and body at large.

When to Use:  Active illness if seem to be “stuck”, just can’t get better!


Salvia miltiorrhiza - big in Stephen Buhner’s protocol for COVID-19.  And we just happened to grow it this past summer in the garden as one of our “new ones - wonder if we can grow it” herbs.  It supports a healthy immune system response by regulating cytokine response and normalizing it, if needed.

When to Use:  Active illness - I’m still figuring this one out myself - new to me, too!


Yarrow - can be cooling or warming, whichever is needed, as well as drying for the mucus in the lungs.  Traditionally combined with peppermint and elderberry to help reduce high fever.

When to Use:  if you feel you need it when actively sick


Yellow Dock - gentler than sometimes suggested Chinese rhubarb for keeping bowels open (yes, a cooling laxative).

When to Use:  If you need it…

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