Updated: Mar 15, 2020
You have likely heard of the Coronavirus, or 2019-n-CoV, threat originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan and now spreading into other parts of our world. If you've taken my Winter Health class or heard me expound the benefits of elderberry, you likely realize that I am somewhat fascinated by viruses and how they replicate. I won't go so far as to say I'm excited about this new outbreak, but it has provided some interesting reading for me...
You have access to all the same fascinating research online, too, so I won't go into depth. In short, just like every other virus, the coronavirus is simply genetic material, in this case RNA, tucked inside a protein shell, unable to replicate itself on its own. The virus finds a specific living host cell, attaches to its cell wall via a spiking mechanism, invades the cell, and hijacks that cell's reproductive machinery. I have heard viruses referred to as "the perfect parasite" - so true! For fascinating information and pictures about the coronavirus, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5456285/
The term "coronavirus" is not a new name, but was actually first described in 1931 and isolated from humans in 1965. It received the prefix, corona, due to its spiky crown of proteins, seen under magnification (crown = corona). Thus the photo of a crown on my blog page - couldn't find a good photo of the coronavirus! Most coronaviruses are not dangerous, causing mild upper respiratory discomfort while our immune system deals with it. However, some types are serious, such as the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s and MERS outbreak in 2012.
Now there is a new coronavirus out there. Viruses in general have the ability to reproduce rapidly, which this one seems to exhibit. Viruses are also highly changeable and therefore adaptable due to their inability to repair RNA or DNA replication errors. After their genetic material is rapidly adapted and replicated in their host cell, it is released into the body to start the process all over again. At this point, little is known about how this new coronavirus is spreading, how changeable/adaptable it will be, and how to control it. If that isn't enough, experts are saying this new coronavirus is increasing in virulence and could be contagious even before people exhibit symptoms, making even apparently healthy people possible carriers. And with this being a new virus, our bodies haven't built up an immunity to it yet.
So, what are we to do? Along with good, common sense protocol of hand washing, sleep, healthy eating, etc, I would encourage elderberry tincture at least twice a day. (I'm aiming for 3-4 times a day until this blows over). Check my blog post on elderberry for more information about its benefits.
I would also add star anise to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, jams when spreading them on toast, anything. Check out this blog post for more information.
For general tips, also very applicable here, check out this blog post.
And as always, feel free to contact me with your thoughts and questions.