Corona: Natural Approaches That Can Help

Without a cure, using all the available tools is the surest way to stay healthy.
yin qiao san and a sprig of forsythia

Covid-19 has caused the world to re-evaluate many aspects of health care. Completely ignored by the conventional medical world are nutritional and herbal approaches.

Considering there are few therapeutic options available against this virus, Americans should take advantage of what supplements have to offer. Staying healthy using all available tools is the surest way to beat covid.

Vitamins and Minerals for Flu

If nothing else, consider taking vitamins A, C, D, and the mineral zinc.

  • Vitamin A

    Vitamin A helps maintain the health of the mucous membranes and cells of the respiratory system.

  • Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is an essential factor in antiviral immune responses, especially against flu. It contributes to immune defense by supporting cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system and provides protection against pathogens.

  • Vitamin D

    Vitamin D reduces the risk of flu. Recurrence of flu correlates well with seasonal drops in vitamin D during fall and winter. Schoolchildren and the elderly in nursing homes benefit the most from supplementation.

  • Zinc

    More than 50 years of research has provided evidence for an antiviral activity of zinc through numerous mechanisms and is similarly especially important for the elderly.

Botanicals for Flu

Botanicals can be used both for prevention and treatment.

  • Elderberry

    Elderberry juice is one of the oldest herbal remedies of European herbal traditions with documented effectiveness against H1N1.

    Does Elderberry Make Coronavirus Worse?

    Some have warned against use of elderberry, claiming it can worsen COVID-19 symptoms. There is virtually no good evidence to support this. Its safety and efficacy, especially for children, is too good to ignore because of bad information.

  • Astralagus Root

    Astragalus root, and its key formula Astragalus Jade Wind Screen Powder, is the primary botanical used for prevention. This formula was key in preventing hospital workers from contracting the SARS virus, which is closely related to COVID-19.

First-Response Formulas to Flu

Andrographis and the Chinese herbal formula Yin Qiao San are first-response formulas to be taken as soon as you feel you have been exposed or feel symptoms coming on.

The Link Between Epidemics and Traditional Chinese Medicine

There have been more than 320 large-scale epidemics in China over the past 2,000 years. This has resulted in the development of numerous herbal treatment protocols that are available from professional Chinese medicine practitioners.

Individualized herbal and nutritional recommendations can also be provided by naturopathic physicians and integrated medicine physicians.

Click to See Our Sources

“Andrographis paniculata (chuan xin lian) symptomatic relief of acute respiratory tract infections in adults and children: A systematic review and meta-analysis” by XY Huo et al, 11/14/18, PLoS One

“Estimating the global prevalence of zinc deficiency: Results based on zinc availability in national food supplies and the prevalence of stunting” by K.R. Wessells and K.H. Brown, 2012, PLoS One

“Chinese herbal medicine for acute upper respiratory tract infections and reproductive safety: A systematic review” by Z.S. Huang et al., BioScience Trends, 5/12/19

“The role of zinc in antiviral immunity” by S. Read et al., Advances in Nutrition, 4/22/19

“SARS: Clinical trials on treatment using a combination of Traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine,” Report of the WHO International Expert Meeting to review and analyse clinical reports on combination treatment for SARS, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, World Health Organization, 10/03

“Vitamin C and immune function” by A.C. and S. Maggini, Nutrients, 11/17

“Vitamin C is an essential factor on the anti-viral immune responses through the production of Interferon-α/β at the initial stage of influenza A virus (H3N2) infection” by Y. Kim et al., Immune Network, 4/13

“Vitamin D for influenza” by Gerry Schwalfenberg, Canadian Family Physician, 6/15

“Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: Systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data” by A.R. Martineau et al., BMJ, 2/15/17


Roy Upton, RH, DAyu

Executive director and editor of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and coauthor of the Botanical Safety Handbook, Roy Upton is trained in both Western and traditional Chinese Medicine. He is also vice president of the American Herbalists Guild, and member of the Standards Committee of the American Herbal Products Association.