Stay proud! Stay healthy! Stay home & hug your dog!
I miss getting to see you for acupuncture every week but I’m glad you’re taking good care of yourself and social distancing. While acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been my work for the past 15 years, my background is in microbiology and I’m passionate about epidemiology and public health. I thought I’d share some ideas for supporting your immune system and managing stress from the synthesis of both the Chinese medicine tradition and modern functional medicine.
First of all, the most important strategy to avoid getting sick with a virus is, of course, to AVOID EXPOSURE! Observe social distancing rules, strict hand hygiene protocols, proper mask-wearing, and regularly disinfect all high-contact surfaces.
In conjunction with these basic but critical public health strategies, Chinese medicine emphasizes fortifying and balancing our bodies to reduce our susceptibility to colds, flu, and other infectious diseases. Here are some of my favorite herbs and actions you can take to help protect yourself.
Boost your immune system
I try to get most of my vitamins from my diet but one supplement I never skip is a daily Vitamin D3 (here’s my favorite). A study in the British Medical Journal from 2017 titled “Vitamin D Supplementation to Prevent Respiratory Tract Infection: A Systemic Review and Meta-analysis of Individual Participant Data” stated that below normal Vitamin D serum levels are associated with susceptibility to respiratory tract infections.
Daily supplementation provided a 19% protective effect – that’s 19% fewer infections that the control group. Additionally, subjects with pronounced Vitamin D deficiency (defined as less than 25nmol/L) received a 70% protective effect against acute respiratory tract infection.
The classical Chinese herbal formula used most broadly to fortify our immune systems is poetically called Jade Windscreen. This formula is appropriate for both individuals prone to frequent infections and for those with no significant complaints but a desire to enhance their overall immunity.
My favorite modification of this formula is Immune+ from Evergreen Herbs because they added Ling Zhi (Ganoderma) and Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps)—two mushrooms shown to strengthen the body’s constitution and inhibit the growth of various viruses and bacteria.
Another popular modification of Jade Windscreen is Jade Screen & Xanthium Formula from Goldenflower Herbs. This modification was specifically created with Austin allergies in mind and includes herbs to address nasal congestion.
According to Chinese medicine, our best protection from infections is to be
Alcohol and caffeine in small quantities are fine, but they’re both dehydrating sleep disrupters that emotionally destabilize us in larger quantities and none of us need ANY less sleep or additional destabilizing influences right now, right?!
My favorite combo of supplements from functional medicine for peaceful sleep is one tsp CALM magnesium powder, two cortisol manager tablets, and a dose of high-quality fish oil (or a vegetarian omega 3 oil if you prefer).
Magnesium relaxes our muscles and nerves and alleviates cramps and spasms. Cortisol manager helps reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol flooding our system so we sleep better without being sedated. Omega 3’s are my favorite anti-inflammatory and I use them for everything from pain to immune support to brain health.
Here to help
It’s important to start where you are and do the next good thing for yourself. I also want to say that if you ever have any questions I might be able to answer, please reach out – I’m happy to point you in a good direction or help you make a plan to try to optimize your wellness.
While I haven’t quite figured out how to safely start seeing patients in the office yet, I’d like to offer free phone consults to anyone curious about using Chinese medicine to optimize their health. Maybe some lifestyle/diet advice or a suggestion on herbs/supplements could help you to troubleshoot a symptom you’ve been experiencing or just tune up your energy & immune system.
Feel free to call me directly at 512-294-6895. Let’s all stay healthy together!
Wishing you all good health and courage – Peggy Ghorbani, L.Ac.