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Facing COVID-19 With Intention—And With Herbal Support

Facing COVID-19 With Intention—And With Herbal Support

Posted by Ryan Wade on Mar 16, 2020

Acting with Intention Versus Reacting With Fear

Reishi Cultivation

I keep coming up with different metaphors to try and better understand, and to better communicate that understanding, what is happening all around us in response to COVID-19.

The one that I keep coming back to is being in a stadium full of people, lighting a match, and yelling fire.

You do this and you are going to create chaos: You are going to create a type of fear where people are going to be trampled to death.

But it’s not a great metaphor. It misses many important parts. But, it’s the best that I’ve been able to come up with to highlight how it is our reaction to the virus that is going to cause the most upheaval in our lives.

As it always is, it is incredibly important right now to take a breath—in fact, take three deep breaths—before acting.

We need to be certain here to act with intention and not to react in response to fear.

It is not that fear is misplaced or unwarranted here, it is that we need to not let fear become the driving force. We don’t want fear behind the wheel. We don’t even want fear to be in the backseat. It is a road sign present to provide us with information.

If we can create a little bit of space between when we receive information and when we respond to it, we can respond from a place that is more authentic, and thus more constructive and helpful, within ourselves.

But is this going to cure the corona virus? Is this going to put food on the table for all those unable to work and are living paycheck to paycheck?


But it is going to help all of us make wiser choices and to lower stress.

Sleep, Stress, and Immunity

For the sake of getting this blog post out, I’m not going to cite sources here. You’ll just have to believe me.

Right now we are all fearful of getting sick.

People are buying en masse everything from Clorox to Vitamin C.

But to have a properly functioning, a healthy immune system, we need sleep and we need to lower stress. Without these two under control, literally nothing else is going to help. They are the foundation and the keystone to healthy immune function.

Yes, it is easier to buy something and to take it than it is to regulate our sleep and our stress. But as my friend Allie likes to tell me, “easy come easy go.”

There are no short cuts here. And our intentions, while valid, fall null if we don’t get our sleep and stress under control.

I expect—as I am sure you all do, too—that we are not even at the apex yet.

Things are going to get worse.

We are just now yelling fire and the stampede hasn’t even started yet.

As uncertainty grows it becomes all the more important to not react, but to act. As we are forced into more and more social distancing, let us not confuse that with social isolation.

Remember the phone? The one you text with? First, wash that thing, it’s filthy. Then, call the people you care about and speak with them. This is going to slower stress. As we slower stress, sleep improves. As stress and sleep improves, immune function improves.

Our ability to take care of ourselves improves.

Herbal Immune Support

When thinking about herbal immune support, unless someone is harboring an infection, it is imperative not to take herbs which are anti-viral in nature (more on this later). Right now, what is needed is supporting—is nourishing and nurturing—the body.

Not waging war against it.

Those herbal anti-virals and antibiotics serve a very specific purpose, and that purpose is to kill infections.

Instead of supplementing in the hopes of killing an infection which may or may not be present, the ideal approach is to support the immune system.

This is where medicinal mushrooms come in.

Not only do they have the ability to heal and to modulate immune function (again, I’m not linking studies here in the hopes of getting this posted in a timely manner), but the polysaccharides in them serve the additional function of being the food of the immune system—not just in a figurative sense, but also in a literal sense. They provide the immune cells with nourishment and energy.

Polysaccharides are their food.

It feels highly unethical to mention any of our products here, because it feels like taking advantage of the fear and worry we are all feeling, but I am going to because the reality is that our Twelve Rivers MycoMedic is an important immune tonic—one that I’m using right now and one that I want everyone—including the people I love and care about—to be taking to support their immune system.

We want to make our bodies strong.

We want to give it the fuel and the best tools to do its job. That’s  Twelve Rivers. It is a broad-spectrum medicinal mushroom formula, made from organic and wild-harvested ingredients, and extracted so that it is ready-to-use.

This is the ideal formula for times like this.

When selecting medicinal mushrooms, from us and from elsewhere, there are three points that I want to impress upon you so that you are an informed consumer:

1. Make sure the products you are purchasing are extracted and ready to use.

Unextracted mushrooms are of no help. They are not digestible. Even if they are powdered. Even if you make a tea out of them. That is because the cells walls are indigestible.

Mushroom cell walls are composed of  chitin (the same material that the exoskeletons of arthropods like lobsters are made out of). They are a waste of money if taking them as is.

All of our mushrooms are ready to use.

2. Purchase products made from whole fruiting bodies, not from mycelium. Mycelium is the waste product of mushroom cultivation.

As mushrooms (fungi) grow and develop, they live as mycelium. When resources are deplete, all the resources are put into the fruiting body and the mycelium is left largely as waste. The fruiting body is where the magic is. Would you rather eat an apple or the root from the apple tree.

All of our products are made from whole fruiting body mushrooms.

I’ll clue you into something, mycelium is dirt cheap. When you see mycelium listed as an ingredient, know that.

3. As much as possible, look for wild-harvested and organically cultivated mushrooms (really, everything).

Many of the medicinal compounds present in herbs and mushrooms are the plants/fungi’s own natural defenses. It is proven that organically cultivation increases these compounds because more stress is placed on the plant to defend itself. So not only is organic better for the people producing the plants and fungi, and better for the environment around them, but the final product is of higher quality.

Almost—almost absolutely exclusively—all of our ingredients are certified organic or wild-harvested.

In supporting the immune system, we are stressing and recommending medicinal mushrooms.

Twelve Rivers MycoMedic

In fighting illness, a different approach is needed.

If you are sick with COVID-19

Immune support is still integral. But, this is the time to call in the big guns. Here, you’ll look to the herbal anti-virals and anti-microbials.

What Herbs to Take For The Corona Virus

Stephen Buhner has put together an extensive document to answer this question. I am not even going to attempt to do it justice here and I am not even going to attempt to paraphrase it. What I am going to do is to copy and paste just enough of the protocol (what herbs to take to combat a COVID-19 infection) that you go and read the document in it’s entirety.

Here are the protocols as stated by Stephen Buhner. These are pulled directly by him. If you are interested at all in these, read his paper on this.

Suggested Protocols

General protective: Shuanghuanglian Formulation

Note: this was found in the earlier SARS outbreak in China to help considerably—a review of the already mentioned mechanisms indicates why It is now being tested in clinical trials in China for treatment of Cov-19 infections.

The formulation is composed of Forsythia suspensa fruit (2 parts), Lonicera japonica (1 part), Scutellaria baicalensis (1 part).

Suggested dosage: 1 tsp., 3x daily.

However: I would also take with this the immune formulation from the following protocol in order to activate the most effective healthy immune function for this particular viral pathogen.

SARS-groupTreatment Protocol

This is composed of three tincture formulations, as follows.

1. Core formulation: Scutellaria baicalensis (3 parts), Polygonum cuspidatum (2 parts), Pueraria (2 parts), Glycyrrhiza (1 part), decocted Sambucus leaf tincture (1 part).

Dosage: 1 tsp 3x day, if acute 1 tsp 6x day.

2. Immune formulation: Cordyceps (3 parts), Angelica senensis (2 parts), Rhodiola (1 part), Astragalus (1 part).

Dosage: Same as number one.

3. Cellular protection/cytokine modulation/spleen-lymph support: Salvia miltiorrhiza (3 parts), Ceanothus (2 parts), Bidens pilosa (1 part).

Dosage: Same as number one. 

The Individual Herbs

Here is the list of herbs protective for COVID-19, again,  pulled directly from Stephen Buhner:

Plants specifically antiviral for the SARS-group of viruses

The strongest known so far are:

Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap root), Houttuynia spp, Isatis spp, Glycyrrhiza spp (licorice), Forsythia suspensa (the fruit), Sophora flavescens, and Lycoris radiata (extremely potent). Lonicera japonica and Polygonum cuspidatum are also effective as antivirals for coronaviruses as a group.

Block viral attachment to ACE-2 linkages

Specific for this are Glycyrrhiza spp (licorice), Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap root), Sambucus spp (elder), luteolin, Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut), Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed root), Rheum officinale, and plants high in procyanidins and lectins (e.g. Cinnamomum, i.e. cinnamon).

Upregulate and protect ACE-2 expression, increase its activity (esp in the aged), and lower Ang-2

Herbs specific for this are:

Pueria spp (kudzu), Salvia miltiorrhiza (Dan shen), and Ginkgo biloba.

Use ACE inhibitors (in contrast to ACE-2 upregulators) to increase the presence of ACE-2 and help protect the lungs from injury:

Crataegus spp (hawthorn) and Pueraria spp (kudzu) are specific.

Modulate cytokine responses (Salvia miltorrhiza), including the lowering of TGF levels

[ Angelica sinensis (dong quai), Astragalus monghilicus], regulating HMGB1 (Salvia miltiorrhiza), and reducing IL-1b [Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed), Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap), Cordyceps spp, Pueraria (kudzu), and Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset)],

Protect lung cells from hypoxia

Rhodiola spp.

Protect the cilia

Cordyceps spp, olive oil and leaf, any berberine- containing plants, and Bidens pilosa.

Reduce autoimmunity and increase healthy immune function

Rhodiola, Astragalus spp, Cordyceps spp.

Protect endothelial cells

Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed root).

Protect spleen and lymph system

Ceanothus spp (red root), Phytolacca (poke root), Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap root), Salvia miltiorrhiza, Bidens pilosa.

Stimulate DC maturation Cordyceps spp and increase T cell counts Glycyrrhiza spp (licorice), Ceanothus (red root), Sambucus spp (elder), and zinc.

My Take Away

This is a lot of information. And hopefully, much if it—the herbal protocols provided by Stephen Buhner—will be irrelevant to you.

But I do want to stress what I opened with post with: That we need to take a deep breath before acting. Let's use this as a reminder to act with intention and not to merely react. When we react we are driven by fear. While useful, fear makes a terrible co-pilot.

Continue doing those things that you know support your health, the health of those close to you, and the health of the community—even the health of the global community.

As scary as this all is (and it is), let's make it our goal to find some space—some peace and some sanity—within. 

You got this. We all got this.