May 13 2020
I am writing to you regarding the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
I know that others have already sent you emails about this current public health situation. But I wanted to have something substantive to say before I weighed in.
First, this is a new expression of this class of viral disease and presents a new public health problem. So it is worthwhile to base statements on the best information currently available.
Giving oneself a good chance of avoiding this virus – or successfully recovering from it — requires we take steps that improve our overall immune function, paired with following basic public health and hygiene measures that have been outlined by the CDC, WHO and others.
Washing our hands is very useful and a basic hygiene practice. If you decide to use hand sanitizer be judicious and do not overuse this kind of product.
It is also possible in this period to get a normal cold, allergies or flu. Please familiarize yourself with the differing symptoms between those more common illnesses and COVID-19.
An initial consideration is one’s overall health, strength and immune function. It is not simple to speak about enhancing immune function, since the immune system is NOT a clearly defined system like the digestive, circulatory, nervous or lymphatic systems. Instead it is made up of many biological structures and processes that can protect us against disease.
It is clear that the results even for those who get the Coronavirus are diverse and have a relation to health and age. Those who are infected and recover well, which are the great majority of those infected, do so in significant part as a result of their overall health.
Since Tibetan medicine looks at the body and mind as the interdependent ecosystem, that in reality they are, thinking about what we commonly refer to as ‘immune function’ is a bit clearer than it can be in biomedical terms. We have seen clinically that people who utilize Tibetan medicine (that is improve their diet, positively adjust their behavior and lifestyle and use Tibetan herbal medicines) develop measurable, good overall health and immune function.
Certainly, two of the most important things to build strong resilient health are diet and behavior/lifestyle. Eating a healthy balanced diet along the lines that I individually prescribe for each patient is meant to enhance overall health and immune function.
Although there are certain common sense approaches to diet, in reality what is best for each individual is different, and dependent on many factors such as age, health, the seasons, etc.
Important basics regarding diet and behavior/lifestyle are for example, getting enough sleep and rest, but not to excess; maintaining regular eating, sleeping and bathroom habits; one should avoid weakening foods and those that might encourage infection like sugar and artificial sweeteners, processed foods (including some of the new highly engineered plant-based faux meats), synthetic food additives, non-fresh foods, alcohol, marijuana, etc.
Many in natural healthcare have encouraged the use of Vitamin C and D and Elderberry. If you are experiencing a normal cold, flu or infection the additional use of goldenseal and echinacea can also be helpful.
In Tibetan medicine formulas that are used for conditions akin to Coronaviruses have as key ingredients either clove, elecampane (https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/natural-cough-remedy/ ; http://www.sawmillherbfarm.com/herb%20profile/elecampane/), licorice and raisin and when used respectively as spices, teas or foods they can help strengthen lung function. The simple Ayurvedic/Tibetan formula Triphala (https://www.planetaryherbals.com/products/GP1554/) can also be useful (but should be taken in lower dosages so as to not cause loose stool or diarrhea).
Remember to breathe fully (diaphragmatically and in the lungs). This is good for your lungs, helps mitigate the effects of stress and is essential for strong health.
Since lung dryness is a factor in this disease, and we are still in the heating season, the use of a steam vaporizer (NOT a humidifier) especially at nighttime is likely a good idea. For any kind of cold or flu, keeping the lungs moistened especially at nighttime while sleeping is an important, easy and inexpensive additional therapy.
As you are likely aware, Tibetan medicine is also very concerned about the relation of our mind to health. As such, giving in to stress, fear and panic is clearly deleterious for immune function.
The current scare that we see in the US, is based on the way in which people’s minds are reacting to real concerns surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, along with the misinformation and a lack of information that exists. Negative reaction of the mind and emotions tends to enhance a crisis and also challenge our body’s immune function. Rational response and calm tends to create solutions. We can see material evidence of this in the positive good government public health results occurring in countries like Taiwan and Singapore vs what is occurring here in the US, where fear and panic are becoming as much part of the crisis as the virus itself.
April 21, 2020
As I mentioned to you in my email of March 16th, we have seen clinically that people who utilize Tibetan medicine (that is improve their diet, positively adjust their behavior and lifestyle and use Tibetan herbal medicines) develop measurable, good overall health and immune function.
As best as possible maintain your diet in a manner such as I have recommended. Diet is a key component of good immune function. In the centuries old texts of Tibetan medicine epidemic illnesses were discussed, and maintaining proper diet when such diseases are manifest is considered most important. It is thought that at this time diets that contain a large amount of meat, sour foods, fat, spices, sugar, foods that are hard to digest, non-fresh foods etc. should be avoided and regarded as being akin to “pernicious poison.”
In terms of behavior, our Tibetan medicine texts also recommend avoiding any people, material (nowadays e.g. media) or situations that can cause extreme agitation of the mind or emotions, situations that can cause you to become fatigued, or overly stressed and loud or disturbing noises. It is important to get sufficient sleep and rest but — in these times of social distancing — avoid becoming too inactive or lethargic. Some physical activity or exercise is a good idea even if it is simple housework. It is also advised that we pursue positive spiritual and/or ethical pursuits whether they involve activities, thoughts, or reading and studying. Most important is to try to have a calm mind, which can be difficult in these times. Doing some meditation or prayer, giving time to spiritual and/or ethical studies and practice and/or simply remembering to breathe well and fully are good ideas for our current circumstance.
Keep in mind that every country that has had relative success with this public healthcare crisis, worked on it from the front end. That is, they have a sufficient public health infrastructure, incentivize their citizens to engage in early free testing and free treatment — and the same for those with whom they had contact —, an are giving adequate public health education to their citizens.
Reading about the steps taken in countries like S. Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany etc. are worthwhile. So, for example, wearing masks in public, which has just now been recommended here has been basic public health policy for weeks now in those countries who have had greater success with Covid-19.
In following media, remember that US federal, state and local officials largely did not prepare for this public health situation. As a result, many press conferences and press releases are presenting too much information that is unclear, hard to implement, or behind the curve. This can lead people to feel a sense of greater confusion, fear or panic. But maintaining a calm mind is essential for supporting one’s immune system. So instead of trying to dissect truth from truism and politics pay attention to info from countries that have had relative success with dealing with this public health crisis.
Stay safe and calm,
Iceland is allowing everyone in the country to be tested for the coronavirus. The government says it spent years perfecting its approach.
How Taiwan has become a COVID-19 success story
What the U.S. can learn from Singapore on Covid
Why Germany’s coronavirus death rate is so much lower than other countries’ rates
Professor Kim Woo-joo from Korea University Guro Hospital, Leading COVID-19 Expert From South Korea