Coronavirus is visiting us again. This is the seventh time it has presented itself as a threat to humankind. There was SARS in 2003 in China, and MERS in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Both of these took their toll but ran their course. Because it's here again, I want to share some of my understanding of what this virus means for all of us. As a Yale-trained physician in primary care for more than thirty years—who has a background in botanical medicine, homeopathy, physics, and metaphysics—I thought it important to bring another set of eyes to this widespread problem.
What I’m writing now is complementary to presentations and interviews that I've done on Pacifica's KPFK 90.7 FM Radio featuring Dr. Paul Herscu (a renown homeopathic physician with a Master's degree in Public Health who has actively studied and written about epidemics and pandemics for the last thirty years); Nathalie Thandiwe (who also has a Master's degree in Public Health and who is an herbalist. She co-hosted a second program where we discussed, in more detail, the virus, its make up, and ways that we can better protect ourselves); and Dr. Acharan Narula (an organic chemist who is known as a Systems Biologist with a biochemical understanding of plant medicines and their interaction with the body).
From the standpoint of epidemiology and predicting the outcome of these epidemics, Dr. Herscu has been spot on for decades. He is to be believed, for example, when he writes that “the case fatality number will settle around .2% to .5%“ for the current Coronavirus crisis. While this is a significant loss of life, it is much less than the figures that we've heard from major media outlets. I have provided a link below that will direct you to Dr. Herscu’s newsletter for a more in-depth analysis of how to follow an epidemic in a predictive fashion. And of course, you can go to KPFK’s archives to replay my interview with Dr. Herscu in its entirety: https://paulherscuepidemics.blogspot.com/2020/01/highlights-of-writing-on-epidemics-by.html
Given that the virus is out and about around the world, we can assume that it's here to stay with us for a while. We can also assume that it will present itself at different times, particularly during the flu season. But the real issue is how to recognize and protect individuals who are susceptible to developing serious illness and dying from contracting this virus. The elderly (those older than 60 and those with diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illness) are at risk. If one has a history of recurrent bronchitis, asthma, COPD, and/or has abused their lungs, then one can consider themselves "at-risk" as well. Dr. Herscu prognosticates that the virus in this virulent form will mimic our seasonal flu patterns for years to come, thus pointing to the need for other measures to be taken in order to protect at-risk populations (including the caregivers who are in contact with them).
One may carry the virus five to six days before becoming symptomatic and may be infective for days after symptoms have cleared. Dr. Herscu recommends the R95 mask as a real deterrent along with all the other hygienic measures that one would take with the flu (i.e., hand washing for 20 to 30 seconds with soap and water, isolating, and not traveling). The first video in my "reference" section below covers viral spread very nicely in less than five minutes. As for the masks, most people are getting N95 breathers with R95. This offers extra filtration of oil-based particulates. Both have a 95% efficiency rate. Dr. Herscu also stressed how important copper and copper surfaces are because viruses and bacteria are neutralized when they come in contact with copper. Masks with copper are readily available.
Where this discussion becomes interesting for me, however, is when I look at what can be done to prevent serious illness in general, especially for those who are historically susceptible to the flu. For this, I've cited journal articles that are referenced below. The section also includes what I have learned through my association with Dr. Narula. If we understand viruses and how they work then we can better investigate and avail ourselves of therapies that lie outside of waiting for a high-priced pharmaceutical drug or vaccine, being told that we must be vaccinated against this flu.
Viruses are programmed data streams that present as genetic material in the form of RNA and single and double-stranded DNA. They are not able to express themselves (meaning, the can't make the proteins that characterize their function) unless they can hijack the genetic programming of a cell. They do, however, function as aggressive interlopers or “sleepers” that can be awakened by some trigger. Think of a computer virus or an unwanted thought that you can’t shake. That computer virus or unwanted thought has no power unless they take over your cellular operating systems. Hit the wrong key or press the wrong “emotional button" and you have an activation. Viruses are like thought-forms in that they have no real ability to do anything unless they are able to take up a home or space in you. It's interesting that, from the human biologic perspectives, viruses are not considered to be alive because they don’t reproduce or have any actual metabolism of their own. I would say that this is a narrow understanding of what constitutes life. These genetic elementals want to take over and they know enough to dig into your cell and trigger a molecular cascade that leads to your cellular operating systems to come under viral control.
Viruses inject themselves directly into the cell or they attach to a cell receptor on the outside membrane. I have shared a number of more technical articles below that speak to this for those of you who are inclined. These “pattern recognition receptors” have various names: (toll)tlr, (nul) nlr (rig)rlr, etc. But what is important is that when they are activated, this leads to stimulation of an important messenger (or transcription molecule) called Nf kappa B. This molecule is cleaved in such a way that it then attaches and takes over the genes of the cell nucleus, inserting its own genetic material, leading to the production of proteins needed by the virus and thus mobilizing various pro-inflammatory proteins or cytokines. It’s a coup.
The stimulation of these extracellular and intracellular receptors by the virus also leads to the production of Type 1 interferon which is involved with making proteins that will block the virus’s ability to manufacture its proteins. The problem in individuals that are susceptible to going into acute respiratory distress is that the pro-inflammatory stimulation overwhelms the interferon’s ability to block viral protein replication. The more inflammation that takes place with the recruitment of inflammatory immune agents the more destructive it is for the tissue, organ, and ultimately its host. This is what happens in adult respiratory distress syndrome and it can happen very quickly.
IT'S A QUESTION OF BALANCE
Steroids like prednisone are brought into play to stop this inflammatory process or what has been called a cytokine storm. However there are receptors for this class of drugs throughout the body and invariably it creates unwanted side effects. At present, there is a good understanding of the subcellular proteins and receptors that are involved in promoting this inflammatory process. While pharmaceutical companies seek to develop drugs that target these receptors, plant medicines and other bioenergetic therapies can be employed.
It's really a question of balance for inflammation is a necessary step in moving to a healing resolution. But when it comes to chronic inflammation that's associated with chronic disease, then a perpetual loop of unchecked inflammation is in play. With an acute flu-like process the cytokine storm leads to sepsis and a total breakdown of the body and ultimately, death.
Similar to how big pharma is producing drugs that target this viral incursion, nature has the same function with botanicals that can block or modulate the inflammatory cascade at the cellular level so that it does not get out of control. These plant medicines may work at the level of receptors targeted by the virus, may block the activation of NF kappa B directly, or promote the interferon proteins that are involved with blocking viral protein production. I have listed a number of technical studies citing the role that supplements have in combatting this viral takeover. Within medical literature, the pathophysiology of viral infections has been detailed down to the specific receptors and chemical moieties, like the protein-coding gene MYD88.
The second educational video that I site below speaks to this as well as to the more technical articles that detail how various therapeutic botanical agents target cellular mechanisms which prevent the virus from taking over the cellular machinery. The MYD88 protein mentioned above, when blocked by a plant agent like oxymatrine, really shuts down the inflammatory cascade. Botanicals such as genistein in soy, and resveratrol and the steroidal sapogins that naturally occur in wild yam, are useful agents to block this protein. Anti-viral activity can be stimulated by various mushroom formulas and the androphaphis complex, baicalin (scutalleria), and berberine. Vitamin C and E are weaker antioxidants and are generally not strong enough to block this inflammatory cascade. Botanicals such as curcumin are more designed for the gut unless they have been modified to be lipophilic (fat soluble) and can cross the cell membrane.
WE ARE MORE THAN OUR PHYSICAL STRUCTURE
Ultimately what leads to the death of an individual are when the forces that restore and regenerate the energy-matter field that constitutes a human being are overwhelmed by those that are destructive in nature. Too much NF kappa B stimulation with viral promoting activity and not enough interferon to block viral replication is a problem. While we can use plant medicines to help maintain a proper balance, it's also necessary to move beyond the molecular level to that actual bio-field that houses the mind of an individual—the sum total of thoughts, feelings, emotions, and habits that are a much a part of an individual as their biochemistry and physical structure. When everything is working together we will be much more resilient. The more energetically present one can be, with a clear mind and light heart, the easier it is for one to create the vitality and chemical moieties that will enhance your innate immunity.
In the world of quantum physics where the atom is understood as a non-physical reality, it's more appropriate to understand human anatomy and makeup with more than a five-senses consciousness lens. The civilizations that developed acupuncture and tracked the meridians of the body had a Consciousness that expanded beyond the five senses. The traditional African or Native American healer used their other-than-five-senses consciousness to understand and address the underlying causes of disease through ritual and altered states of consciousness.
In the West, there are numerous technological devices that purport to interface with, measure, and modulate the human biofield. In 1980, my thesis addressed physics and its backdrop to modern medicine and acupuncture. I speculated that there would appear technologies capable of diagnosing and treating at the level of the body’s energetic field. Such systems are available now. The NES health technology is one such system that I use but there are many others that people are working with. More research needs to go into these vibrational diagnostic and healing systems. For some individuals their application will make all the difference in the world.
WE ARE INDEED CONNECTED
We must also remember that we live on a magnet and one only need to review any of the hundreds of studies that speak to the impact of the earth’s electromagnetic field on human life (not to mention the energetic fields of all the forms of life that are a part of this planet) to understand that we are interdependent and interconnected on many levels. Quantum physics demonstrates that our attention is enough to affect the sub-molecular world and our experiences should inform us that the same is also true at our five-senses molecular level when we keep our intention clear and present.
The quality of our thoughts and the persona that emerges has a lot to do with the quality of our life. And while it seems like common sense to think that older and compromised individuals would be more susceptible to the virus we have to think about others. What about individuals that are stressed by the quality of thoughts that they hold onto in their field, i.e., fear, worry, anger, sadness, humiliation, and shame? We know that the more one resonates with feelings of joy, peace, love, gratitude, and appreciation the better the functioning of our organism as a whole. Indeed, radiating the energy of love and compassion can dissipate and dissolve so many unwanted thoughts and feelings; not just for oneself but for those around us. How might this affect our susceptibility to disease and health outcomes?
From my clinical practice, I have realized that physical pathology is very often associated with, runs parallel to, and is in harmony with other levels of energy-matter imbalance, whether it’s a thought, feeling, sensation, emotion or reaction to a difficult human experience. In homeopathy, we attempt to see how the vital force of an individual expresses itself through symptoms that are physical and non-physical and we treat the pattern of imbalance with a homeopathic remedy that has been shown to be effective in humans. Not surprisingly homeopathy, historically, has an excellent track record in the treatment of epidemics and pandemics. Efforts to undermine it stem from a need for a segment of the population to hold onto a materialistic view of life that has a stranglehold on so many aspects of our human existence. Indeed, many of us find ourselves in situations where just about all of our life-energy is focused on day-to-day survival. But multiple cultural lenses need to be used when solving the problems of human living, especially given the billions of people that now need to thrive on this planet.
Answers can come from the technologies of other cultures past and present. I am clear that there is a role for therapies that help to clear a person’s biofield of thoughts and emotions and charged experiential memories that detract from the flow of life energy and that this would help to minimize the incidence of serious illness. The crutches of alcohol, sugar, and any number of habits and addictions are ill-advised coping mechanisms. It will take a cultural shift toward a non-material based understanding of life to effectively address the real emotional and physical needs of people. The biofield itself is full of so many random “charges” from a lifetime of emotional hits and the accumulating residue of an aging body. We have to come up with better solutions other than expensive drugs to solve the problems that come from living together and of being exposed to toxins and viruses that are inimical to our existence.
Regarding our concern of how to deal with the Coronavirus (and future iterations of it), I have shared perspectives that have focused on public health; biochemistry and botanicals; and looking at the larger human biofield. And yes, there is a lot that can be said about where viruses come from and how this genetic material was generated. It's safe to say that if we do not examine how we are contributing to the incidences and occurrence of these entities threatening human existence, then we run the risk of never getting to the bottom of what we need to do to truly create a harmonious existence for all life on this planet. As conscious beings, we should be clear that our outer environment will resonate with whatever we are carrying in our inner environment. Let's give some thought to some of these larger issues and realities as we master the daily practice of keeping our bodies healthy and free of disease.
References: Useful Videos and Scholarly Articles
- https://youtu.be/mOV1aBVYKGA Coronavirus animated
- https://youtu.be/wUgEhfo_qxU Understanding viruses
- Nutraceuticals boosting interferon response to influenza and Coronavirus https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033062020300372
- Antiviral Nutraceuticals
- Antiviral Natural Products and Herbal Medicine
Liang-Tzung Lin et al
J of Traditional and Complementary Medicine 2014 Jan-Mar 4(1)
- Nuclear Factor Kappa B – A Pivotal Transcription Factor in Chronic Inflammatory Disease
By Peter Barnes D.M and Michael Karin Ph.D
NEJM April 10, 1997
- The Regulatory Effect of Oxymatrine on TLR/MYD88/NF kappa B signaling….
Lumeti et al
Phytomedicine 36 2017
- Andrographolide sulfonate ameliorates lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury in mice by down-regulating MAPK and NF-κB pathways.
Peng S1et al
Acta Pharm Sin B. 2016 May;6(3):205-
- Resveratrol ameliorates lipopolysaccharide-induced epithelial mesenchymal transition and pulmonary fibrosis through suppression of oxidative stress and transforming growth factor-β1 signaling.
Zhang YQ et al
Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;34(4):752-6
- Regulation of Antiviral Cell Response by Type 1 interferon Josh Crouse et al Nature Reviews Immunology Volume 15, April 2015
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Taylor Thompson MD et al NEJM.org Aug 10, 2017
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: From Mechanism
To Translation by SeungHye Han and Rama K. Mallampalli
Journal of Immunology Feb 29, 2020
- Role of Pattern Recognition Receptors in Innate Immunity….
By Taro Kawai, Shizuo Akira
Nature Immunology May 2010