Jen Padgett Aum Herbs Apothecary downtown Boulder CreekColumns Coronavirus Health 

Self-Care in a Crisis

By Jen Padgett

What’s happening now is a rush to a cure. And why not? We have an emergency situation on our hands. People are dying – the economic outlook for many is bleak – so the faster, the better, right? We have technology and all sorts of smart people working on this. There is so much information out there about the coronavirus and yet not enough. On a regular basis we get word of a new remedy that may be a potential cure. We may not find relief until a vaccine is available, and that seems pretty far off. 

The fact is we don’t know yet what will be curative – not until studies are complete and something is proven to work. We cannot know the real number of cases until reliable testing becomes available. And we cannot understand how many are symptomatic or know the percentage of deaths until we get a grip on how many asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus there are. It’s unfortunate that the data are not strong enough yet to know how to fully proceed, when to open things back up, and how measured we should be in our response.

The Bay Area has done a great job of keeping the number of cases in check so that we have a chance to keep the impact low compared to other areas of the country. But we have to remain discerning about the information being presented to us. 

While we wait for a tried and true cure, there is plenty we can do to bolster our body systems to stay healthy, and when we do get sick, to minimize the time frame and symptoms, whether it be a cold or something far worse.


Eat the Colors of the Rainbow. It’s true. The healthier we eat, the better our body systems are prepared to support us to keep from getting sick or to support us when we do. Foods rich in color are also rich in minerals and vitamins that our bodies need to  function. The more we eat the rainbow, the better we are supporting all of the systems that keep us well. Try to eat at least five or six colors each day. 

Eat Organic. Grow your own garden and eat what is seasonally available to you. Buy local when you can.  

Use herbs and teas to support nutrition and wellness. Plenty of herbs have calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals. Herbs are a great compliment to eating healthy and can help supplement when you are not able to access all of the healthy foods you need. If you have a temporary ailment, they can replace or enhance the use of conventional medicines.   


If you feel any kind of illness coming on, load up on vitamin C and zinc. For support with lung ailments, research has shown that licorice, Chinese skullcap, elderberry, and cinnamon are some of the herbs that may block attachment of viruses to the lungs. Herbs like hawthorn, kudzu, and mullein may increase lung function, while cordyceps mushroom, Japanese knotweed, Chinese skullcap, and boneset can also be helpful.    

These are stressful times, so do what you can to support your body, mind, and spirit. Calming herbs like lemon balm, passion flower, oatstraw, motherwort, and valerian can help you get plenty of rest. Be patient with yourself and with others. Exercise as much as you are able. Check in on your friends, especially those who are single or have limited family nearby.  

We are very lucky to live in the San Lorenzo Valley with access to health practitioners and herbal support. The most important thing you can do is bolster your immune system and stay healthy. Together, we’ll get through this!

Suggested reading: Herbal Antivirals by Stephen Buhner

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