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Food

Herbs to Boost Our Immunity and Bring Us Joy in the Time of Coronavirus

Even though viruses are on the edge between living and non-living substances, they can cause a great deal of harm during a pandemic. Viruses do not have the ability to create descendants as animals do, and they do not have their own metabolic system, hence they must use another organism – a ‘host’. This is why many researchers say they are actually “living dead”, entities waiting for a host to become alive. These organisms are “on the edge of life”, containing DNA and/or RNA and varying widely and in their form and structure. Among other reasons, this variation combined with their tendency to mutate make it so hard to deal with them. Scientific progress, with scientists working day by day, gives us hope for a vaccine and a treatment for SARS-Cov-2, the latest enemy of this new kind of war, a pandemic we have never seen before. We are now more than ever in hands of science. Since a vaccine seems to not be near, some protective measures, which are also used against other viruses, like influenza, can help.

Frequent handwashing and following other hygiene instructions from World Health Organization and also wearing surgical masks the correct way can prevent us from getting the virus. Our immune system should be “at its best” and good nutrition should be our main goal. Using herbs which help with respiratory illnesses like the flu could be an extra helping agent for your health. An herbal tea with rosemary, thyme, and eucalyptus can help you remove the mucus from your respiratory system. Also, a very hot bath with essential oils from these plants can also help you remove mucus. But it also relaxes you and reduces distress! Willow tree leaves and bark is said to reduce fever according tp folk medicine but actually by taking aspirin you can consume the healing ingredients the willow tree in a correct way. Another tasteful mix of herbs for the common flu or cold is boiling cinnamon bark and cloves for 10 minutes. After 20 minutes stir them, heat it some more and add honey and lemon juice.

Going out for a drink is kind of tricky these days, but you can make a traditional recipe from the island of Crete island: Rakomelo. Use 100 mL traditional Cretan ‘Raki’ liquor boiled with 1 tsp of honey, 3-4 cloves and 1 piece of cinnamon bark. You can make the same recipe with 100 mL of red wine.

Try to be positive and enjoy yourself – the immune system is strongly affected by stress and anxiety. Make your ‘coronavirus refuge’ truly your home sweet home!

* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira is an Agriculturist-MSc Botany-Biology and PhD Candidate in Agricultural-Environmental Education and Science Communication

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