In an attempt to keep our community’s frontline healthcare providers (HCP) 

as safe and healthy as possible during this COVID-19 crisis,

I am offering the following herbal support program. 

Why do we need this herbal support program?


Preliminary studies indicate that HCPs who are exposed more often to sicker patients (i.e. higher viral load) are more at risk.(1) In China, both during SARS and more recently with COVID-19, many HCPs were put on herbal supplementation and the evidence is promising that this step helped keep them healthy.(2)   


We are entering what may be the most critical time for our hospitals. One model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle shows an expected peak of April 15 for “projected hospital resource use based on COVID-19 deaths,” assuming social distancing until the end of May 2020.(3)   ​As our most at-risk population, HCPs are currently my top priority.  

 

What is this herbal support program?


  • This program is intended to support HCPs with an herbal combination of two prepared formulas based on that which has been used successfully for prevention of transmission in China, both during SARS and now COVID-19. 
  • The formulas provided have immunomodulating and anti-viral properties (see reference section below). Several individual herbs included are covered in reference (10) below. 
  • The herbs will be offered in tablet and capsule form and packaged in a clean and safe environment. 
  • This is not a treatment for COVID-19 infection. Treatment of actively ill patients is a different matter.


Who is this for? ​


At-risk frontline HCPs and first responders only.  I can currently begin with about 20 providers, possibly more soon. This includes providers with potential direct contact with suspected COVID-19 patients. The most at-risk being those providing aerosol-generating procedures, those in confined spaces with patients, those offering direct care, etc. You know who you are. If you are not in that category please reserve these supplies for those who are more at-risk.   


How will this work?


You will sign up for a short telehealth visit. Prior to your appointment you must fill out a questionnaire, consent, etc. During your telehealth appointment, we’ll go over details and clarify questions. Your herbs will be available for pickup by the following day, possibly sooner.



When can we begin?


Beginning immediately, you may schedule your visit online via my online scheduling program. Click on HCP Support Consultation.  Schedule your consultation


Course of Treatment


The course of treatment is three weeks to get us through this critical time period. ​


What will it cost? ​


I am trying to keep costs as low as possible to reduce any barrier to the program. Fees include managing each HCPs case with an initial telehealth visit, one follow-up call if needed. If paid at the time of service the fee is $40*.  The cost of the herbs is $80 plus tax. I am also working to offer another brand which might cost slightly less if another round of treatment is indicated.   *insurance (Regence, Uniform, Meritain, Aetna) is billed at a slightly higher rate


How will the herbs be distributed?


To facilitate an accessible, safe, and broad pick-up time and location, community partner Cafe Velo (120 Prospect St. #2) has graciously offered to be a no-contact​ pickup point for you. They will simply mark you off the list and you take your bag. Utilizing this community partner allows for weekend pickup, too—they are open Wednesday-Sunday.   ​Herbs will be paid for in advance via my practice management system.  



References


We have the additional barrier in the West of extreme skepticism about herbal medicine. Never mind the fact that Chinese medicine has been treating viral illness for millennia. ​In the face of such grave outcomes, is it not worth entertaining the possibility that something may help, particularly when it won’t hurt and also when you have nothing better to try?  There are many studies on the anti-viral properties of Chinese herbs. There are even studies specifically related to influenza and RSVs (4,5,6) And many on the chief herb (astragalus) in the formula being distributed to HCPs (7,8,9) A 2019 review provides a comprehensive summary of recent polysaccharide extraction methods and the strategies used for modern analysis of chemical characteristics and biological activities of traditional Chinese herbs (10).


Do we need higher quality studies? Absolutely. But this is what we have right now. ​  

  1. The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.“SARS-CoV-2 viral load and the severity of COVID-19.” Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/sars-cov-2-viral-load-and-the-severity-of-covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR042RKDw2qqiN27t7RhusOmb74Jjxs0JjhvvsA9KnS0IJq5QY8sN3oKBSM
  2. Luo, H., Tang, Q., Shang, Y. et al. "Can Chinese Medicine Be Used for Prevention of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? A Review of Historical Classics, Research Evidence and Current Prevention Programs." Chin. J. Integr. Med. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11655-020-3192-6​
  3. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “COVID-19 Projections.” Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from https://covid19.healthdata.org/projections
  4. Ma, S.C. et al. “Antiviral Chinese medicinal herbs against respiratory syncytial virus.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Feb;79(2):205-11. Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11801383
  5. Li G, Cai L, Jiang H, Dong S, Fan T, Liu W, Xie L, Mao B. “Compound Formulas of Traditional Chinese Medicine for the Common Cold: Systematic Review of Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trials”. Altern Ther Health Med. 2015 Nov-Dec;21(6):48-57. Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26567449
  6. Wang X1, Liu Z2. Prevention and treatment of viral respiratory infections by traditional Chinese herbs. Chin Med J (Engl). 2014;127(7):1344-50. Retrieved on April 1, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/247091 
  7. Zhang P, Liu X, Liu H, Wang W, Liu X, Li X, Wu X. Astragalus polysaccharides inhibit avian infectious bronchitis virus infection by regulating viral replication. Microb Pathog. 2018 Jan;114:124-128. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2017.11.026. Epub 2017 Nov 21. PMID: 29170045
  8. Zhang P, Wang J, Wang W, Liu X, Liu H, Li X, Wu X. Astragalus polysaccharides enhance the immune response to avian infectious bronchitis virus vaccination in chickens. Microb Pathog. 2017 Oct;111:81-85. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2017.08.023. Epub 2017 Aug 18. PMID: 28826771
  9. Qiu Y, Hu YL, Cui BA, Zhang HY, Kong XF, Wang DY, Wang YG. Immunopotentiating effects of four Chinese herbal polysaccharides administered at vaccination in chickens. Poult Sci. 2007 Dec;86(12):2530-5. PMID: 18029798 
  10. Zeng, P., Li, J., Chen, Y., & Zhang, L. (2019). The structures and biological functions of polysaccharides from traditional Chinese herbs. Progress in molecular biology and translational science, 163, 423–444. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.pmbts.2019.03.003

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