How to simply and easily help prevent getting infected by coronavirus and any flu like symptons.

Who isn’t concerned about the new coronavirus COVID-19, that quite possibly could be classed as a pandemic by the WHO in the coming days or weeks. We are already seeing significant disruptions within the travel industry, trade and commerce, cancellations of sporting events, schools and colleges closing and even early stages of panic buying at supermarkets. I have noticed even here in Portugal that all trade masks for all types of industry have sold out in many hardware stores, despite as of yet, there are no confirmed cases in the country. The media serves us up with varying levels of hysteria or concern, but it’s fair to say that because COVID-19 is a new form of a coronavirus, the medical representatives and virologists do not fully understand its source, path or its destiny.

Was it really from a wet market where exotic seafood and animals are sold for consumption in Wuhan? Or did it leak from the BioWeapons research centre there, which is the only institute specialising in virology, viral pathology and virus technology among 19 other biological and biomedical research institutes in Chinese Academy of Sciences?

There are plenty of conspiracy theorists on the subject and I expect an increase in sales for Dean Koontz’s 1981 ‘fictional’ novel, The Eyes of Darkness, that is based on a biological warfare facility based in, strangely enough, Wuhan, which rather worryingly lets loose a killer viral pathogen called Wuhan-400.

So enough on its limited history and its unknown future, instead I want to talk about how to maybe not get it in the first place. For the last 15 years, my wife and I have followed a regime of daily doses of commonly available herbs and minerals. I decided to give our bodies the weapons to fight common ailments, sicknesses, flu outbreaks and all the other bacteria that attack us in their millions on a daily basis. I believe our immune system is now in tip-top condition as we rarely, if ever, become sick or ill. Neither have us have ever had a flu shot, neither of us are taking any kind of mainstream medication that many of our friends are for cholesterol, blood pressure, insulin, or the heart. There is not one prescribed tablet we have taken from a doctor for over 15 years. The only time I have visited a hospital was for a hernia operation from stupidly lifting a 100kg television, you remember those old-fashioned bulky beasts, and my wife visiting a herbal practitioner with symptoms linked to the menopause. We are both in our fifties, relatively fit and active and eat mainly a Mediterranean diet, which I will specifically go into more detail on another future article.

What’s the secret or formula?

There is nothing too specific or any need to take in any particular order or even frequency, just as long as you consume them on a regular basis. The following list are the foods and minerals we include in our diet and hygeine . I will explain later on how our typical day starts and ends.

  1. Ginger root
  2. Turmeric root or powder
  3. Oregano Oil
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother
  5. Fresh Lemon and Limes
  6. Raw Honey
  7. Tea Tree Oil
  8. Fresh Rosemary
  9. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  10. Cumin Oil
  11. Probiotics Formula
  12. Magnesium Supplements
  13. CBD Oil
  14. Fresh Grapefruit
  15. Algae and Seaweed Products.

There are a few more food items we would add to but I would say this is the prevalent Magic 15.

Now its very important for me to say that I’m not a doctor and therefore I’m not saying that this concoction is going to work for every ailment out there, neither am I suggesting that these foods will make you virus or flu free for the next 20 years, especially as many of you might be on certain medications that may counteract its effectiveness, so you have to discuss everything with your doctor first. But so far it’s worked for us and the few friends and family who’ve opted to give it a try. That’s the only point of this article - I’m simply sharing.

On other articles I will focus in greater detail on each of the above but for now I am going to talk about our typical day and the diet that has remained pretty much the same for the last 20 years using the above ingredients.

Breakfast and Wake-up Time.

This, I feel, is the most important time to kick start the metabolism and give the body some protection throughout the day. So the first thing that hits the stomach without fail, come rain or shine, is a fresh ginger, lemon (or lime) and honey tea. It’s so important for us, we even take these ingredients abroad if we think it will be difficult to source them, especially the honey. Now I am quite lucky here, as 20 years ago I planted 2 lemon trees, 3 orange, a pink grapefruit, and a lime, on top of various other plants that makes up my garden pharmacy (more on that on another article), so I am blessed with organic citrus fruits most of the year. Secondly, when we bought our house we checked out our neighbours and found a lovely hamlet where a small family grow their own organic produce and make their own honey! I have since played Winnie the Pooh with Alvaro the bee keeper and watched in awe how he collects fresh honey from the hives and literally drip-feeds it into jars. The bees flourish in abundance here collecting pollen from citrus, pine, and wild lavender, so we are blessed to have such a bee bounty of honey. You might not be so lucky, so you’ll have to source your ingredients from the local supermarket, but try to make sure, at least, that your honey is ‘raw’.

So at approximately 7am the kettle is put on to boil, but not to boiling point -we do not want to destroy all the honey benefits from scalding water. Add to this fresh cut ginger in abundance, a thick slice of lemon or lime plus all the fresh juice squeezed from the remainder. I find 1 lemon serves 2 mugs for breakfast. Then in goes a teaspoon of honey into the hot water. This is consumed first before any other foods and approximately 30 minutes before breakfast. Delicious.

With further articles I will delve deeper into the thoughts and benefits behind this wonderful wake-me-up drink but until then you can also explore the internet but I think you’ll find it difficult to find any negative information on this drink.

Within these 30 minutes your liver and kidneys are getting well flushed, it might even trigger some bowel movement (!!) and most likely kick-start your appetite so it’s now time for breakfast!

This is where turmeric, rosemary, extra virgin oil, and algae can come in. I am heavily in favour of a good healthy start to the day.

Over 80% of the time we will have a mixture of eggs, avocado, cheese, and some quality organic bread made into toast. The eggs will be either boiled, scrambled fried or poached. Four of the Magic 15 will be used for breakfast, turmeric powder will be mixed with fresh black pepper and used abundantly as the condiment, beware of your hands though as turmeric stains. I used to wear white shirts and now its better I wear yellow, turmeric can make you look like a 40 a day Lambert and Butler smoker as it gets everywhere, the root is even more colourful, so if you prefer to keep yourself stain-free (like my wife), you could use the turmeric capsules you can buy from health food shops. I often use the root ground into a paste or added to a tea, fresh rosemary from the garden can be added to the eggs as a similar condiment. Use olive oil of the highest quality you can afford and make sure it’s ‘extra virgin’ and look for dark glass bottles rather than plastic, this can be drizzled over the avocado and onto the toast, a good 2 tablespoons worth! For the final flourish, add some algae, it’s generally bought dehydrated so you’ll need to soak as per the packet instructions. There are many varieties to choose from, I tend to use Wakame, Dulse or Nori, which give a salty flavour to your dish negating the need for extra salt.

What a healthy, nutrient rich, bug-busting feast.

Lunch and Fruit.

Sugar is known to impede the functioning of your immune system and when white blood cells (the defenders of the immune system) are exposed to high levels of sugar, their ability to fight bacteria decrease significantly, making the body more prone to all infections. For this reason we try to consume more grapefruit in our diet as they are packed with Vitamin C (perfect for that much-needed lunchtime fruit/energy hit) and very low in sugar.

I am very lucky to have this tree growing less than 10 metres from our back door and depending on the time of year the garden is either scented with sweet perfume from the flowers or dripping like Xmas baubels with the fruit. One tree provides us with around 140 grapefruits, so once they’re eaten I’ll source them from an organic supplier.

Like us, you can also add some oranges, kiwi or apples to your lunchtime fruit salad as an alternative to grapefruit, especially for those of you who cannot consume grapefruit as they interact with certain statin and blood pressure medication. Obviously, you must discuss this first with your doctor.

Lunchtime we often have our own cordial mixture of Apple Cider Vinegar added to water. You can take a tablespoon direct from the bottle, which is great also for any indigestion discomfort as it helps to balance the pH in your gut. A spoonful will dispel any tummy cramps quicker than any over-the-counter antacid. Apple Cider Vinegar contains malic and acetic acid, and acetic acid is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. It enters our system as an acid and then is soon metabolised to become alkaline in the blood. The same is true with citric acids. Grapefruits, lemons and limes are acidic in content, but they are alkaline producing foods. We normally try to drink 2 full glasses throughout the day of this tonic.

By mid afternoon we would have used 9 from our Magic 15 in varying quantities, plus possibly another ginger tea or two, depending on the weather, and how our body feels.

Top-up Tonics.

Oregano is one of natures best known secrets. It’s a staple Mediterranean herb that grows wild often high in the mountains and is a super-power weapon against the cold and flu season. Oregano has high levels of thymol and carvacrol, these are antioxidants in the form of phenolic compounds which are very beneficial to the body, however, I will let you do your own research on oregano as it’s a huge subject with few negatives.

Luckily again, it grows on my doorstep so I am always using it in salads, stews and soups, but I also use a very good quality essential oil form which can be ingested once a day. If I am surrounded by people, friends or family with a nasty virus or cold, I will start to take an oregano oil dosage every day for a couple of weeks — just a couple of pipette drops with a glass of water in the morning. It’s very potent so I don’t advocate it needs to be taken year-round, just at intervals when the bugs are out and you are wanting extra protection.

If you cannot find fresh oregano or the oil, you can also try Black Seed Oil from the Nigella Sativa plant, better known as cumin. Sore throat pain is frequently caused by a variety of viral and bacterial infections. The pain or discomfort usually occurs because of swollen tonsils and lymph nodes in the throat. Black seed oil rapidly reduces the inflammation that causes sore throat pain. But it doesn’t stop there, black seed oil can cure a whole host of ailments related to breathing difficulties and cold related illnesses. So we tend to alternate between oregano and black seed oil, 2 weeks with oregano then the next 2 weeks with black seed oil. If there is a global flu virus affecting many countries, we might continue using these oils for up to 2 or 3 months during the winter season.

Dinner and Bedtime.

Our main meal is around 18.00 to 19.00, and we delve into the Mediterranean diet as much as possible. The plate is always colourful and I don’t mean the porcelain but the ingredients, and as is normal here in the Mediterranean, every evening meal is accompanied by a glass of red wine, sometimes two. I believe red wine in moderation has some equally great health benefits, and paired with almonds, figs and olives it’s a delicious tonic and boost to your immune system.

It’s not important here to discuss what we eat for dinner but we source locally, and eat seasonal products, focusing as much as possible on organic and varied across the food spectrum. My wife is vegetarain and as I am the predominate chef, I tend to cook vegetarian for 5 meals a week for both of us adding meat for myself and fish for at least 2 of the other days.

The ritual before bedtime consists of a probiotic containing billions of good bacteria, these can be found in supplements or in some yoghurts, this will help keep your gut flora healthy through the night. We also, on occasion, add a few drops of CBD oil under the tongue which helps promote a full uninterrupted sleep. I realise CBD oil is now all the rage and once again won’t help everyone but it acts, amongst many other things, as an anti- inflammatory, and we all know inflammation within our bodies are usually the start of any illness. Once again please speak to your doctor first if you are considering taking any of these supplements.

One final supplement at bedtime is magnesium. Our bodies are heavily depleted in this mineral, anything that makes you tense and stressed could potentially be caused by magnesium deficiency. If you can’t relax or settle then think magnesium! Full-blown health problems can even be linked back to this crucial mineral, and on a global scale we are nearly all deficient because our foods are becoming so processed and soils poisoned by chemicals, magnesium is being stripped from our food chain, so if there is just one supplement I would recommend everyone takes it would be magnesium.

A tablet, a spray body oil or even a dose of Epsom salts in your bath will all benefit our tired and stressed bodies. We use a Magnesium citrate tablet with a glass of water just before bedtime. We always aim to have a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night. Sleep is so important, it gives the body a chance to heal, repair and recharge. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

There is only 1 more left from the list and this is all about having a defender around us and in public places. This is where tea tree oil comes in.

Tee Tree Oil

Tea tree oil goes everywhere with me, it’s as important as my wallet or telephone. It goes on planes, in cars, taxis, public toilets, restaurants, into friends houses, business meetings and has been to every country I have visited. I see tea tree oil as providing me with the Ready Brek antiseptic glow.

It either comes as the neat concentrated version or a diluted spray form and it keeps us protected. Tea tree oil has a strong antibacterial agent and has antiviral and antifungal properties. However, this is something not to ingest, use only topically and until you get used to it, make sure it’s diluted. After many years of use I can apply to my hands, inhale or even add a tiny drop to the base of my nostrils. It’s a ritual now, if I enter to room full of coughers, out comes - albeit discretely, the tea tree oil. And it works.

I will spray fold away tables and seats on planes, door handles, steering wheels, telephones and supermarket trolleys if needed. If this is too difficult I just spray my hands and carry on as usual.

On that note, I am appalled with the hygiene of most people on this planet. I would estimate only 50% of men wash their hands after using a public toilet, and my wife informs me it’s very much the same in the ladies, so you can see how easily viruses spread, so that’s why tea tree always comes with me.

If you follow this practice and if you can introduce the others in my Magic 15, I would be confident to say that your immune system will be much stronger and you will have much less chance to catch any flu-like symptoms.

I have worked with and studied plants for the last 25 years, written many articles on it, been my own guinea pig and now I am happy to share all. Over the next few months I will offer more tips and guidelines to optimise health, help you grow your own herbs, help you prepare tonics if you come down with a virus and delve deeper into the healing garden.

A landscape designer, a botanist, a herb and spice grazer, a listener, an animal adorer, a black sheep, a sharer, a writer, a chef, an inventor….