Natural Remedies for Post-Covid Syndrome / Long Covid
Many people who have had a Covid-19 infection find that they still have bothersome symptoms months after the infection is over. These people suffer form complications from Covid-19 known as Post-Covid Syndrome, also known at Long Covid or Post-Acute Covid-19 Syndrome. Although they survived Covid-19, many people still suffer from symptoms including:
Fatigue, Sleep Difficulties, Brain Fog and Difficulty with Concentration
Cough, Shortness of Breath
Other symptoms can be:
Muscle pain and headaches
A pounding or fast heartbeat
Loss of smell and taste
Rash or hair loss
These symptoms resemble the chronic symptoms that many people had after another coronavirus epidemic, that of SARS-CoV-1 which happened in 2002-2003. Essentially, the main symptoms is often low energy and fatigue, which corresponds medically to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Up to 40% of people infected with SARS experienced chronic fatigue, like a large proportion of those who survived Covid-19.
Self-Care for Post-Covid Syndrome / Long Covid
So what to do about it? Of course, follow the advice of your physician, but beyond that, before you start taking natural remedies and supplements, the first thing you should do is get the basics of your health right. Check the following boxes first:
Get Your Sleep Right
Give yourself enough time for sleep and stay away from screens 30-60 minutes before bedtime. Allow yourself to wind down with something relaxing.
Get Your Food Right
Cut down drastically on added sugar as it can create inflammation in your body. This means you should get your sugar from fresh fruits and stay away form packaged processed foods which almost always have added sugar in various forms: sucrose, corn syrup, molasses. All juices are also a no go. Limit the amount of dried fruits, dates and honey as well. Eat these moderately. Try this for 2 weeks and see how you feel.
Increase your intake of protein through legumes, beans, peas, nuts and seeds, as well as good quality fish and meats in moderation if you are not vegetarian or vegan.
Avoid all refined carbohydrate foods: white breads and pasta, cakes, muffins, brownies, cookies, ect. Eat carbs in moderate from whole wheat sources such as whole wheat breads, brown rice, whole wheat pastas, ect.
Make sure you get plenty of water and veggies throughout the day.
Get Your Physical Activity Right
Give yourself at least 30 minutes a day to exercise at your own pace doing an activity that you can tolerate well. The activity should be a bit challenging but not exhaust you completely. No matter your level of fitness of chronic fatigue, there is something you can do to get your body moving and blood flowing.
This can be walking, doing home video workouts, biking, swimming, jogging, running. The important thing is to make it enjoyable and to try to stay regular.
If you find that your body cannot handle 30 minutes of exercise in a row, start with 5-10 minute sets, 2-3 times per day. Keep the same routine for 3 sessions and on the 4th day try adding a few minutes to your routine. Continue like this, progressing every three times.
Consulting a Physiotherapist or Fitness Instructor can also help you here.
Get your Rest-Activity Balance Right
Lots of people forget about this one, but if every minute of your day is packed with stuff to do, list of items to take care of, chores, task, responsibilities, and you are not giving yourself time to do nothing, just rest, listen to music or read a book, this is not conducive to healing.
Everyone needs a period of time for themselves on a daily basis. Even if it is a short amount of time, it needs to happen every day. And the best way to make it happen is to schedule it in your calendar, plan for it in advance.
During this time, you should avoid things that cause stress such as watching the news or movies or TV shows that are stress inducing. In fact, its best to stay away from screens altogether. Many people will find that they are not relaxed after watching TV or spending time on social media.
Instead, consider this time as vacation time. Imagine you are somewhere warm and you have no responsibilities, and do something you love, either on your own or with your life partner or a friend.
Reach Out And Ask For Help When You Need It
As a society, we are all suffering from the negative impact of social isolation on some level or another. Social connection and relationships are one of the most important predictors of health and we all need this in some form or another. If you are feeling isolated, reach out to your contacts and don't be afraid for help. This can take the form of scheduling a weekly online or phone chat with a friend, or an in-person visit where this is permitted.
If you are feeling depressed, ask your doctor for help and see a counsellor or psychologist. There is no shame in wanting to have a compassionate ear to help listen to our thoughts and guide us in challenging times. If you don't feel able to do this yourself, let a loved one know that you are not feeling well and give them the opportunity to make the appointment for you and take care of you in whatever way they can. This is good for them, it helps them grow and helps strengthen the bond between you.
Once you have these basics of health right, then you can look at what you can do in terms of natural remedies and treatments for Post-Covid Syndrome or Long Covid as some people call it.
Natural Remedies for Post-Covid Syndrome / Long Covid
Here are my recommendations to maximize you're body's healing capacity with natural solutions. The key here is to understand that what you need to do is support your body's healing and defense mechanism. since the original Covid-19 infection is gone, our focus with treatment is not to fight an infection but rather help re-establish balance in the body.
There are many supplements and herbal remedies that can help with this. You can consult a Naturopath in your area to get a list of recommendations customized for your body type and needs.
You can also check out a list of supplements and herbs recommended by Amy Rothenburg, an American Naturopath whom I trust. See her Article: FieldNotes from Natural Medicine: COVID-19 Reflections and Recommendations. Remember this list is not intended to replace medical treatment and may not be suitable for all individuals. Certain herbs can interact with prescription medication so it is always recommended that you check with your physician or pharmacist first to make sure the supplements or herbs are right for you.
Next, I recommend treatment with a modality that will help re-establish balance and order in your body's self-healing mechanism. Homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine are modalities that aim to identify and treat the imbalance in a perosn's whole body and not just one organ at a time. In Chronic Fatigue, there is not just a problem with nerves or one organ in the body. Rather fatigue is a sign that problems are piling up and the body as a whole is not coping well.
For many people, some homeopathic remedies can help get them unstuck and get their vital energy moving gradually towards the right direction. Once you have more energy, you can exercise more and the cycle of positivity and healing begins. Because Homeopathy and Chinese Medicine treat your whole body as one unit, their treatments lead to improvements you can see in many areas at the same time. Often, people will notice better sleep, digestion, less physical pains and elevated moods all from the same treatment.
I specialize in homeopathy and can help you with this part. I see patients online through Zoom calls and in person at my clinic in Ottawa, Canada. To learn more, you can reach me at the Rideau Wellness Centre at 613-241-3434 or by filling our contact form.
To learn more about how homeopathy works, you can read theses articles I have written:
COVID-19 (coronavirus): Long-term effects, Mayo Clinic