I’ve attended two webinars today. The first, presented by Rajan Sankaran, a very skilled homeopath from India, was primarily focused on Camphora, which has been very helpful in severe cases in Asia, with sudden collapse, severe weakness, and severe coldness.

The second webinar included participants from Scotland, Belgium and several states in the USA. Of particular interest is the experience of a homeopath in Westchester County, NY, where the pandemic is severe, and who has been extremely busy treating COVID-19 cases.

She has given Petasites tussilago to a number of people, but in some cases (I don’t have exact numbers or a percentage) people have developed illness despite taking it. In those cases, the symptoms have been mild in most instances (which other participants have also noticed), but in some cases she has seen severe illness develop, and in those cases Camphora has been very helpful in a number of cases.

The other prominent remedies in her experience have been Phosphoric acid (also coldness and weakness but neither as intense as with Camphora, and with a desire for juices, refreshing drinks, carbonated drinks) and there can also be a sense of apathy in Phosphoric acid. I recently treated a patient with fatigue and sore throat who had a sense of apathy (indifferent) which was very unlike her normal state and she improved by the next day.

Bryonia is another remedy that she has seen several times (desire to be quiet, still, and undisturbed, irritable if disturbed, all symptoms worse from motion)

She has successfully given Croton tiglium if the only symptom is loss of smell and taste.

Arsenicum album has been only infrequently useful (as has been the experience so far in Belgium).

Gelsemium has been helpful in Scotland (only a few patients have been treated by that homeopath) but it has not been commonly used in Westchester County.

One homeopath became ill while in NYC in early March, and developed a severe and for her unusual headache with a sore throat, and she responded very well to Petasites tussilago. She has given out a lot of the remedy, and in families where one person has been more seriously ill, no other family member taking the Petasites tussilago has become sick in the past few weeks. This is not, of course, conclusive from a statistical sense.

At this point my sense of the effectiveness of the Petasites tussilago is favorable. In Westchester County, if people taking it still become ill, she will change the remedy, depending on the individual’s particular symptoms (again, Phosphoric acid and Bryonia have been common, but a number of other remedies have also come up.

I am prepared to dispense these other remedies. I can distribute these remedies as I have been doing with the Petasites tussilago. The next pickup date will be Tuesday March 31st and will continue through Thursday morning during normal business hours. If you wish to obtain them, you can email me and please copy Donna at donna@drshevin.com. Please be specific as to what you wish to have. Again, as before, there can be no assurance that any one individual will need any of these particular remedies. What I have described here is the first information I have seen which could be relevant to what our experience in Eastern CT is likely to be.

The most recent information that I see is here. Drive-through testing is available in Hartford, Meriden, Bridgeport, Norwich, and Torrington, through Hartford Health Care.

You will need to call them, have a telemed visit, and get a referral. I don’t know if this will be limited to people for whom HHC are already health-care providers.

As far as I can tell, I see no drive-through centers in Rhode Island as yet.

In Massachusetts, as of 3/19/2020 I only see a mention of a testing center being set up at Cape Cod College in Barnstable. I don’t know if that is operable.

We are not yet at the desired point of testing for everyone. All testing requires an order from a physician, and it appears that asymptomatic persons, or possibly people with mild illness and no known contact or underlying medical conditions will not be able to be tested.

I will continue to monitor that availability of testing and post these result.

As is obvious, the pandemic is affecting everyone. Please be sure that you practice proper social distancing, and otherwise comply with all the recommendations being made by the CDC and your state health department. I’m not including links because these are now easy to find.

I have not yet treated anyone who I think has COVID-19, although I’ve managed a few influenza cases with bad coughs over the last 6 weeks.

As far as Petasites tussilago, a possible preventive remedy, is concerned, I have distributed about 70 bottles and continue to do so. As I now realize that I underestimated my costs for the supplies and labor to meet the anticipated need, the new price will be $10 for pickup and $15 for mailing.

The international homeopathic community has been in contact regarding such clinical experience as has been accumulated. We think that there will be differences in the best remedies that will depend largely on climate and other local conditions. As far as the United States is concerned, we have not as yet treated patients that we know have COVID-19.

To summarize the remedies which have been found useful in other countries so far:

Influenzinum has been suggested as a possible preventive by good homeopaths in India, and of course this is already in use in my practice. See my article here.

Arsenicum album — restlessness, fear of contagion, a feeling of scarcity and a need to stock up on supplies, anxiety, desire to wash the hands, dry throat, fever, pneumonia and respiratory distress. This is interesting because fear and panic, and hand washing are all very common now. In Arsenicum cases, the combination of a great sense of weakness, with anxiety and restlessness are usually pretty obvious. Thirst can be high

Gelsemium — great fatigue is the most prominent, lassitude, muscular weakness, slow onset, chills (especially in the back), usually without thirst

Bryonia alba — also slow gradual onset, desire to be quiet and to lie still, irritable if disturbed, all symptoms are worse from any motion, dryness in the mouth usually without thirst

Eupatorium perfoliatum — Body pains are severe, often felt in the bones, even as if the bones were breaking.fever and chills with thirst

Veratrum album — Sudden sense or rapid progression to collapse, great coldness, restlessness, cold sweat, vomiting and diarrhea, great thirst for cold water.

Camphora — Also has rapid onset of weakness leading to collapse, mostly dry without much mucus, violent hacking cough, breath can be cold, icy coldness of the body. This has been a good remedy for severe cases in Iran.

Should any of the above remedies emerge here, I have these remedies and can distribute them in the same way as I am now doing with the Petasites tussilago.

3/16/2020 I have received and am ready to distribute a possible preventive remedy — Petasites tussilago. I use the word “possible” because, as I mentioned in a previous post, the choice of this remedy has not been arrived at through the usual homeopathic practice of seeing which particular remedy (or sometimes the top 2-3 remedies) are common in the actual epidemic.

It is important to realize that there is no guarantee that there will be any benefit from this intervention. The possibility of harm is extremely unlikely. Should you feel that you react to the remedy in some way, you should give me a call.

I am dispensing the remedy in a one ounce dropper bottle. 2 drops on or under the tongue is the dose which should be taken once a day for seven days and then once a week unless I direct otherwise, should the epidemic become severe. This should allow for prolonged dosing for a good number of people if we have to continue doing so.

The process will be as follows:
• Starting on Wednesday March 18 the remedy will be available in my office for pick-up. Because of the obvious problem of exposure to the virus, I ask that you knock on the door when you arrive. Do not enter the anteroom. Donna and I will be available Wednesday from 9-4:30 and Thursday from 9am to 2 pm. We will likely be gloved and will exchange the bottle for payment at the door. In order to protect you, Donna, myself and my family, please do not expect to enter the office, nor to use the bathroom.
• I will post pickup hours for Friday onwards, which will be of more limited duration until the office reopens the following Tuesday March 24th.
• I have to limit the distribution to one bottle per family, at least until I see the response to this offering. I have tried to anticipate the demand and to be prepared. If you have children at college who are still under my care I will mail the remedy to them, but will need their addresses. You can email that information to donna@drshevin.com.
• The fee for pickup will be $5.00, which should cover my costs. Please have that ready to give to Donna or to me. If you would prefer that I mail it out to you, the cost will increase to cover postage and handling, I don’t have a figure for that at the moment, but it shouldn’t exceed $10.
• This is intended for my patients only and I ask that you respect that. I cannot accept responsibility for people who are not under my care.
By picking up the remedy you are acknowledging that you have read and understand these instructions, and that you understand that positive results are not guaranteed.

COVID-19 3/14/2020

March 14, 2020

The day is young but the flow of information never ceases.

Tdday’s New York Times contains a very timely op-ed piece about the human spirit in the time of pandemics. I commend it to your attention.

Peter D’Adamo, a naturopth probably best known for his work on diet and blood types, has a site on which he tracks various supplements and their activity against viruses, including Coronavirus. The two color coded columns refer to activity against Coronoavirus. The left column (“Cyto”) refers to killing virus cells directly, and the right column (CorV) refers to affecting the activity of the virus.

It is abundantly clear that “social distancing” and widespread testing are crucial.
Social distancing is something that we will have to do voluntarily, unless something like martial law is declared.

Widespread testing is getting ramped up, but for now is significantly less available than it should be. Drive-in centers have been established at Greenwich Hospital, Waterbury Hospital, and Bristol Hospital, but a physician’s order is required. We need free testing for anyone who has reason to suspect that they are ill, without a doctor’s order. This has been very effective in South Korea. I don’t know when or if we will achieve that level of access to testing.

From the CDC site regarding advice to physicians on testing, accessed today:

Priorities for testing may include:

Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in order to inform decisions related to infection control.

Other symptomatic individuals such as, older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease).

Any persons including healthcare personnel, who within 14 days of symptom onset had close contact with a suspect or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient, or who have a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of their symptom onset.

There are epidemiologic factors that may also help guide decisions about COVID-19 testing. Documented COVID-19 infections in a jurisdiction and known community transmission may contribute to an epidemiologic risk assessment to inform testing decisions. Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness (e.g., influenza).

Mildly ill patients should be encouraged to stay home and contact their healthcare provider by phone for guidance about clinical management. Patients who have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should seek care immediately. Older patients and individuals who have underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their physician early in the course of even mild illness.

A colleague of mine, Paul Herscu ND has written a post that I’d like to share with you. It is well worth reading, and can be found here.

Yale New Haven Hospital has created a telephone hotline for those who suspect that they may be developing a COVID-19 infection. Staffed by healthcare professionals, they can direct you to testing or appropriate care.

The number is 833 275-9644

On the prevention side, homeopathic practitioners in Taiwan and Hong Kong are finding that the most common remedies are Gelsemium, Bryonia alba, and Eupatoreum perfoliatum. They are currently recommending Gelsemium as the most likely preventive, but it could easily be either of these (or other’s as yet undetermined).

Gelsemium usually presents with profound weakness and fatigue. Even lifting a glass of water could be difficult. They do not want to be disturbed, but that is because they are too tired to participate in social interaction.

In Bryonia, there is usually a strong aversion to any kind of motion, which makes all symptoms worse. So they tend to lie still, and are very averse to being disturbed, usually reacting in an irritated way.

In Eupatorium perfoliatum, the most prominent symptom is strong aches and pains in the body and in particular the bones, sometimes described as “bone-breaking.”

I think that it is still a bit early to start prophylaxis, but that could change within a few days.

These particular remedies are not difficult to find locally (health food stores, some drug stores) but can also be obtained via mail order.

Washington Homeopathic Products and Hahnemann Labs are two US manufactures that I use.
The 30C potency will be adequate for this purpose.

Should you elect to use “homeoprophylaxis” I would suggest one dose (1-2 pellets) once a day for 7 days and then once a week. If the outbreak becomes widespread it can be taken once a day.

Until the situation clarifies, one could also consider Gelsemium 30C in the morning, and Bryonia 30C in the afternoon or evening, according to the above schedule. I usually don’t like using two different remedies at one time, but these are unusual times.

For those of you who are under constitutional treatment for any problems that involve recurrent contagious illnesses (flu, bacterial infections, etc) and are experiencing a good result, your present remedy may be the best preventive.

If you have questions, I will do my best to answer them. As the next week or two unfolds, there may be delays in my responding as I expect to be quite busy with all this. Email will be much better as a way of communicating.

Information regarding COVID-19 (the infection produced by the Coronavirus) continues to accumulate. There are reports in the medical literature of gastrointestinal problems (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain) as early symptoms of infection, preceding the onset of upper respiratory symptoms.

An article in the New York Times this morning describes the health-care system in Northern Italy being overwhelmed, and not able to provide help to many people.

An op-ed piece by David Brooks in the same issue reviews descriptions of severe epidemic diseases in the historical record (plague, cholera, etc.) where societies instinctively adopted extreme social distancing and where some of the “worst” instincts of human beings came to predominate.

Social distancing is probably the most important thing that people can do to protect themselves individually but also society as a whole (by slowing the epidemic down, and hopefully not overwhelming the system with extremely high numbers of cases). But at the same time, we should not abandon compassion for others, and we should be aware that loneliness makes health problems worse.

A colleague of mine (Mitchell Fleischer MD), who is very knowledgeable about the nutritional aspects of health, suggests the following supplements as being potentially useful in the current situation:

Licorice root extract (with high Glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhizic acid or glycyrrhizinic acid content); proven to inhibit coronaviral replication. (Note: should not be used for people with high blood pressure).

Argentyn-23 colloidal silver – helps to safely kill bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites without causing dysbiosis.

C-Aspa-Scorb – high potency buffered vitamin C with magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc; no sodium or calcium.

MyCommunity Host Defense – powerful, organic, medicinal mushroom complex (made in USA); shown to be so effective that the DOD buys it in large quantities to distribute to armed services personnel stationed overseas in unhygienic regions, e.g., Middle East, Africa, etc.

I’m sure that by now most of us are closely watching the news reports and aware that the novel coronavirus is spreading in the United States, and that many states have declared a State of Emergency. I’m writing to inform you of temporary protocols I will adopt for my practice to do my part in slowing transmission of the novel Coronavirus in our local community. This is for the protection of all my patients, and to ensure that there remain adequate facilities to treat acute cases as they arise.

Connecticut currently has reported 5 cases (as of yesterday afternoon) and there will inevitably be more surfacing in the days to come. Young people do not appear to be as susceptible as the elderly, but many cases will never be identified because some people never show symptoms, or have a mild upper respiratory infection that just passes, with nothing to suggest a Coronavirus infection. In my opinion, it is highly likely that the virus is circulating in Eastern Connecticut at this time.

As per CDC guidance, my office is not properly outfitted as a triage or containment facility, so I should not be seeing any patients who have possible COVID-19 (the illness caused by the novel Coronavirus) which in its early stages presents with fever, dry (perhaps tickling) cough, and malaise, and perhaps with other symptoms. Sore throat and a runny nose are infrequent. Most otherwise healthy people who become infected will be able to recover at home.

addition of 3/13/2020: reports from abroad indicate a possibility that COVID-19 (Coronavirus infection) may initially present as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain BEFORE the onset of respiratory symptoms. More on this in future posts.

Should anyone suspect that they may be ill with COVID-19, please contact either myself or a local clinic or emergency room before you physically go to be seen. If you experience severe symptoms, you should call ahead to your local ER or urgent care facility. Because of the two week incubation period during which it is still possible to spread the virus before symptoms show, the safest route for my practice and the safety of all patients is to move all visits to virtual (telephone and/or internet), effective immediately.

Fortunately, my practice as you know is mostly face to face conversation and we can continue that virtually. At your scheduled visit time, for those with a high speed internet connection, we can use Zoom videoconferencing software (download here or at zoom.us). I can also consult with you by telephone. Donna will be reaching out individually to those who have scheduled visits in the upcoming weeks to arrange the details. I am also going to triage everyone by telephone at the time that we confirm an upcoming appointment, to try to ascertain the possibility of a Coronavirus infection.

Please do your best to remain calm during this period when we should all take care to follow World Health Organization and CDC guidelines. These include working from home if and when possible, canceling or rescheduling upcoming travel by mass transit, avoiding large gatherings, and frequent hand-washing (or hand sanitizing where soap is not available).

It is also a good idea to support your immune health by getting adequate rest, hydration, and maintain good nutrition. Vitamin C, in doses of 3000 – 5000 mg/day can be helpful. Zinc lozenges, especially from zinc acetate or zinc glutamate, can be effective in reducing viral load from coronaviruses if started at the first sign of symptoms (such as a tickle in the throat), and taken every two hours while awake. Other information on Zinc lozenges is included in an earlier post (March 6).

While no clear homeopathic remedy has yet proved itself, I did discuss a proposed remedy which I should receive by the end of the day tomorrow. See my post of 3/8 for more information. I will be working to make this available and will detail that in a post in the next few days. Other possible homeopathic treatments include Gelsemium, Arsenicum album, Bryonia alba, and Eupatorium perfoliatum. all of which are fairly readily available at health food stores and online.

Washington Homeopathic Products and Hahemann Homeopathic Labs both do mail order from their website. The 30C potency of any of these remedies may be helpful but we just don’t know enough yet to be confident enough to make a specific recommendation.

None of this is cause for panic but we should be prepared and informed, acting with “an abundance of caution.” That is what I am trying to advise.

If you suspect Coronana virus infection (COVID-19), but are in an early stage, with mild illness, the advice will probably be to use conservative measures (isolation, handwashing, fluids, a homeopathic remedy if one can be determined, etc.). Self-quarantine is well-advised at this point, as much as possible. You are highly likely to recover, even on your own, but if symptoms become concerning, you need to reach out for help.

I want to also draw your attention to an article in the New York Times from Tuesday March 10th which tells a disturbing story about various issues that have disrupted our government’s and health care system’s response to what has now been deemed a “global pandemic” by the World Health Organization. What is more disturbing is that there is reason to believe that the virus may circulate for weeks in a given community before it becomes evident.

I also want to point out that South Korea had prepared for some years for a pandemic like this, and was swiftly able to scale up testing equipment and protocols, including in-car testing at drive in centers with results in 24 hours sent to the testee by text, and has tested a very large percentage of its population. Owing to this, and so without needing draconian lock-downs as occurred in China, the number of new cases has steadily declined since the end of February.

Good health is not only an individual issue, as we exist within larger societies. Societal influence on groups and individuals can affect our health in important ways. The government in South Korea, working with private industry, was prepared and did quite well. At this time, in the United States, our performance is very much inferior to what South Korea has produced. I think that it is important for us to come to an understanding of the reasons for this.

3/8/2020: As everyone knows by now, Coronavirus is in the United States. The current CDC position statement should be read by all of us, and consulted at least every few days as the situation continues to evolve, and is located here.

There is a report of an infected person in Wilton, CT, who is presumed to have contracted the virus while recently in California. On Saturday (3/7) it was revealed that a New York physician who commutes to work at the Bridgeport Hospital tested positive for the virus. There are a small number of cases in Massachusetts, as well as in Rhode Island.

I am considering what my posture should be as this infection spreads in the community. I am quite prepared to continue to provide care by telephone or more preferably over the internet, should that become necessary. I do have a secure, HIPAA compliant portal that I can invite you to (provided that you have an internet connection). While not ideal, if the situation becomes worse, this may become prudent, or even necessary.

I can get remedies to people through the post-office.

Certainly if you or someone you know has traveled to China, or Iran, Northern Italy, and South Korea, you should be cautious and avoid human contact until you know that neither yourself nor the people you’ve been in in contact with are free from symptoms for at least 14 days. Even this may not be enough since the virus can be spread by asymptomatic people.

Anyone with a new-onset cold and a dry cough, and with fever is now considered suspect, and in this instance, you should not travel anywhere. In such a case, testing may be advised, although current criteria for testing still evolving and symptoms alone, without presumed contact, may not be sufficient for getting tested at this time.

The test is also in limited availability although I am told that Quest Labs and LabCorp are being sent test kits, so that testing should become more available and widespread as time goes by.

I want to stress that the risk here in rural CT is still very low, but it is likely that Coronavirus will spread and that the level of concern will increase as the next few weeks go by.

Lastly, I have received a suggestion from another homeopath, as to a possible “genus epidemicus” for Coronavirus. While I do not have this remedy (Tussilago petasites, or more properly Petasites tussilago), I have ordered it from each of two pharmacies in Europe who I regularly order from, and would expect to have the remedy within 2 weeks. Unfortunately, the remedy is not currently available from the major pharmacies in the United States. Washington Homeopathic Products has it up to a 30C, but owing to a shortage of blank pellets, will not be able to ship remedies until the end of March.

At this time, unless you have actually been exposed, I am not recommending taking any remedy prophylactically. But in the event of exposure, or if the virus becomes widespread, I will suggest a dose of 30C, dissolved in 2 oz water, one tsp 3 times over the course of a single day (morning, afternoon, and before bedtime), one day only. I may recommend repeating this weekly in the event of a particularly strong outbreak.

I will continue to update these posts and my alerts as the situation develops.