COVID-19 Explained + A Holistic Approach to Prevention

Contributor: Dr. Hilda Gonzalez 


SARS-COV2 vs COVID-19 vs Corona Virus: What do all of these different terms mean? 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 

1) SARS-COV2 is the name of the novel (new) coronavirus.

It stands for “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” 

2) The disease it causes is COVID-19

3) Corona Virus is a family of viruses with different strains


How is SARS-COV2 different from previous cases of SARS? 

This is a different strain of SARS-COV. They are 96% identical, so this is why many of the treatment plans in both western and chinese medicine are based on the way the SARS-COV reacted to previous treatments. There is currently no single best treatment protocol, but there are many experimental protocols being tested throughout the world and scientists, health care organizations and physicians are all working hard to come up with more answers and solutions. 


What are the Symptoms? 

Main symptoms are Fever, Cough and Shortness of Breath.

Other General symptoms may include: sneezing, phlegm, nasal congestion, lethargy (fatigue), muscle aches, headaches, and dehydration. 

The incubation period is between 2-14 days. 

This means you may pass the virus for 2 weeks before showing symptoms.


As the virus replicates it can begin to progress presenting with more severe symptoms such as: dyspnea (extreme difficulty breathing) requiring hospitalization, ICU care on a ventilator and may lead to lung damage and death.

Currently, research out of China has shown that most cases are presenting with mild illness and do not require hospitalization. 


If I develop symptoms should I go to the hospital? 

No. If you have symptoms, first call your healthcare provider for screening. Please do not show up to clinics, urgent cares or hospitals without being screened as you may expose others, or potentially expose yourself to COVID-19. They can also guide you to the appropriate level of care. Of course, if you are in distress and having trouble breathing, put on a mask or other item to cover your mouth and nose and go straight to the ER or call 9-1-1.

Most likely, if your symptoms can be taken care of at home (not needing hospitalization), you will be asked to self-quarantine from others in your family to prevent the disease from spreading. Please follow CDC guidelines for self-quarantine procedures. 


Why are we being asked to social distance? 

Social distancing is currently the most important prevention against the spread of the disease. It prevents you from getting sick as well as reducing any additional stress on our medical system. 


What can I do to support my immunity at home? 

Sleep: This is extremely important for immunity support as it is involved in our immune system having its regenerative state. 


Manage Stress: We know that inflammation is associated with anxiety and catastrophizing, and this can reduce immunity and even lead to progression of disease. Focus on breathwork at home and please join us for our Virtual Solitude Retreat Monday-Friday at 10a. 


Healthy Gut: An unhealthy microbiome has been shown to put you at risk for chronic illnesses as well as becoming more prone to developing infections. Focus on veggies and appropriate micronutrients like Vitamin A, D & C (a regular multivitamin is great). Support your digestion with a Triphala tincture, currently available in our clinic boutique. 


Community: There is research to suggest that isolation can be as detrimental to our health as an unhealthy diet. This means that despite being physically distant we should make efforts to stay connected and practice “distant socializing.” Some suggestions include: Facetiming Friends & Family; tuning into Instagram Live Programming; Participating in our Saffron and Sage Virtual Solitude Retreat (Monday -Friday 10am)


How can Traditional Chinese Medicine Help? 

There is currently no universally accepted and established treatment protocol. However, many research studies are showing promise with both western and chinese medicine interventions. These protocols are being testing using theories based on previous cases of SARS-COV and other large scale epidemic data. Despite this being a novel virus, there is currently a lot of data coming out of China and indicates Chinese Medicine intervention is best for the preventive and early stages of the disease. These interventions primarily include herbal formulas to support the immune system. These formulas include herbs that have been shown to have antiviral properties as well as promoting the generation of immunity cells.


Herbal formulas we currently have available? 

We have 3 versions of the key formula for immunity support known as “Jade Wind-Screen Formula/Yu Ping Feng San.” This formula is composed of Astragulus / Huang Qi which has been specifically shown to promote the generation of T-cells (non-specific immunity) and activate B-cells (specific immunity) in order to stimulate the immune system to build antibodies. You may call at any time and reserve your prescription. 



Saffron & Sage Resources:

-Join us for our Virtual Solitude Retreat (Monday -Friday 10am)

-Schedule a virtual consultation with our licensed herbalists to prescribe custom herbs to address your individual signs and symptoms. 

Once prescribed, we offer Curbside herbal pickup, Local delivery

-Browse our Online Shop for other supportive products including adaptogens, essential oils, CBD oil, and more!


Other Resources: 


San Diego County-

WHO (World Health Organization)-


Dr. Hilda Gonzalez DACM, L.Ac., MSTOM 


Chen, J.K. (March 24, 2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) Treatment with TCM in China [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from


Chen J and Chen T. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press. 2004.


Lau, J. T., Leung, P. C., Wong, E. L., Fong, C., Cheng, K. F., Zhang, S. C., Lam, C. W., Wong, V., Choy, K. M., & Ko, W. M. (2005). The use of an herbal formula by hospital care workers during the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic in Hong Kong to prevent severe acute respiratory syndrome transmission, relieve influenza-related symptoms, and improve quality of life: a prospective cohort study. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 11(1), 49–55.


Qu, L. L., Su, Y. L., Li, C. X., & Hou, G. H. (2010). Astragalus membranaceus injection delayed allograft survival related with CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells. Transplantation proceedings, 42(9), 3793–3797.


Shao, B. M., Xu, W., Dai, H., Tu, P., Li, Z., & Gao, X. M. (2004). A study on the immune receptors for polysaccharides from the roots of Astragalus membranaceus, a Chinese medicinal herb. Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 320(4), 1103–1111.


Shwartz, M. (2007). Robert Sapolsky discusses physiological effects of Stress [Blog post]. Retrieved from


Sun, P., Zhou, W.S. VanNess, V. (June 2020) Acupuncture in the Treatment of COVID-19: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Chinese Medicine. 123


Tarasiuk, A., Mosińska, P., & Fichna, J. (2018). Triphala: current applications and new perspectives on the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Chinese medicine, 13, 39.