Guest post by Medical Herbalist Brian Lamb
The word ‘virus’ has instilled worldwide fear but of all biological forms, viruses are the most abundant and ubiquitous. They are essential to life. However, some cause disease. Corona viruses includes the common cold. But what about the novel Covid-19, how can we lessen its effect, if we catch it? In essence we need to weaken it — and we can — with an extract of Sweet Chestnut leaf.
All parts of this magnificent naturalised tree have distinct therapeutic and nutritional properties — flower, leaf, bark, seed shell burrs, nuts (seeds) and even the brown shells. We are all familiar with the nets of chestnuts which appear in the stores for Christmas. Sweet chestnuts are a nutritional powerhouse: gluten-free, delicious and packed with minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. Rich in folates and therefore of benefit to expectant mothers and good source of fatty acids to balance cholesterol. They are available all year round prepared roasted in small packs. But the leaf extract is special for a time such as this as a defence against a possible secondary infection to the Covid-19 virus.
Unfortunately, people die as a result of catching the flu’ (50,000 excess deaths during the 2017/2018 UK flu’ season)! However, the reality is that deaths are mostly due to a secondary infection or sequel to the virus. A secondary infection is caused by an inhaled microbe such as a pneumonia bacteria. If a bacterial infection is diagnosed, a physician will prescribe an antibiotic which mostly resolves the issue if the drug is taken soon enough and the patient is relatively strong and most importantly does not suffer from any other serious diseases — known as ‘co-morbidities’ (99% of those who died in Italy had co-mobilities).
There is an interesting connection between COVID-19 and whooping cough. Whilst COVID-19 is a virus, whooping cough is a bacteria (Bordetella pertussis) , both target the cilia cells of the lungs. These are the cells with hair like projections that waft debris upwards and away in the mucus stream.
Traditionally, the leaves of Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa) were given in cases of whooping cough — long before any vaccine was available. This once vaunted remedy is the spotlight of this report.
Scientific work published in 20151 indicates that Sweet Chestnut leaf is a potent antibacterial agent. Dr Cassandra Quave and colleagues working in the labs at Emory State University says regarding the leaf extract: “We’ve demonstrated in the lab that our extract disarms even the hyper-virulent MRSA strains capable of causing serious infections in healthy athletes,” The investigators were able to show that the extract inhibited the ability of staph bacteria to communicate with each other—a process known as quorum sensing. MRSA uses this quorum sensing signalling system to manufacture toxins and ramp up its virulence. “It’s easy to dismiss traditional remedies as old wives’ tales, just because they don’t attack and kill pathogens,” Dr. Quave said. “But there are many more ways to help cure infections, and we need to focus on them in the era of drug-resistant bacteria.” Further research shows that Sweet Chestnut disarms several other bacteria, apart from MRSA, including one that causes pneumonia. Traditional use shows that Sweet Chestnut also neutralises the whooping cough bacteria.
Interestingly, the way in which Sweet Chestnut disarms bacteria — by means of quorum sensing — may be likened to the police breaking up an unruly mob. Individuals can be taken out, one-at-a-time or the mob dispersed so they can no longer communicate. Sweet Chestnut leaf extract prevents the bacteria communicating.
Regarding COVID-19, an extract of Sweet Chestnut can be used both as a fortifier and during a possible secondary bacterial infection. Of added value is the fact that the extract does not disrupt the intestinal microbiome but on the contrary acts favourably against the tendency towards diarrhoea. There is also the added benefit of a widespread anti-inflammatory action. Carmel Herbals has a Sweet Chestnut elixir and a syrup suitable for all ages and tastes. Of special interest, drops of the elixir may be added to a steam inhaler to directly target the lungs.
1.The findings from this study were published recently in PLOS ONE through an article entitled “Castanea sativa (European Chestnut) Leaf Extracts Rich in Ursene and Oleanene Derivatives Block Staphylococcus aureus Virulence and Pathogenesis without Detectable Resistance.”