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Cancer and Covid: Part 2 (Or The Complete Guide to Herbs, Cancer, and Covid)


No, I haven't died.


I know I have been MIA, but our family has had several emergencies. Everyone is healthy now, but if no one I love has to have any surgeries for awhile, I'd be really grateful.


Because I have a lot to tackle, buckle up. This is gonna be a long one!



After I wrote Cancer and Covid Part 1, a friend of mine who is genius level intelligence (seriously, she's a biostatician!) sent over this study, which shows that covid actually targets the p53 gene for down-regulation and degradation.


When I posted this to facebook for my teal sisters, it was removed. I won't even deign to comment more on that.


However, it is important because HGSC most often evolves out of an alteration to the p53 in the epithelial cells of the ovary. When there is a mutation on another gene in the ovary's epithelium, like KRAS, it typically develops as a different subtype of ovarian cancer, LGSC.


The p53 gene, as I've written before, is the "Guardian Watchdog" of our DNA. It's the gene that is sort of like when you choose a full scan on your computer to look for dangerous files. It goes through every single gene on each part of your DNA to check for issues. When there are too many, it acts like a teenager on TikTok and tells the cell that it's a horrible person and needs to go kill itself. When that teenager gets distracted with its own mutations, there's nobody to rid the world of unruly DNA.


Ok, that wasn't my best analogy yet, I concur. I preemptively apologize to angsty teens everywhere.


To me, this is further evidence that unchecked covid can cause ovarian cancer. But who's asking me, right? I'm just a random geek with cancer.


The good news is, there ARE things you can do to help repair the p53 and upregulate it. So, now that I've rambled for much too long, let's get to the protocol that I've been researching for a covid infection.


First, though, a note on Ivermectin.


I won't get into the entire debacle about whether people should or should not use it for covid. That's not my business.


What I will note is that Ivermectin has been studied since before 2015 for ovarian cancer and studies have shown there is in vitro and in vivo efficacy against HGSC, especially when used in combination with Cisplatin chemotherapy. There is some sort of connection to how it works with mRNA and the mTOR pathway, but I will be honest, I haven't struggled through the entire report to understand what it is. I enjoy reading scientific journals, but some articles take a loooong time for me to wade through. (1,2)


I am sure the dosages and length of treatment for OC differed from that of the current prescriptions for covid, but I just wanted to make sure my teal sisters knew of this research. It is, of course, still in its infancy since it isn't in human studies, but it's interesting.


Of course, there are other debated treatments and the monoclonal antibodies now, too.


So, how about non-federally regulated pharmaceuticals we can all take? Here goes.


Many of these items are listed in the book Herbal Antivirals by Stephen Harrod Buhner. It won't give you all of the information I'm listing here, but I also don't give you all the information found in it. I highly recommend you purchase this book. This blog is more of a quick reference and dedicated to the specific niche of covid AND cancer, however Buhner has a wealth of covid specific information. It irritated me that while doing research for this post, so many wellness bloggers literally plagiarize him word for word and don't give credit. (I'm looking at you, Medium bloggers.)


Please support his work. We need dudes like him.

Here is a link to buy directly from him (because even though I'm an "Amazon affiliate," I kind of hate them).




Covid Herbal and Lifestyle Protocol:


Before the exposure:

  • We've all seen how important your health prior to infection is with this virus, so I won't even bother getting into the deets much. Now, more than ever, it is important to be eating whole foods and avoiding inflammatory ones. This goes beyond just skipping the MickyD's. I'm talking a 100% anti-inflammatory diet 100% of the time. Get plenty of sleep. Drink as much pure water as you can. Exercise. You know, the basics.

  • Oral hygiene. This shouldn't really come as a shock, but it did to me. Covid attaches to ACE2 receptors on epithelium cells. The first place a virus typically enters in the nose and mouth and they're loaded with ACE2 receptors. (Thanks again, genius friend, whose name I won't mention without her approval.) Every dentist I know was suddenly hammered with patients during the onset of the pandemic. We all probably read the reports that it was due to wearing masks more frequently, and that could be true. I've not yet read any studies on that. It doesn't make sense to me, however, because there are a lot of people who wear masks for work and do not have increased gum issues.

No matter, because the important thing to note is that oral hygiene matters. A strong, healthy nasal microbiota was shown to reduce the severity of covid (12), and those who share toothbrushes and/or do not brush their tongues during toothbrushing showed higher levels of disease transmission in households. (13)


Whether to use mouthwash or not has been hotly debated due to the benefit of the microbiota found in the previously mentioned study. (14,15) My thoughts are this: if you typically use mouthwash, a sudden decrease probably won't be a benefit. I also think using herbal washes that have coronavirus specific antiviral properties could be the best best. Though many natural antivirals are also antibiotics, not all of them are, therefore you may potentially be able to protect the good bacteria while also weakening the 'rona.


Use your own discretion, smart people. 😉

  • Vitamin D3. It shocked me that I was as low on vitamin D3 as I was when I received my first nutritional panel. I have since learned that it takes a long time to improve your levels, so you should really be taking a D3 supplement now. Don't wait for an infection. It will be way too late. I am deliberately not linking any specific D3 supplement simply because there is a bit of controversy over whether cancer patients should combine D3 and K2 (3,4). It's a complex issue. My personal thoughts are that since K is a coagulant, supplementing with too much, the wrong type, and when you aren't someone who will benefit from it, should be avoided. I need to discuss this more with my doctors and dig in a little deeper before I form a solid opinion. I'll try to write more on this at some point, because the D3/K2 supplementation could be beneficial for some cancer patients (especially those of us who have had hysterectomies, like me!), but we know covid causes clotting issues. You need to know what you're doing if you choose a combo supplement.

  • Zinc! Ok, so the NIH does not recommend supplementing with more than 11 mgs for men and 8 mgs for non-pregnant women.

....Moving on.


Zinc is another one of those supplements that is hard to build up in your body. The reason why is because it often binds to other things and makes it hard to absorb. I am still low on this one, even after taking 54 mgs once a day for almost a year. My obligatory and true disclaimer is that it's always a good idea to have your levels checked before starting a supplementation program. Zinc is important for the process of apoptosis. When used in combination with a zinc iconosphore, it helps to increase the intracellular uptake to inhibit viral replication in RNA viruses. In addition to this, it helps to protect the body against those inflammatory cytokines like IL-6 that we talked about last time, in addition to reactive oxygen (Remember Yoko. Reactive oxygen is bad.) This protects the epithelium in the lungs lungs from ARDS and hypoxia. Pretty important stuff. (5)


Now, I will note that the NIH states, "Long-term zinc supplementation can cause copper deficiency with subsequent reversible hematologic defects (i.e., anemia, leukopenia) and potentially irreversible neurologic manifestations (i.e., myelopathy, paresthesia, ataxia, spasticity)." (6) This is a bit Henny-Pennyish in my non-expert opinion. (Sarcasm font was unavailable here.)


First, the two studies they reference when stating this both used crazy high levels of zinc. We're talking ten times the level of zinc in most supplements. If you take insanely high levels of any supplement, you're going to be hurting. (7, 8)


Second, if you OD on zinc, I think you're going to know it. You get cramps, nausea, headaches, AND the trots. I mean, I don't know about you, but if I get those symptoms, I know something's amiss. The concern about a copper deficiency or anemia is a tricky one, but I will note that copper and iron are both a bit of a concern for cancer patients when they are high, anyway. Of course, we don't want them too low, either. For my treatment, the risk of copper deficiency does not outweigh the risk of zinc supplementation. Your mileage may vary, based on your own unique health.


Third, zinc is an essential nutrient, which means, you need some zinc, but again, it is hard to absorb and takes time to get levels back up after a deficiency.


I will note that is important to know it is difficult to obtain accurate sampling of the body's zinc stores because it is dispersed throughout the body. It also can affect the absorption of some medications. That being said, you should discuss this with your doctors.


I order my reacted zinc directly through my doctor. The website for that is here.

After exposure:

  • Should you take general immune system supportive herbs?

This is a tough one, mainly because there are just not many studies on this yet. Some natural health advocates have made the claim that we've all been exposed by now, so we should all take these herbs. Since it's now autumn in the US, it's that time when many folks start indiscriminately taking all herbs for the immune system. For example, echinacea is an herb that people bicker over continually. Herbalists insist that it is fine to take long term while others insist that long term use actually lowers immunity. There have been small studies to support both sides. There is even a case study floating around in which a 51 year old woman had leukopenia associated with long-term use. (9, 10, 11) In general, I tend to avoid singlular case studies as evidence, personally, but that's just me.


The effect on leukocytes is not my personal concern, though. I am interested in whether the immune stimulating action of these herbs could potentially worsen the cytokine release during a severe case of covid. There simply have been no studies which I can find specifically on echinacea and covid, so I am choosing to merely take antivirals which are specific to coronaviruses.


Now, if I get the flu instead, I'm going to be torqued.


  • Some of the antivirals Buhner mentions which are (somewhat) easily accessible for coronaviruses are Scutellaria baicalensis, Houttuynia species, Glycyrrhiza species, Forsythia suspensa fruit, Lonicera japonica, and Polygonum cuspidatum.

Let's go through them one by one.


Scutellaria baicalensis- This is Chinese Skullcap. Note the Chinese part of that name. It is not the same as our North American skullcap, so you will need to read labels carefully. This one is tricky if you have any medications you regularly take. It is processed in the first liver metabolism pathway CYP3A4. Thanks to Dr. Block, I now understand that there are drugs and pro-drugs. One is in its medicinal state prior to being metabolized by the liver. The other is only in its medicinal after it has been through the first phase of liver metabolism to smaller compounds. So, you really need to know your medications and talk to your doctor before you take this one.


Houttuynia spp.- I mainly included this one to tell you to buy Buhner's book for the laugh about it on 180. It is best made from a tincture of fresh leaves. I found it difficult to obtain right now. It would be a good one, though, because the side effects and contra-indications aren't too bad.


Glycyrrhiza spp.- This is licorice. Easy peasy.


Licorice is cheap, easy to obtain, and tastes good, but it isn't without it's issues. It would not be a good fit for many with underlying issues because it can do two concerning things, especially with long-term use. First, it can raise your blood pressure. So, teal sisters on Avastin: Avoid this one! Second, it can cause water retention. The Healing Remedies Sourcebook also warns against using it in "cases of excess dampness."


I'm afraid to question that too much. The good thing about licorice is that, in addition to being anti-viral, it is an expectorant and traditionally used as a strengthening herb. Covid causes major exhaustion in some folks. The Healing Remedies Sourcebook also says it's something to use if you have a sore throat with pus.


Yum.


Lonicera japonica This is Japanese honeysuckle. According to Herbal Antivirals, this herb reduces lung inflammation by inhibiting TGFβ2. TGFβ2 is another cytokine. What's interesting about this cytokine is that it is especially important in the progression of tumors which have recruited the T-cells of the immune system. Gastric cancer patients are probably familiar with this particular cytokine because it is one of the drivers of that mesenchymal transition we talked about last time. (16, 17, 18) The only contra-indication I have found so far is "cases of diarrhea due to spleen and stomach deficiency" in The Healing Remedies Sourcebook. Please note that this is not necessarily because other contra-indications don't exist. You need to discuss this with your doctor.


Polygonum cuspidatum This is also known as Japanese knotweed. It isn't hard to find. This is actually from where the majority of resveratrol supplements are derived. Because of this, the issues that surround this herb are the same as those for resveratrol. Full disclosure: I get resveratrol IVs, so my doctor clearly is not on the side of those who find this compound troubling for those with ovarian cancer. It is really important to note, however, that some doctors do find it troublesome. It is an anti-coagulant, is metabolized by the CYP3A4 liver pathway, and has an estrogenic effect. I do not know whether this estrogenic effect is similar to that of soy, in which it actually is helpful for women with estrogen driven cancers by binding to estrogen receptors. If research on this exists our thour, I have yet to find it. Readers, please let me know if you find something that gives us any indication.

In general, phytoestrogens tend to work similarly, so I am hopeful that it would be helpful.


Testing Positive

  • Block the virus from linking to and infecting cells.

Licorice, Chinese skullcap, and Japanese knotweed all block the ACE2 receptors, keeping covid from attaching to cells. In addition to these, elder and luteolin are recommended by Herbal Antivirals. to protect the ACE2 expression, he notes that kudzu, ginko biloba, and dan shen are all helpful. Ginko and dan shen should both be discussed with a doctor, as they may potentially be a problem for ovarian cancer patients. Ginko is most effective in high doses, such as three teas per day, according to the Healing Remedies Sourcebook.

Also mentioned is kudzu, or Pueraria species, which are not something women with estrogen driven cancers and anyone with a myleoproliferative cancer should take.


Procyanidins also help to block the virus from linking to the ACE2 receptors. Procyanidins are flavonoids found in foods such as apple skins, blueberries, and cinnamon. See? There really is something to the diet thing.


  • Protecting the lungs is obviously crucial with covid.

Two important and easily obtained products which will help this are Cordyceps mushrooms and berberine. Berberine should be used with caution for anyone lowering their blood sugar by other means. Specifically, if you are using metformin as an anti-cancer off-label, you should be aware that the two in combination may put you into a hypoglycemic state. You can easily keep an eye on this by using a $20 glucose monitor. What is interesting to me is that both of these supplements are fantastic for many cancer patients to use, too. Note the word "many." While Cordyceps militaris was shown to arrest the cell cycle of colorectal cancers and promote cancer death in vivo, Cordyceps sinensis was shown to promote the growth of testosterone driven prostate cancers. (20, 21) There are a lot of bioactive compounds across the Cordyceps genus, but if I were to give advice (which I don't, because I'm not a doctor, so don't misconstrue this statement as me giving you advice), I would choose Cordyceps militaris over other species. Unfortunately, you have to read the fine print to find the right species because many brands don't specify in the name. Here are two brands I like:

As far as the berberine is concerned, this has been shown to not only be a good therapeutic for covid, but also a good antiviral in a couple of studies (21,22). For cancer patients, this might be a great option because it has a direct effect on the MAPK pathway of cancer growth. Other studies have called berberine "an epiphany" in cancer treatment and touted it's ability to inhibit metastases, encourage cancer cell death, reduce cancer driving inflammation, work as an antioxidant, and modulate the immune system. (23, 24) Oh, and high cholesterol peeps, it also apparently helps with that, too.


Phew! I'm going to take some berberine now. This is what I take (note, this is not an affiliate link because it isn't offered through iHerb, where I buy most of my supplements):


  • Cytokine modulation can prevent the cytokine storm. This one is super important for cancer patients as we tend to have higher levels of inflammatory cytokines, anyway. That's kind of, like... what cancer does... The issue here is two-fold. Not only do we have to worry about the cytokine storm with covid itself, but the cytokines will also cause cancer to grow and spread when left unchecked. (This is why eating an anti-inflammatory diet is so important all the time.) One issue noted with covid infections is that the type 1 interferons are blunted while other inflammatory cytokines are released. There is a lot that goes into this whole thing and there is already quite a bit in this post, so I won't elaborate too much, but know that the interferon actually has an impact on hundreds of genes called interferon-stimulated genes, or ISGs. These ISGs control several important pathways for carcinogenesis such as STAT1, STAT2, and JAK1. So, not only is covid hitting several pathways in other ways, the suppression of interferon is also a problem. And these are hit especially hard in epithelial cells. (26) Thanks, covid. Some have suggested to combat this issue with a fever-like state brought on by alternating between hot and cold to increase interferons. I don't really know if this is helpful because I haven't done any research on this specifically. What I do know is that I am too ignorant about how the different interferons function in the body to go mucking around with attempting to increase any of them with supplements. Rather, I'd prefer to just try to inhibit some of the cytokines from being released. Yes, I like that idea much better. So, here goes:

    • Essential Fatty Acids This is your EPA and DHA fish oil supplements. In a study cited by Murray and Pizzorno in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, EFAs reduced inflammatory cytokines to the point where Type 1 diabetes was reduced in human trial subjects. In another study, they were shown to promote the release of resolvins and protectins, which are anti-inflammatory compounds.

    • Sophora flavescens root You're probably going to want a source for this, but I don't have it. I am not actually sure how I even know this, but I double checked all of my research notes to find my source and I can't. The closest thing I can find is this study which clearly demonstrates that bitter root does, in fact, reduce interleukin-1β (28), but all of my notes have IL-8. I don't know, man. I'm tired. This is becoming the blog post that never ends. We've gotten this far, how about you just trust me? Sophora flavescens is helpful in cervical cancer patients because it has been shown to inhibit cancer proliferation and migration, which is always a good thing. It works via the AKT/mTOR pathway.

    • Hesperidin methyl chalcone I take this. It is a helpful supplement for people with arthiritis because it reduces several inflammatory cytokines via the NF-κB pathway, which we know is affected by covid. HMC is also an anti-oxidant, so that's a bonus for us cancer survivors! (29)

    • Quercetin You guys know I love my quercetin. That's because, if you look at a cancer protocol "map," the number of pathways it blocks are just crazy. Quercetin is excellent. And because it is so excellent, it also should come as no surprise that it helps to modulate several inflammatory cytokines.

    • Japanese knotweed, Chinese skullcap, Cordyceps, Kudzu, and Dong quai These I list together because I have mentioned them all previously. Just as they have an antiviral effect, they also help to take the cytokine storm. Please note that Dong quai, in particular, is not appropriate for many cancer patients. As note previously, Kudzu also has some issues for certain patients.

    • Dietary and Lifestyle Measures These tips are all thanks to my dietician. They were for reducing overall inflammation, but were not specific to covid. Tart cherries (anyone ever had gout?If so, you're probably familiar with tart cherry juice.), turmeric, ginger, and vitamin C foods all help to reduce inflammation. Another important tool is exercise! Not only does exercise help to keep gunk from accumulating in your cilia-damaged lungs, it also helps reduce inflammation.

Post Infection

We're so close, I could cry. No, seriously. I could cry. My back hurts. My eyes hurt. I have to pee. Let's get this over with so I can reward myself with a vegan, sugarless cookie.

Alright, the biggest thing I have found to help with those suffering long term damage from covid is:

  • N-Acetyl L Cysteine, or NAC. NAC was recently in the news because people were buying it as a covid treatment and several retainlers took it off their shelves. (I'm looking at you, Amazon.) The powers that be are trying to get it banned from sales because apparently, they like to suck all the joy from our lives. Or something like that. That might be my full bladder talking. Anyhoo, NAC has been long used for lung support with any type of respiratory infection by savvy (and not so savvy) herbalist types. It's also used for many cancer patients for a couple of different reasons. One major reason I think it may be very helpful in covid patients is because a few studies have shown how helpful it can be in repairing damage done to the liver. (30) Serious covid cases are notorious for raising liver enzymes, so I suspected it would be very helpful for those with long-hauler liver symptoms. (Doesn't that phrase just roll off the tongue?) I actually got to see this first hand with a friend of mine. Her husband had elevated enzymes after a hospital stay and I talked to her about my research into NAC for liver support. He began to take it and, thank God, his liver enzymes returned to normal.

  • Japanese Knotweed I'm putting this in here as "Japanese knotweed" because we've already mentioned it several times and I want it to be easy for people to remember. Remember how I said Japanese knotweed is actually the biggest source of resveratrol? Well, that's important to remember because resveratrol is important for repairing a damaged tp53 gene. So, keep it on hand for even after your infection!

  • Curcumin You'll need more curcumin than what you'd get through a healthy indian meal with turmeric. Get a good supplment with a bioavailable form of curcumin (preferably in a liquid softgel), or even better, see if you can find someone who does curcumin IVs. Curcumin is powerful stuff, but when you're dealing with damaged p53 genes, you don't want to mess around with a cheap curcumin supplement that won'tbe easily absorbed. Hopefully, you were taking all of your other goodies and your infection never got to be too dire.

  • Fisetin Okay, so technically, I'm not sure this repairs your p53 gene. But it does something cooler, in my opinion. It has actually helps cancer cells go through apoptosis independent of the p53 gene, so if you've got some cancer cells brewing, it can help to take care of them even with messed up DNA. (32) You can find this flavanoid in things like strawberries, peaches, and cucumbers, but I eat my fruit and take a supplement. Because this is who I am, guys. I'm sorry.

  • Dietary upregulators and repairers of the p53 gene Watercress, ginger, and sage are all excellent sources of compounds which support or repair the p53 gene. (I think I'm hungry. It sounds like I'm hungry.) So, there you have it. This is The (not so) Complete Guide to Herbs, Cancer, and Covid.

I hope someone found it helpful because I referenced over 30 freaking journal articles for you all and I'm going to feel really dumb if no one finds any of this useful. It's time for my cookie. Stay healthy! ❤








  1. Anti-parasite drug ivermectin can suppress ovarian cancer by regulating lncRNA-EIF4A3-mRNA axes - PubMed (nih.gov)

  2. Ivermectin Augments the In Vitro and In Vivo Efficacy of Cisplatin in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer by Suppressing Akt/mTOR Signaling - PubMed (nih.gov)

  3. The Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 Connection: Understanding the Mechanisms, What to Test, and How Much D3 and K2 to Take (dralexrinehart.com)

  4. 7 Reasons Not to Take Vitamin K with D - Suzy Cohen suggests ways to heal naturally without medication

  5. The Potential Impact of Zinc Supplementation on COVID-19 Pathogenesis (nih.gov)

  6. Zinc | COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines (nih.gov)

  7. Zinc - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)

  8. Copper deficiency anemia: review article - PubMed (nih.gov)

  9. Dreaming A Beautiful World: Echinacea - Does it quit working when used long term?

  10. Long-term use of Echinacea slows immune-system response - Baltimore Sun

  11. (PDF) Possible leukopenia associated with long-term use of echinacea (researchgate.net)

  12. The Microbiota/Host Immune System Interaction in the Nose to Protect from COVID-19 - PubMed (nih.gov)

  13. Oral hygiene habits and possible transmission of COVID-19 among cohabitants - PubMed (nih.gov)

  14. Mouthwashes in COVID‐19: Benefit or harm to the oral microbiome? (nih.gov)

  15. Use of mouthwashes against COVID-19 in dentistry (nih.gov)

  16. TGFβ2 is a prognostic-related biomarker and correlated with immune infiltrates in gastric cancer - PubMed (nih.gov)

  17. TGFB2 serves as a link between epithelial-mesenchymal transition and tumor mutation burden in gastric cancer - PubMed (nih.gov)

  18. TGF-β suppresses type 2 immunity to cancer - PubMed (nih.gov)

  19. For Which Cancer Should I Avoid Pueraria Mirifica? - addon.life

  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26141646/

  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30273008/

  22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33749932/

  23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25153862/

  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6996556/

  25. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32457522/

  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8084697/

  27. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25467122/

  28. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29721044/

  29. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Hesperidin-methyl-chalcone-interacts-with-NF%CE%BAB-and-Rasquel-Oliveira-Manchope/5d8280d422b7141961470c3d4d06ca7944ad1f09

  30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7903568/




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