no alt text set

Did you know sesame oil might just be able to block the access of viruses to your respiratory tract? Perhaps “Close Sesame” could be the magic words we need to offer some protection against coronavirus.

I am the sort of guy who, if I was allowed by my significant other, would keep a microscope set up in the kitchen just to be ready to look at my food very, very closely. Despite all the tangible drawbacks, one thing lockdown has provided is time to indulge one’s passions; at least, for those lucky ones whose passions don’t involve Tinder and such. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, this has been a wonderful opportunity to dedicate attention to it. It’s no surprise that garden centres were one of the first places to open again, given the airy nature of the spaces but also the health benefits they provide. Sweden was one country that was very vocal on the health cost/benefits of being outside, concluding that the value of being amongst nature outweighed the risks of contagion. Britain has taken a slightly different approach, but I do hope that those British people that are able to do so have been gardening their isolated hearts out.

This “social distancing” project we are currently embarked upon might more accurately be called “micro-droplet sharing management strategy”. It is after all these human generated micro-droplets floating about which carry all the many cold and flu viruses (and now the dreaded COVID-19) to our noses and mouths and into our lungs. We know that these droplets are many, and dangerous, so why are masks which only block 95% of them of any use at all? If one droplet got through, would we not then inevitably fall prey to whatever package of viruses it carries? Well this is where we hear talk of “viral load” and are advised to avoid touching our mouths, noses and eyes because “dosage matters,” and the fewer viruses up our noses the better.

So let’s suppose, then, that some of these little nasties do get to our soft, damp mucous membranes. Is there anything we can do about it? Or is it too late?

It is not too late, as the body can handle this sort of thing, and does so all the time. It is a possible reason why smokers seemed (counter-intuitively) to have done better, on average, than non-smokers with China’s COVID19 crisis. Perhaps the increase in mucous production resulting from smoking formed a physical barrier to infection? I once attended a health exhibition where I met the inventor of a novel anti-hayfever product. He told me that the idea came to him when he was visiting a factory which used a very refined and pure form of cellulose. Whenever he was there, his hayfever just disappeared. He surmised that he could recreate the effect by putting a little of this cellulose (a white powder which turned gel-like when damp) up his nose, and thus create a barrier similar to mucous which stopped the tiny grains of air-borne pollen setting off his immune response. This, we think, is the rationale behind the anecdotal effectiveness of sesame oil. Guess what you do with the sesame oil?

Yes, you’ve got it! You put it up your nose. Perhaps there is some “gatekeeping property” of sesame oil which was recognised in the magic ‘open sesame’ spell of lore?

On the subject of the use of sesame oil to protect against coronavirus, Dr Peter Eckman, acupuncturist has this to say:

“I have a few thoughts on the pandemic, especially after listening to Dr. Fauci last week. He stressed that this virus is an airborne vector of disease spread, and that its ability to travel is severely reduced beyond 6 feet from an infected source. We also know that Corona viruses primarily attack the respiratory system first, so there is a possibility that some form of prevention might be provided by masking the receptors in the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract. … a Dr. in China who treated many patients with SARS used a family ‘secret’ to protect himself, and never got sick. It’s quite simple: using a Q-tip saturated with sesame oil, insert it deeply into the nostrils past the point at which it feels ‘weird’, but not painful. Then rotate it as you gradually withdraw the Q-tip from the nose, making sure to cover every mucosal surface. Repeat in the other nostril. Do this every morning. There have been many posts debunking the use of sesame oil for this pandemic, but the ones I looked at misunderstood the proposed mechanism of action. They say that sesame oil has no antiviral properties, and this may very well be true, but it is beside the point. I believe the protective effect may be due to the oil blocking access of the virus to the receptors in the upper airway passages. If the virus can’t reach the receptors, it may not be able to penetrate into the body any deeper. This is all speculation, but the use of sesame oil in the nose has a very long history of use in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine, with, I believe, a clear record of safety. For this reason, I see no reason not to try it. A recent study in Shanghai explores this hypothesis in greater detail.”

Here is the full article if you want to have a read.

Another recently suggested, apparently effective, treatment for COVID-19, which might help to head off any viral attack, is propolis. This is a concoction which honey bees make by gathering the secretions from tree buds like poplar. It is a super miracle medicine from nature, and, whenever my significant other suspects a sore throat might be taking hold, she drops this black tincture of propolis down her throat, which normally stops it from developing further.

I hope you are finding ways to indulge your passions while you keep safe and cheerful. We are looking forward to getting back to our main passion, running Anahata and supporting the wellbeing of our community, very soon.