Coronavirus and Medicine Shortages: Start Growing Herbs


I’m not trying to be overly alarmist by posting this, but I received an intuitive message from above in beginning of January of 2020 that went somewhat as follows:

There will be medicine shortages in the future, so you should learn how to grow your own herbs.

This was before coronavirus was a blip on the radar. I found out not too long after noting the missive in my journal that some well-known, common drugs such as Zantac and Famotidine (Pepcid) were having supply issues.

I had gotten a prescription of Famotidine as a possible “something to try” for mast cell activation, and the pharmacy told me they were clean out. It would be weeks before I could get the prescription filled. Fortunately, I did not urgently need the drug, since I was more interested in natural approaches – but not being able to get it immediately was a wake up call.

Hmmm. Maybe there was something to that intuitive herbal garden “build it” message.

I’m not a huge fan of pharmaceutical drugs, but they have their place. And many people I love rely on them for their well-being. While I am an advocate for natural solutions such as herbs, sometimes they aren’t realistic or feasible.

We take for granted drug availability in the United States. However, most of our pharmaceutical drugs come from China. A disruption in China’s infrastructure due to pandemic or other disaster means we may not be able to get the drugs we rely on quickly, if at all.

When the coronavirus started hitting China a few weeks ago, I warned a friend of mind who has diabetes and relies on Metformin to keep his blood sugar levels down. He didn’t take me very seriously, unfortunately. But, perhaps, you will.

A few recommendations:

  1. Make sure you have an adequate supply of your needed medicines on hand. Do not wait until the last minute to get a refill.
  2. Ask your doctor in advance what alternatives may be available and consider having a prescription on hand or backup pills ready.
  3. Educate yourself on herbal alternatives to your medicines. Working with an herbalist or an Ayurvedic practitioner would be a good idea.
  4. Keep a stock of your herbal alternatives, within a reasonable lifespan of their expiration date. The reality is, you can’t stock up on 10 years of Echinacea, as it won’t be fresh. But 6 months or even a year is doable.
  5. Consider buying seeds to grow your most needed herbs in your home garden.
  6. You may also want to grow anti-microbial/anti-viral herbs to have on hand, such as Goldenseal.

Antibiotics may become scarce or hard to come by, so having good immune supporting herbs will be helpful. Goldenseal has actually become an endangered species due to over harvesting, so growing your own would be beneficial for that reason alone. You may also want to have a supply of colloidal silver, which is a good all-around antimicrobial supplement and can actually be made at home by the intrepid.

Now, you may be wondering – what if you do have something serious like diabetes? You definitely do not want to stop taking your diabetes medicine outright or in a panic. The good news is, many herbs can naturally lower blood sugar, including cinnamon. It is entirely possible to manage blood sugar this way – though perhaps not ideal for many. By being educated, you can be prepared in the worst case scenario of a drug shortage.

While I don’t think we are headed for Mad Max territory any time soon, I am planning on supply chain disruptions as being the new normal. and you should too.