Important announcement : Andrew Weil Integrative Medicine Center releases FAQ on whole food and nutritional supplements related to coronavirus COVID-19

If you are familiar with Botanical Nutrition, you know that we don’t sell anything. There is no sales pitch here, and while I work in the natural products industry – everything expressed here is my personal opinion, or at least my personal take on the facts. I do not claim to represent any company directly, nor have the statements I make here been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

I make that disclaimer because I’m writing today about an important announcement from the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, which is publicly available and linked here. In it Weil and the center talk about some nutritional supplements, some of which are recommended for potentially preventing coronavirus, and some which he mentions are contraindicated in case of active Covid-19 infection.

I would encourage you to read what Dr. Weil and his team has to say for yourself, and draw your own conclusions, but for ease of reference I will paraphrase a few of the observations he makes in this FAQ. They discuss a number of things, including some dietary supplements : medicinal mushrooms (mycelia), vitamin D3, NAC (n-acetyl cysteine), Spirulina and Elder berry.

Specifically the distinction is made that Elder berry is recommended if you are trying to prevent viral infection such as coronavirus. But, if you have the disease Covid-19 the Weil center states “to minimize the possibility that elderberry could aggravate the inflammatory “cytokine storm” associated with the more severe COVID-19 infections, it is recommended to stop elderberry at the first signs of infection (fever, cough, sore throat) and/or if you test positive for the virus.”

This will be upsetting to some, and others will disagree, but I am reminded of one of the key tenets of natural medicine “Primer nocer coctum”, – First, do no harm. If we have any doubts about using something that could cause harm, we should look elsewhere. I highly recommend you read the Weil center document in its entirety.

Similarly, the center advises that if you have covid-19 (again an important distinction meaning you’re not just a healthy person looking to PREVENT getting infected) you should discontinue Vitamin D. The rest of us, in fact SHOULD KEEP TAKING our Vitamin D (arguably, along with our Elder berry, medicinal mushrooms/mycelia, etc.) to keep from getting stick.

Another distinction made by Dr Weil is that medicinal mushrooms in the form of mycelia, a holistic preparation of the mushroom life cycle, is same to take – even in the presence of the disease. However, he specifically discourages taking polysaccharide extracts of the fruiting body in the same situation.

If you’d like to hear more of my take on it, or just see what the heck I’ve got in that funny blue drink… check out my latest video below. Thanks for listening and feel free to comment. I’m not afraid to debate or discuss, but please be respectful and keep the previous disclaimers in mind. God bless and godspeede….

Did colloidal silver really turn a man blue?

A few years ago if you even mentioned colloidal silver, you would instantly start to get this amazing story about a crazy looking blue man.  The story goes that he turned that way from using colloidal silver. So, is that true?

In a word, no.


There is a man who looks like Papa Smurf that has made the rounds of the talk show circuit. People have been talking about him for years, citing his case an example of why you shouldn’t take popular natural remedy colloidal silver. One website published this year, says that it is all a hoax.

The Blue Man story became a major media disinformation event which was produced by a public relations firm and paid for by a pharmaceutical interest. The purpose of this campaign was to scare the public away from using colloidal silver products.


Turns out the man’s name is Paul Karason.  That’s him right there! Well, how did he get to be so blue?

The website offers this analysis, “ The fact is that Paul has a condition called argyria that turns the skin a blue-gray color. He got this condition by taking his homemade silver compound that was mostly a highly concentrated ionic silver solution. When he prepared the solution he believed he was making colloidal silver. He was not making colloidal silver. To make the solution even more dangerous, he added salt to the brew and then used electrolysis to make a high concentration of silver chloride with large particles which is well known to cause argyria. He further applied the compound to his skin causing him to become an internal and external photographic plate. To finish himself off, he used a tanning bed to “fix” the silver in his body. The moral of the story is to know the difference between true colloidal silver and ionic silver or silver proteins, and don’t try to make either at home! (True colloidal silver cannot be made at home.)

If you do use colloidal silver, I recommend using nano-colloidal silver that you buy in your health food store. Not some dangerous crap you make in your bathtub which is not even colloidal. If you really want to check out an effective praoduct – you can take a product like Black Earth Silver from the Food Movement which also includes humic acid, fulvic acid and over 70 trace minerals.

But nano silver is really interesting. According to one group of researchers in China, writing a meta-analysis (synthesis based on previous studies) “Recently, Nano Silver Particles have become of intense interest in biomedical applications because of their antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory activity.5,6

Research done in Mongolia (inspired by the healing elements found in the the ‘Black lakes’ throughout Asian mountain ranges) also showed that colloidal Silver and Humic Acid (found in the Humates in the Black Lakes traditionally used for healing) had a synergistic effect.  Research published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology  found that “the toxicity of [Silver Nanoparticles] to a bacterial model (Shewanella oneidensis MR-1) decreases most significantly in the presence of sulfur- and nitrogen-rich NOM. Our data suggest that the rate of AgNP aggregation and dissolution in aquatic environments containing NOM will depend on the chemical composition of the NOM, and that the toxicity of [Nanocolloidal Silver] to aquatic microorganisms is controlled primarily by the extent of nanoparticle dissolution.”

But if you do ask the medical mainstream about silver, they probably won’t talk to you about research on NSPs.  They’ll say stuff like the NIH website says :

  • Silver has no known function or benefits in the body when taken by mouth.
  • Silver is not a nutritionally essential mineral or a useful dietary supplement.
  • People may be exposed to silver, usually in tiny amounts, through air, water, and food, and in certain activities such as jewelry-making or soldering.

Well, thanks, that’s a really great idea! Instead of a health supplement I will just suck on a soldering gun for a while. Or focus on the tiny amounts I get in the air. How’s that working for you?

Meanwhile, if you check in with a natural-oriented doctor like Dr Josh Axe, popular internet guru, he will tell you that it is very beneficial. In addition to the research I mentioned earlier, he also talks about successful use of colloidal silver in treating pneumonia, sinusitis, pink eye and other conditions.

“You may come across many warnings about it causing an irreversible condition called argyria (when people turn blue). However, this is caused by misuse not of true colloidal silver, but through other cheaper products marketed as colloidal silver, such as ionic silver or silver protein,” writes Dr Axe.”

“One point to consider is that, because colloidal silver is such a potent antibacterial agent, you should be sure to supplement with probiotics during use to be sure that you maintain a proper balance of microflora.”

Because based on research on the microbiome and mood, if you don’t – you may wind up feeling blue.  But if you buy a reputable colloidal silver you won’t be turning blue.