Corona Virus COVID-19, flu, epidemics & Chinese herbal medicine

Chinese medicine has historically proven effective for colds and flues, including epidemics such as SARS and COVID-19. I have been reading what my teachers and colleagues in China and the US have been writing about the presentation and treatment of COVID-19, including cases, and Chinese herbal medicine has clearly been very helpful. A have a ton of information at my fingertips with regards to effective Chinese herbal formulas.

The COVID-19 virus has been presenting as a Cold Damp invasion in the Lungs with Toxic Heat, plus whatever blockages or deficiencies patterns were there before the pathogen invaded the body. Some cases are more mild, without a lot of Lung symptoms, while others have serious Lung issues, such as a lot of phlegm clogging the Lungs and difficulty breathing. Some cases are showing with body aches and extreme fatigue that lingers, and others are presenting with digestive issues such as loose stools.

It is a little hard to know exactly what is what considering the lack of COVID-19 testing that is currently available. For treatment with Chinese medicine, it doesn’t matter if you have a positive test or not, because with Chinese medicine we treat according to your symptom presentation. We first diagnosis your pattern, and then treat with an herbal prescription that is written according to your differential diagnosis.

So, if someone had a history of constipation and sinus issues, there is likely to be a background of Yangming Heat, which translates to stagnation in the “tube” that runs from the sinuses down through the throat and GI system to the anus. For this person, I would probably (after asking more questions) recommend a formula that unblocks and clears heat from the Yangming tube plus herbs that help open the Lungs if there are breathing problems, clear phlegm from the Lungs if there is phlegm, and warm the Lungs if there is cold.

If someone is more deficient, is quite sensitive emotionally, and tends to flush and/or have a low grade fever in the afternoon I would likely use Cinnamon Twig Decoction in addition to herbs for the Lungs.

If there is fatigue or exhaustion with deficiency, I will likely include Ginseng or other tonifying herbs. If there is cold in the Lungs, I might added dried Ginger. If there is a deficiency of body fluids, I will moisten fluids.

I have been seeing clients both with and without a positive test for COVID-19, and so far the result have been good.

It is important that treatment of a serious flu such as COVID-19 get treated as soon as possible in order to keep the chest open  to and therefore reduce serious symptoms. As little as one or two doses of herbs can open restricted breathing, reduce phlegm and cough, and make a person feel much so better. If you get sick, let me know ASAP.

Some of the herbs that are used for COVID-19 are hard to get and I see some practitioners are scrambling to find there herbs to no avail. I had already stocked up on these hard to get herbs via special sources in Canada and Vietnam and have them available in concentrated granules (powdered, just add hot water) AND raw herbs (you have to cook for 30 – 60 minutes). For acute situations, sometimes we need large doses of some of the herbs and the raw herb formulas are more effective because the concentrated granules contain fillers, which are fine in regular dosages, but can be too much for the digestive system. The loose herbs are more pure, you could say, but the granules, or tablets if appropriate, are totally fine in regular doses.

Remember, if you get sick, especially with something that look like it could be COVID-19, it is best to start herbs as soon as possible. There is no need to have a positive test result before starting Chinese herbs.

Please see this blog post for a list of important questions that I will need ask in order to do a differential diagnosis and prescribe an herbal formula.

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