Chinese Medicine and COVID19
There was so much controversy in the past weeks about the role of China and the spread of Covid-19. Unfortunately we witnessed some cases of racial profiling and hate crimes towards Chinese people in the US. Even Chinese Medicine was not spared from this profiling. In my world however, I got a chance to see the power of Chinese Medicine theories from 2000 years ago put to work and come out without failure. My husband works in a nursing home and he found out that one of the patients he was in close contact with had Covid19. The same morning my husband had woken up with intense body aches, which he contributed to working in the yard the day before. Throughout the day he started to cough and feel a tickle in his throat. That night he had low grade fever and called out from work. I found a testing site for him and the following day he got tested. Meanwhile I started the treatment of cold regiments based on Shan Han Lun, The Treaties on Cold Remedies, by Zhang Zhong Jing the father of our herbal medicine.
According to Dr. Chen, who has given a great comprehensive lecture on treatment of Covid19 by using Chinese Medicine in China in the past months, (see the link to his lecture on my website), there has been a viral epidemic in China in the past 2000 years at least every 6 years. Zhang Zhong Jing was a doctor who after seeing the affect of the epidemic and treating people, started to compile his observations and left us the book that is used as our bible in herbal medicine to this day. In fact I went to China four years ago to study with doctor Feng who is using Shan Han Lun's methods solely since it has gone through many changes throughout the history as is usually the case. Even in today's China, 80% of the Covid19 patients received traditional Chinese medicine along the Western medicine. If you look at the statistic their death rate was so much lower than many European countries or US. Having total hospitals dedicated to treatments with herb and acupuncture helps. But also the use of the traditional resources along the Western medicine that is most valued and can be used as a model for us in the US.
The main idea according to Shan Han Lun is that the pathogen is going to attack us starting from the outside. We have six different layers in our energetic and physical body that the pathogen can enter. If we can resist and divert it from the outside layer, which is a defensive wall, we will have the best outcome. So what do we see when the pathogen is in the outside layer? Muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, runny nose, some fever or not, some sweating, or no sweating, and perhaps some sore throat. The main herbs that we use are to induce sweating so that we can kick the pathogen out of our system. But also nourishing herbs so that sweating will not deplete us. It is a fine balance. One can eat a simple but nourishing food and get under the covers after taking the herbs and get a good sweat going. It is important not to overdo the sweating, because that can make one weak. Cupping of the back along the spine is a good way to open the pores and get the pathogen that is stuck under the skin and in the muscle layer out of the body as well. One can take a hot bath, but not for too long again, so there is not too much sweating. Just enough to open the pores. Picture opening doors and letting the pathogen out of the house.
Now if the pathogen can get out of the system at this stage one is very lucky and that is the best prognosis. Then the next stage would be more interior symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and in the case of covid19, the initial lung symptoms, such as pneumonia, phlegm in the lungs, and shortness of breath. As the pathogen goes in deeper, there is more physical damage to the organs and recovery is longer, prognoses poorer.
I just want the reader to get the idea that dealing with Covid19 is no different from treating a flu, or even a simple cold, initially. One has to be vigilant and observe the symptoms daily, sometimes multiple times a day, due to sudden shifts and changes. One way to make sure you are on the right tract is to observe the tongue. Make sure there is no thick white coat on the tongue, for that is indicative of phlegm and could mean that the pathogen is going deeper and creating thicker stagnation in the lungs. If you observe the thick coat on the tongue, try modifying the diet to reduce phlegm inducing food and drink some fresh ginger tea. Avoid eating cold and phlegm inducing food such as cheese, yogurt, oily or fried food, alcohol, coffee, raw food, ice, ice-cream and smoothies. Avoid fruits that are too sweet or heavy such as bananas. We had a daily batch of fresh ginger tea with honey and lemon, garlic soup, chicken soup, lot's of water, vitamin C and D. In addition, we added the daily breathing exercises and walking once my husband had more energy.
Lastly the acupuncture treatments help to boost the immune system, open sinuses, help with nausea and diarrhea, increase the appetite, increase the energy, open the lungs, uplift one's mood, and promote better sleep.
I hope you consider seeking Chinese Medicine, be it herbs, dietary advice or acupuncture treatments with your local acupuncturists. For more information on ways to keep us grounded in the time of uncertainty please look at my website. Wishing you all to be safe and happy and at peace during this time.
Dr. Zhang Zhong Jing author of Shan Han Lun