Chinese Medicine Lifestyle And Herbal Approaches To The Coronavirus

By Chad Dupuis
Tagged in Lifestyle and Theory

The coronavirus is currently appearing in the US and has spread well throughout large parts of the world. As time has passed since the first cases in China, we are starting to see the viability and effectiveness of a variety of western and eastern treatment options. As with many diseases and imbalances, the primary treatment is to not get sick to begin with. Along with all of the items such as social distancing and self quarantine that we have been hearing much about there are options within Chinese Medicine that can be done to aid not getting sick. In the unfortunate case that you do get sick, there are many options to aid in helping your body to keep the symptoms relatively mild and avoid deeper progression. Beyond those points, at least the US where Chinese Medicine and western medicine are poorly integrated, western medicine and in serious cases hospitilzation and medical interventions will be required. If, however, stronger options are required, Chinese Medicine has options to help you heal afterwards in the recovery phases.

Before I get started I feel it is warranted to discuss a couple worthy options for additional information outside of the scope of this short article. First, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a host of information on the covid-19 outbreak and what to do from their perspective. Second, while not exhaustive and many of the proposed treatment options being still in flux, further explored, or not readily available for many, this lengthy research article posted in the Military Medical Research journal entitled "A rapid advice guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infected pneumonia (standard version)" is a worthy read for clinicians and the public alike.

Below are some general adjunctive technique and herbal medicine recommendations that can be considered. Acupuncture would be heavily tailored to the individual, so beyond certain points it would be too lengthy of a discussion to add much about that. As always consider direct consultation with a provider to get the most tailored advice and proper treatment. Even the herbal recommendations below are general guideposts, not definitive approaches - although they are based on both proper TCM theory as well as published research and/or firsthand clinical accounts of what seems to have been beneficial thus far. We would love to hear from other practitioners in our forums as we all learn how best to aid our patients.

General Preventative Techniques

  • Moxibustion - see ("What is Moxibustion?" if you are unfamiliar with the technique) - Can be used to fumigate a clinical space (many relevant studies) - generally about 30 minutes of moxa smoke in a clinical space would be sufficient. For personal use or for patients (with their underlying Chinese Medicine diagnosis in mind), general tonification points such as ST 36, CV 6, CV 12 possibly along with any combination of SP 9, SP 6 and/or SP 3 in certain cases. With mild to moderate symptoms moxa at UB 13 may be useful to help open the lungs (a recent blog post, discussing internal details of why - "Study Explores Anti-Asthmatic Effects Of Moxibustion"), and/or points such as LU 7 or LU 9.
  • Herbal Medicine - with the patients individual circumstances taken into consideration (see "treating the cause vs. the symptoms for more general information on the importance of proper diagnosis in Chinese Medicine) for general prevention a basic tonification formula such as Si Jun Zi Tang which is the herbal attempt at what much of the moxibustion points above would accomplish. Another potential, perhaps even combined with si jun zi tang would be Yu Ping Feng Wan.
  • Qi Gong and Meditation - a simple qi gong form such as the tai chi dao yin has strong benefits towards your overall energy and immunity - (a non-instructional video of our class performing that form is here). Meditation would be very useful as well for the very same reasons. With these techniques in mind it is also important to consider trying to not be extremely stressed (yes that will be very hard at times). Stress does, however, affect immunity generally (relevant study), so anything that can be done to limit it should be done.

Initial Stages or Perhaps Even When Just Convinced Of Exposure

This is somewhat complicated as just like in western medicine we are still learning much about this virus. Generally speaking, on the western side, HIV meds (protease inhibitors/antivirals), possibly with rheumatoid arthritis medications (inflammation blockers) seem to offer good responses. Accordingly, to some aspect herbal approaches that appear to be work offer broad antibacterial and antiviral functions as well as herbs that limit inflammatory responses. This is still being explored unfortunately, so below is what is offered as a reasonable deduction from theory, case reports and other sources.

If things progress beyond the initial stages and symptoms worsen you will need to consult directly with a practitioner for the intervening steps. It is difficult to give generalizations for these cases and more than likely western medicine will be called for which may further complicate which herbal medicines may be appropriate for you. For practitioners with patients in these intervening stages and needing assistance our forums are a good place to ask.

Recovery Stage

  • Many of the cold and flu herbs, as well as many of the possible western treatments, can have a weakening effect on deeper aspects of the body. And the disease process itself is obviously weakening. To help the body heal and to avoid a relapse of an infection or other issues there are some possibilities.
  • Lung and Spleen Qi Deficiency - generalized symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and/or nausea, a tonification formula such as Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Wan may be appropriate.
  • Qi and Yin Deficiency - generalized symptoms such as heat with sweating, heat in the five palms, counterflow qi and/or shortness of breath, a qi and yin nourishing formula such as Sheng Mai Yin Wan may be appropriate.


Chinese Medicine Lifestyle And Herbal Approaches To The Coronavirus

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Authored by: Chad Dupuis on 17 March 2020

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