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Covid-19 and Traditional Chinese Medicine

How Can Chinese Herbs Help You Stay Well During COVID-19?

The coronavirus pandemic has put Traditional Chinese Medicine to work! From herbal antiviral research to self-care remedies, Chinese medicine is well-suited to address the many issues that accompany life in a pandemic.

While research is still underway to determine if Chinese herbs can be used to help us fight viral pandemics, there are many ways we can enjoy the benefits of Chinese herbal medicine right at home. Let’s dive into the main ways that Chinese herbal medicine can help us stay healthy and calm – even through a pandemic!

How Has Chinese Medicine Been Used to Treat COVID-19?

Chinese medicine has a rich history of treating viral and respiratory diseases. While records of early treatments date back thousands of years, Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used more recently to successfully prevent and treat SARS in 2003. Again in 2009, Chinese herbs were used to successfully manage H1N1.

These previous successes with similar viral outbreaks have stirred much discussion, research, and experimentation on the use of Chinese herbs to once again help combat the mysterious coronavirus. TCM herbal formulas have since been used widely throughout China to help patients recover from the severe respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 and support the immune system.

At this time, however, we simply do not have enough solid research to say what can help to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. What we do know, however, is that Chinese medicine has much to offer for keeping our bodies and minds healthy while we navigate through the pandemic lifestyle.

Let’s explore some of the simple ways that we can use Chinese medicine to boost our health, ease our stress, and come out of this pandemic healthier than we went in.

Chinese Herbal Medicine Supports Healthy Immune Function

If there has been one common health concern for us all over the past few months, it has been immunity. Thankfully, Chinese medicine shines as a preventative medical system with a heavy focus on supporting the immune system.

One of the main ways that Chinese herbal medicine improves immune health is by boosting the body’s natural energy, or qi. Qi is needed to keep all the body’s cells and organs functioning – and keep the immune system fighting. Too little qi can make us tired, depressed, and vulnerable to infection and illness.

A simple remedy to boost our body’s natural energy is Bu Tong Yi Qi Wan/ Central Chi. This is a gentle formula that lifts the mood, improves digestion, boosts energy, and encourages a healthy immune response.

Although not a Chinese herbal formula, the Turkey Tail mushroom is a prized Chinese medicinal. Our Real Mushrooms Turkey Tail (and the 5 Defenders blend) capsules and powder are an easy way to give your immune system extra care every day.

The immune system, however, can be complicated. While it does need certain nutrients to perform at its best, it also relies heavily on our lifestyle and habits. Remember to get enough sleep, maintain a healthy weight, relieve stress, and enjoy a laugh or two.

Chinese Herbal Medicine Restores Gut Health and Encourages Weight Loss

Working from home, Netflix binges, and the general stress of living through a pandemic do not bode well for our waistlines. If you have noticed a little extra weight around your middle in the past few months, you’re not alone!

While gaining a few pounds through a stressful time is normal, staying healthy and getting your gut back on track is key to keeping your immune system strong.

If weight loss is your goal, consider using Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang/Six Gentlemen paired with Bravo Tea’s Dieter’s Slimming. These two formulations help to fight through what TCM calls “dampness” to help reduce bloating, stagnation, and excess weight gain. These two can help improve weight loss efforts for faster, more sustainable weight loss when paired with a healthy diet and exercise.

Chinese Herbal Medicine Refocuses Your Mindset and Relieves Stress

The past few months have been anything but calm and relaxing. Between the shifts and changes in home and work life, the historical events happening in our culture and society, and the general confusion we all feel, it’s normal to be feel out of sorts right now.

But eventually, we want to regain our focus and get back to living our lives to the fullest. Many of us will need support with focus, memory, and productivity as we learn how to better work from home (with or without distracting family members).

At Best Chinese Medicine, we love Real Mushroom’s Lion’s Mane powder for a morning treat that gives you focus, clarity, and motivation. Lion’s mane mushroom is known for its positive effects on cognition function, memory, focus, and general mental health. Here’s a delicious way to enjoy Lion’s Mane:

Brain Boosting Morning Latte

  • 1 cup fresh organic coffee or 1 shot of espresso
  • 1 TBS Real Mushrooms Lion’s Mane powder
  • 1 TBS MCT oil or coconut oil
  • A few drops of pure vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on medium-high for about one minute. Pour into your favorite mug and get to work!

Unfortunately, focus and productivity are not the only mental and emotional struggles we’re facing. For many of us, the intense stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic still remain.

Stress, anxiety, and insomnia may have taken over 2020, but Chinese medicine can help us take back control. If your stress is mild to moderate and you have been feeling irritable, frustrated, or moody, consider a daily dose of Xiao Yao Wan/Free and Easy Wanderer. This is a commonly used formula famous for its ability to help soothe the emotions and relax the mind.

If anxious thoughts, dread, or fear keep you from getting a good night’s sleep, try An Shen Bu Xin Wan instead. This formula is more focused on nourishing a stressed and tired heart. It helps to ease anxious thoughts and encourage a healthy sleep pattern.

(Bonus: Ditching stress and boosting sleep also makes for a healthy immune system!)

Chinese Medicine and Post-Pandemic Life

Chinese medicine is thousands of years old and has offered solutions to some of the world’s worst medical catastrophes. While thorough research is still being conducted on the potential effects of Chinese herbs for treating symptoms of COVID-19, we can all make use of a little TCM right at home.

Despite the many health benefits, taking Chinese herbal medicine to support your body daily offers one last piece of holistic health: a self-care ritual. In stressful times like these, a small daily offering to ourselves (even if only a mug of warm tea or a mindful dose of Chinese herbal tea pills!) helps keep us centered and whole.

Stay well, stay safe, and keep enjoying your Chinese herbs!

*DISCLAIMER: There is currently no known cure or treatment for COVID-19. Best Chinese Medicine does not claim that any featured products can cure or treat COVID-19.

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About the Author

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kate Downes is a Chinese medicine practitioner with a passion for herbal medicine. In fact, it was her love for plant and earth medicine that first drew her to study Chinese medicine.

Kate has a MSAOM (Master of Science, Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) certification and practiced acupuncture in Indianapolis, IN for five years before packing her bags to roam the world. In order to stay in touch with the wellness community and continue to help others thrive with herbal medicine, she transformed her work from face-to-face patient care to spreading wellness through words. Her life as a remote herbalist and writer has allowed her to work with a variety of wellness brands, health pioneers, and her wonderful clients. She has a special interest in working with women’s health.

Kate thoroughly enjoys writing educational and useful pieces for Best Chinese Medicine. Her goal is to help the public gain a better understanding of the wonders of Chinese herbal medicine so they can be empowered in their own quest for natural, vibrant health.

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