• Anatomy & Alchemy

Chinese Herbal Medicine and Covid-19: How Chinese herbal medicine can treat coronaviruses

There is a lot about COVID-19 that we have yet to learn. What we do know for sure is that this virus has a destructive ability to prey on those members of our population with the weakest immune systems, and those who have pre-existing chronic diseases.

As parts of our country start to move into reopening phases let’s talk about steps you can take now that include acupuncture and herbal medicine to help yourself stay well in the age of coronavirus.

Let’s start by strengthening your immune system. You may be thinking, easier said than done! But here are the basics: eating nutritious food, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep regularly does wonders for your body. Start there. Then let’s add on another essential building block: Acupuncture is an effective way to boost your immune system and help you stay healthy. Studies show acupuncture can increase T-cell production. Think of these cells like virus killing machines in your body. They are an essential part of your immune system, and a good T-cell count is a key component of good health. Acupuncture also reduces inflammation, which can create havoc in your body and is one of the markers for autoimmune diseases. And electroacupuncture (learn more about that here) has been shown to repair gut mucosa, which helps you get the most benefit from the healthy food you’re eating.

“But what if I still get sick?” That’s a great question. None of this may prevent you from getting COVID-19, but it can directly impact the severity of the symptoms you may experience, if any, and how quickly you recover. Fever, sore throat, body aches, chest tightness, and a dry cough are the most common symptoms.

If you get sick we can help.

Studies on the efficacy of Chinese herbal medicine to help ease the symptoms of COVID-19 are very promising. The practitioner will use a patient's symptoms, along with tongue and pulse diagnosis, to evaluate which herbal formula will be most effective to treat them. Formulas such as Ge Gen Tang, Yin Qiao San, Lian Hua Qing Wen Capsule, and Qing Wen Bai Du Yin, among others, all contain key herbs that will help to reduce fever, clear mucus, stop cough, and relieve body aches. Common herbal ingredients in these formulas include Huang Qin (skullcap root), Lian Qiao (forsythia fruit), Jin Yin Hua (honeysuckle flower), and Niu Bang Zi (burdock fruit). These all have chemical properties that are antibacterial, antiviral, and antipyretic (fever-reducing). Many of Western medicine’s pharmaceutical drugs were developed by extracting various chemical components from these plants.

Quick fact: China administered herbal medicine to 92% of its infected citizens. Reports show this led to quicker recovery times and reduced the mortality rate in severely ill patients by 8.8%.

If you’d like to read the studies, the links below get deeper into the mechanisms. TLDR? Included are some of the study conclusions if you want to cut to the chase.

When you’re ready to begin working on your immune system give us a call. We’re here for you! Together we will help you stay (or get) healthy.


Studies and quick snapshot conclusions:

"After the pneumonia outbreak with COVID-19, the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China led an expert team to formulate a traditional Chinese herbal medicine treatment program. On 24 January 2020, the first case of a cured patient in Beijing being discharged from hospital after traditional Chinese herbal medicine treatment with symptomatic therapy was reported. Later, another cured patient was reported following traditional Chinese herbal medicine therapy, prompting the wider application of traditional Chinese herbal medicine for patients with COVID-19 pneumonia."


“In 2009, National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of China issued a Traditional Chinese Medicine program for treatment of H1N1 infection. Based on these experiences, we believe that Traditional Chinese Medicine is effective for COVID-19, so we use it during the outbreak of COVID-19, and it works very well clinically.”


Yao, et al. and Lu, et al. retrospectively analyzed the clinical efficacy of Lian Hua Qing Wen Capsule in treatment of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients. The results indicated that this herbal product could markedly relieve major symptoms such as fever and cough and had the capacity to promote the recovery.”


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