COVID-19 is categorised under “Epidemic disease” in TCM and is said to be caused by pathogenic factors including heat, cold-damp, toxins and stagnation, of which “dampness” is the most predominant. More specifically, it is said to be caused by “exogenous dampness turbidity”. This pathogen with strong infectivity can easily be spread via droplets and enter the body through mouth and nose.
To keep our immunity strong to fight against COVID-19, here are some easy-to-follow TCM health tips that we can incorporate into our daily lifestyle.
1. Building Immunity by Supporting the Lung and Spleen
When we get sick, it is caused by the invasion of pathogen due to deficiency of healthy Qi (vital energy). Therefore, strengthening the healthy Qi by supporting our Lung and Spleen can improve our immunity to defend the attack of foreign invaders.
According to TCM, the pathogenesis of COVID-19 is mainly characterized by “dampness”. In our body, dampness is cleared by our Spleen. On this basis, aromatic herbs such as Huo Xiang 藿香, Bai Zhi 白芷, Cang Zhu 苍术 and Pei Lan 佩兰 are commonly used to invigorate the Spleen so that it can remove any excess dampness in the body.
Other than the Spleen, the Lung also plays an important role. TCM believes that the Lung is not only responsible for breathing, it also dominates the Qi of the entire body. When the Lung function is compromised, a mixture of herbs such as Ma Huang 麻黄, Gui Zhi 桂枝, Huang Qi 黄芪, Jin Yin Hua 金银花 and Xin Ren 杏仁 are used to support the Lung to release the invading pathogens.
2. Acupressure Points
- When to Press: Daily for about 5 minutes
- How to Press: Use your fingers to press the acupuncture points firmly with moderate pressure. You may feel a sore and dull sensation around the area. Doing moxibustion on 神阙 Shen Que (belly button) or pressing acupressure points such as Guan Yuan 关元, Qi Hai 气海 and Zu San Li 足三里 can activate the Yang energy, dispel cold-damp and improve overall immunity.
3. TCM Food Therapy
For a strong immune system, it is important to eat the right foods.
- Avoid cold raw food and eat warm cooked food. This will ensure the digestive fire is strong and you can better digest and absorb adequate nutrients.
- Avoid a diet that is rich in sugar, processed and greasy food. Too much of these can create dampness and hinder the Spleen function. It can also negatively affect the gut microbiome which may cascade into a chronic low-grade inflammation.
- Eat more vegetables, fruits, probiotic foods, healthy fats, lean protein and drink adequate amount of warm water.
4. Healthy Lifestyle
During this COVID-19 circuit breaker, most of us are working from home. As our daily routine changes, we need to try our best to remain good habits every day.
- Stay at home and practice good hygiene
Stay at home as much as possible. Always wear mask when going out, wash your hands regularly with water and soap for at least 20 seconds and open the windows to ventilate the rooms daily.
- Schedule your day
Avoiding overwork or idleness. It is important to plan ahead and arrange a reasonable balance of work and rest.
- Move your body
Doing some light stretches and practicing 3 to 5 minutes of simple TCM exercises such as Tai Ji Quan or Ba Duan Jin can activate Qi and blood movement. This helps to relax sinews and strengthen bones, and increase the flexibility of joints. Doing it regularly can also relieve your physical and mental fatigue and boost your immunity.
- Get enough rest
Your body resets and repairs during sleep. A good sleep will not only help to restore your physical strength, but also boost your healthy Qi to enhance immunity. Adults need 7 to 8 hours sleep every day and try to sleep before 11pm.
- Take time to relax
Some of us tend to feel more anxious and depressed when cooped up at home for a long time. Try these floral teas to help you relax:
– Three Flower Tea: Rose, Jasmin, Chrysanthemum and Sang Ye.
This helps to regulate smooth flow of Qi and Blood, clear heat and tranquilise the mind.
– Lavender Tea: Lavender and Yu Xing Cao.
This helps the clear the Lung, detoxify and tranquilise the mind.