The best treatment against COVID-19 is to avoid contracting it. If you do begin to show signs of any upper respiratory conditions, treat is very seriously as this disease can progress quickly and require medical intervention including strong antiviral medication, and respiratory support. In this post the views that are expressed are those of Traditional Chinese Medical theory.

“There exists a longstanding tradition of clinical scholarship on epidemics in premodern China, with scores of monographs on the bubonic plague and cholera and life-threatening febrile diseases written during the last 400 years and beyond. The Qing dynasty authors used to treat thousands of patients in their rural clinics (without masks) and lived to share their insights and experience.

{We recognize the presence} of “damp phlegm” and Chinese medicine’s ability to treat it is perhaps the major strength of this medicine in comparison to conventional hospital approaches. Recently published tissue samples from the lungs of deceased COVID-19 patients show severe membrane obstruction by the presence of glue-like mucous that Chinese physicians on the front lines have described so often. Both acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help to prevent the development of this kind of severe pulmonary obstruction.” – Teacher and master herbalist Heiner Fruehouf.


This disease is characterized as an epidemic toxin. The original Chinese term for epidemic, li yi (戾疫, literally ‘ferocious epidemic’), has a recorded history of over two thousand years.  Zhang Zhong jing (150-129), who suffered the loss of many family members after a large scale epidemic, composed the famous Chinese Medical book the Shang han lun (Treatise on Cold Damage.) He stated that li yi is acute and infectious, its symptoms develop much swifter than typical shang han (cold damage), and can easily progress to a critical – even fatal – stage.

It is important to note, that at the beginning of the disease, there must be a deficiency of vital qi, in order for severe symptoms to develop. Traditional Chinese Medicine should be used earlier (and again during the recovery phase) to boost the vital energy of the body and to prevent the formation of pulmonary interstitial lesions. Once there are severe respiratory symptoms it is more difficult to treat.

How can one avoid contracting such a ferocious epidemic virus? The Nei jing (Inner Classic) provides the answer: people with strong zheng (upright) qi will avoid the worst effects of epidemic infection despite the fact that everybody, no matter their age or gender, may be affected. Because each individual has a different physical constitution, the manifestations of the disease will vary, and so a single herbal prescription cannot be universally effective for every patient. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be used to boost the body’s vital energy and treat mild to moderate symptoms and reduce the change of disease progression.