How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 1

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used to fight infectious diseases for over 1800  years1. The use of Chinese medicine in treating pandemic and endemic diseases has long been described in traditional medical books such as Shang Han Lun 《伤寒论》, Wen Bing Tiao Bian《温病条辨》and Wen Re Lun 《温热论》. What are the common symptoms of COVID-19? According to the World Health Organization2 COVID-19 affects people in different ways. Most people who contract COVID-19 will develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover without needing hospitalisation. Most common symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of taste or smell
Less common symptoms:
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea
  • A rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
  • Red or irritated eyes
Serious symptoms:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of speech or mobility, or confusion
Always seek immediate medical help if you experience serious symptoms.  According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), fully vaccinated people with mild symptoms and are otherwise healthy can manage their symptoms at home from 15 September onwards. 

Fight the mild symptoms with TCM - Mild Sore Throat

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 2

Ingredients: (Serves 1)

  • Honeysuckle (金银花, Jin Yin Hua), 9g
  • Wild Chrysanthemum Flowers (野菊花, Ye Ju Hua), 9g
  • Radix Scrophulariae (玄参, Xuan Shen) 9g
  • Radix Ophiopogonis(麦冬, Mai Dong) 9g
  • Radix Platycodi (桔梗, Jie Geng) 6g
  • Burdock seeds (牛蒡子Niu Bang Zi) 6g
  • Licorice Root (甘草, Gan Cao) 3g

Instructions:

    1. Soak all the herbs in water for 30 minutes.
    2. Bring the water in the pot to a boil over medium heat.
    3. Cover the pot and let the water simmer for 15 mins under low heat.
    4. The herbal soup is ready for consumption. Drink it warm twice a day.

Acupressure to relieve dry throat

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 3

Location: On the neck in the depression above the upper border of the hyoid bone.

Direction: Gently massage on the point for 30 seconds.

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 4

Location: In a depression below the tip of the medial malleolus.

Direction: Gently massage on the point for 1 minute 

Fight the mild symptoms with TCM - Mild Headache

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 5

 Ingredients: (Serves 1)

  • Dahurian Angelica Root (白芷, Bai Zhi) 9g
  • White Chrysanthemum (白菊花, Bai Ju Hua) 6g
  • Fructus Viticis (蔓荆子, Man Jing Zi) 6g
  • Licorice Root (甘草, Gan Cao) 3g

Instructions:

  1. Soak all the herbs in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Bring the water in the pot to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Cover the pot and let the water simmer for 15 mins under low heat.
  4. The herbal soup is ready for consumption. Drink it warm twice a day.

Acupressure to relieve headache 

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 6 v2

Precaution: Avoid this acupoint if you are pregnant. 

Location: Situated between the first and second metacarpal bone, along the middle of the second metacarpal bone.

Direction:  

  1. Place your hands in a half-clenched position
    2. Locate the point and gently massage the point using the other thumb. Soreness is expected. Continue to do so until you feel better.
    3. Repeat for both sides.

Fight the mild symptoms with TCM - Fatigue

Have sufficient hours of rest but still feeling listless or tired? A person’s protective Qi (卫气) is weakened after fighting a flu. This tea can restore and strengthen your protective Qi , promote healthy immune response, rebalance your body and aid in faster recovery. 

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 7

Ingredients: (Serves 1)

  • Astragalus Root (黄芪, Huang Qi) 9g
  • American ginseng (西洋参, Xi Yang Shen)  9g
  • Radix Polygalae (远志, Yuan Zhi) 3g
  • Dried Tangerine peel (陈皮, Chen Pi) 3g
  • Patchouli (藿香, Huo Xiang) 3g

Instructions:

  1. Put all of the ingredients into a teapot and pour boiling water over it.
  2. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes before consumption.
  3. Drink it warm. 

Acupressure to relieve fatigue:

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 8 v2

Location: Located on the anterior aspect of the lower leg, 3 cun below the kneecap.

Direction: Gently massage on the point in a circular motion continuously for 1 minute.

The 八段锦(Ba Duan Jin)Exercise

八段锦(Ba Duan Jin)or the 8 Brocade Exercises is a form of Chinese medical qigong used traditionally to improve physical and mental health.

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 9

Here are 3 simple exercises extracted from 八段锦 (Ba Duan Jin) that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help energise and strengthen your body.

  1. Two Hands hold up the Heavens (双手托天理三焦)

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, with knees slightly bent. 

Breathe in as your arms start rising from the sides of your body. Tilt your head upwards along with this movement to watch your hands come together above the head. Do a stretch from the back, as if reaching for a ball, and hold for 3 seconds. 

Then, relax, exhale, and lower the arms in front of the abdomen and return to your starting posture. 

Perform these movements for 6 repetitions. This exercise helps to balance the energies in all internal organs. 

  1. Separate Heaven and Earth (调理脾胃须单举)

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, with knees slightly bent and both palms at waist height facing upwards, thrust the hands slowly in opposite directions, one up and one down, with the palm of the top hand facing the sky and the palm of the bottom hand facing the ground. 

Return to your starting posture and switch the direction of the hands on your next repetition. 

Perform for 6 repetitions (3 up and 3 down for each hand). 

This movement helps regulate stomach and spleen function.

  1. Bouncing on the Toes (背后七颠百病消)

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, push upwards through the toes until you are in a tip-toe position, then drop on your heels with a small rocking motion upon landing. 

Perform for 6 repetitions. The vibration effect created will help smoothen out the energies of the body.

Fight the mild symptoms with TCM - Feeling Anxious

Acupressure to relieve anxiety and tension

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 10 v2

Location: Place 3 fingers from the crease line at the wrist area. The point is located in between the 2 tendons (palmaris longus and flexor carpi radialis).

Direction: Massage the point with the tip of your thumb in a circular motion. While doing so, try engaging in deep breathing to reduce anxiety.

How to cope with mild symptoms of COVID-19 using TCM 11

Location: When the fist is clenched, the point is located just below the tip of the middle finger, in between the second and third metacarpal bone.

Direction: Locate the point with a thumb and do circular massage for 3-5 minutes. You may also engage in deep breathing or listen to some calming music while doing acupressure.

4-7-8 Breathing exercise 

This is a simple and easy exercise to reduce anxiety, tension, and help manage stress.

  1. Sit comfortably on a chair with your back straight and against the backrest.
  2. Exhale completely through your mouth.
  3. Close your mouth and inhale gently through your nose for 4 seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  5. Exhale completely through your mouth for 8 seconds. 
  6. This is one breath. Inhale again to begin the second breath and repeat steps 1 to 5. 
  7. Repeat for 3 breaths to complete one exercise. 
  8. Do this exercise twice a day.

For those who are under home quarantine, do keep the house well-ventilated, mask up and wash your hands regularly. 

Another way to reduce risk of spread within the house is to ensure that the shared toilet is well ventilated and the toilet bowl is covered prior to flushing3. Common surfaces such as the sink, toilet bowl and shower handles are disinfected each time after the infected person uses the toilet. 

Together, let’s care, appreciate and support each other during this period.

Note: Information provided is not a substitute for a physician or any form of medical care. Individual symptoms differ due to different body constitutions and diagnosis. One should consult a licensed TCM practitioner for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Remember, always seek immediate medical help if you experience serious symptoms. 

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0954611110002519
  2. https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_3
  3. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/askst-what-should-i-do-if-i-get-covid-19-but-moh-has-not-called-me



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Physician Kang Ting Tan

TCM Physician,

Lead (Platform Development and Training)

Double Degree (First Class Honours): Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences & Bachelor of Medicine (Chinese Medicine), Nanyang Technological University and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine

Physician Tan Kang Ting graduated with a First-Class Honours in B.sc. in Biomedical Science and Bachelor’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Nanyang Technological University and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. She was a scholarship recipient of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine Foreign Student Scholarship. She was also awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal in NTU.

She has a passion for learning. She continuously upgrades herself by reading TCM books, journals and e-learning platforms. Her caring personality is well-liked by her patients.

Physician Tan’s expertise: General Wellness, Pain Management, Injury Management and Women’s Health

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