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How traditional Chinese medicine helps during the pandemic
source:FMT Lifestyle 2020-04-10 [Medicine]
PETALING JAYA: For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has played a role in preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases.

As it happens, TCM still has a place in the modern world as it takes part in the fight against the global pandemic that is Covid-19.

As Covid-19 outbreaks peaked in China, TCM proved its worth by treating 91.6% of patients in the epicentre of Hubei province, and 92.4% of patients nationwide.

The effectiveness of traditional formulas and medicines thus cannot be downplayed.

According to a classic about TCM work, the Huang Di Nei Jing, the best doctors are those who perform preventive treatments.

This age-old document highlights how preventive measures are an important tenet of TCM practice.

According to Dr Heng Aik Teng, Inti International University’s TCM Programme Head, TCM’s diet therapy and wellness guidance helps boost the body’s immune system which helps fight the virus.

He said that everyone needs healthy qi to reduce the damage caused by diseases. By promoting healthy qi, the human body builds immunity to resist diseases and to recover faster.

To preserve qi, TCM practitioners emphasise the need to nourish the spleen and stomach, both organs that produce qi and help circulate blood.

“Supplementing the spleen and nourishing the qi will further improve lung functions – the primary target of Covid-19,” said Dr Heng.

Ginseng is one of the Chinese medicines that help supplement the spleen and nourish the qi, as well as improve lung function. (Pixabay pic)

“Chinese herbs that are commonly used to achieve this goal include Ginseng, Huangqi, Baizhu, Cordyceps and so on.”

Regulation is TCM’s constant focus, and besides medicines that keep the lungs functioning, TCM offers other supplements based on each individual’s symptoms.

For instance, if a patient has a dry mouth, Dr Heng said that they will be prescribed a milder Ginseng enhanced with Baihe and Maidong.

However, Dr Heng iterated that it is important to practise good hygiene, to wear face masks while outside and to practise social distancing.

Keeping your hands away from your face is also vital in blocking Covid-19’s main channel of transmission.

Dr Heng also said that since the general public is confined to their homes and have minimal physical activity, it’s vital to stay healthy through maintaining a balanced diet.

“Eat less fried, greasy and salty food to avoid increasing the risk for hypertension and high cholesterol levels.”

“Also, eat less sugary foods to avoid the exacerbation of existing diabetic conditions,” warned Dr Heng.

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, Dr Heng suggested six areas to keep in consideration:

1. Avoid being overworked

When tired, don’t hesitate to rest. Staying up late could lead to liver function deficiency. This means adequate sleep is important in staying healthy

Maintain a healthy lifestyle while confined at home by eating a balanced diet and doing simple indoor exercises. (Rawpixel pic)

2. Take note of your surroundings

Your physical wellbeing is affected by your living environment. If a room has extreme temperatures, it could cause illness. Avoid being hasty in taking shelter from the sweltering heat in an air-conditioned room.

3. Take care of your emotional wellbeing

Stress leads to illness. Sadness can cause appetite loss and indigestion; anger raises blood pressure. Get a hobby to ease everyday pressures.

4. Watch your diet

Overeating causes obesity or other digestive disorders. Fried or salty food may cause vascular diseases. Eat nutritious food to avoid mineral or vitamin deficiency.

5. Avoid bacterial and viral infections

To reduce disease transmission risk, avoid crowded places and maintain your hygiene.

6. Practise good working-from-home habits

Detach from your digital devices every 15 minutes for every 45 minutes of using them.

During this respite, look out at greenery and massage the area around your eyes. Take a nap if needed. Do indoor exercises by referring to mobile applications or YouTube videos.