COV-19 pandemic affected millions of people in the world. I am trying to explain below how Chinese medicine view the COV-19 pandemic. At the end of the article there is a recommendation of tea you can make at home to help balancing the energy. This article referenced from my Chinese Medicine mentor professor Pan Xiao Chuan.
Bacterial and Virus were discovered in western medicine. In China for thousands of years illnesses are described by the imbalance of the energy caused by external influences like Wind/Cold/Heat/Dampness/Dryness/Fire or by the internal emotions like Fear/Anger/Worry/Sadness/Joy/overthinking.
The energy circulating in the human body is also affected by the energy in the universe. In Chinese calendar each year and each season the energy in the universe changes. Every 60 years is a circle. 2020 is the GengZi year which is the year of Metal energy dominating. In Five Element theory Metal represents the Lung energy. The pathogenic factor of Metal energy is dryness. With Metal energy overflowing it suppresses the Wood energy which represents the Liver energy.
The normal way of energy circulating in the body is that Wood energy (Liver energy) ascends and Metal energy (Lung energy) descends forming a circle. When this energy movement is disturbed the balance of the body is lost. Lung controls breathing. The typical symptoms of Lung energy not descending are coughing, shortness of breath, fever, headaches etc. When liver energy does not ascend sufficiently people could experience tiredness/fatigue. Liver controls the free flow of the energy in the body. When liver energy stagnates it also affects the digestive system which could result in accumulated dampness in the body.
COV-19 is a complicated imbalance in the body with a combination of Dryness/Dampness/Heat/Cold coexisting in the body.
What is the other element affecting the Wood energy (Liver energy)? In Five Element theory Water reinforces Wood. Water represents the Kidney energy – the original source energy in the body. It is also the resources buried deep in the earth like fossil energy. When overuse this energy or not restore it properly in the winter we suffer from insufficient Liver energy growth. In the internal Classics it described it as “When our essential energy is not restored in the winter, we suffer from epidemic the next spring.” The overuse of our resources and the destroy of the environment play a part in the pandemic.
So how can we restore the balance of the body?
- Bring up the Wood Energy (Liver energy)
- Descend the Metal Energy (Lung energy)
- Boost the digestive system
- Moisture the Lung
In classical Chinese Herbal Medicine we rarely use a single herb to treat illnesses. The herbs are grouped together to form a herbal formula under a structure. This structure is based on the flavor of the herbs. For instance the sour taste reinforces the Liver Yin energy and helps the Lung energy to descend. The pungent taste helps Liver Yang energy to ascend. The sweet taste boosts the digestive system.
In the earliest herbal medicine book “Tang Ye Jing Fa” there is a formula called Reinforce Liver Formula. The herbs used are:
Cinnamon twigs (Gui Zhi) – Pungent
Dried Ginger (Gan JIang) – Pungent
Five flavored Seeds (Wu Wei Zi) – Sour
Chinese Dates (Da Zao) – Sweet
This herbal formula adding Radix Ophiopogonis (Mai Men Dong) is a good formula to help balancing the energy in the spring of Gengzi Year.
For people who do not have access to the herbs, you can also form your own tea with the flavors of Pungent/Sour/Sweet. For instance ginger, lemon and honey are traditionally used for colds/flu. It is also a good tea to harmonize the energy in the current pandemic.