When Covid-19 first hit Wuhan, TCM doctors in China gathered to discuss it.
As soon as China recognized that an epidemic was beginning, many senior doctors who had worked successfully with infectious diseases such as SARS in 2003 began discussing this new virus. What effects was it having on the bodies of infected patients, and how could it be best treated to prevent loss of life?
Academic debates are always frought with disagreement
But one thing stood out about this new virus: everyone agreed it was to be classified as a form of 湿瘟 Shi Wen which translates best as “Damp Plague.”
I’ve been trying to describe this in more western terms for the last few months here in the newsletter and with patients in the clinic; I know that aside from “mucus-heavy” and “don’t eat sugar” this can be somewhat difficult to understand. But we now have such a replete body of evidence on the way that SARS-CoV-2 aka Covid-19 affects the human body, that I can try to give you a more complete picture.
Dampness is more than one microbe.
While Coronaviruses alone have immense affects on the human body on their own, Covid-19 as a damp plague is especially nasty because it is a polymicrobial condition marked by the presence of multiple viruses, fungi and bacterial infections, each working in tandem to colonize the human body and shut down our natural defense mechanisms. Take for example these two articles on mold and fungus as coinfections of Covid-19:
Dampness as Covid-19 thrives on sugar-rich environments
When we talk about Dampness we almost always mean mucus: a complex of proteins and sugars that are naturally present in the body, produced to levels of excess. You need mucous in the right places and amounts to survive, but too much can harbor latent infections and be a sign of excess sugar consumption.
One of the best ways to get Dampness out of your body is to eliminate extra sugars from your diet. Consider a low-carbohydrate diet, a ketogenic diet, or intermittent fasting. These are some of my favorite strategies to use in the clinic, in conjunction with formulas like Aquada and Microgard Plus to balance blood sugar levels and engage lipolysis (the dissolution of excessive sugar intake stored as body fat). There may be some benefit to doing this preventatively as well.
- Having Diabetes increases your risk of severe illness due to Covid-19
- Covid-19 in people with Diabetes: understanding the reasons for worse outcomes
- Hyperglycemia, Hydroxychloroquine, and Covid-19 (I’m not commenting on what’s become a ridiculous and politicized debate over Hydroxycholoroquine use, but this paper sheds some light on its blood-sugar regulating effects…I think TCM and nutrition have better options here though and don’t require you to engage in any kind of supernatural shenanigans)
Dampness can affect many areas of the body, for a long time.
As we’re seeing with Covid-19, it is much more than a respiratory disease. It is causing strokes, skin problems, digestive upset, neurological problems and tremendous postviral syndromes.
As many of you with chronic fatigue will understand, there has been a substantial body of evidence pointing to this as a postviral sequelae of Epstein-Barr virus for many years. While this often gets ignored or downplayed by the conventional medical world, I am hopeful that the body of evidence produced as a result of so many skilled doctors looking at the long-term effects of Covid-19 will validate the stories told by patients of how a simple virus (and whatever critters come along with it) can be detrimental to health. This is one of the major focuses of my clinical practice as TCM has a long and successful history of helping people recover from lingering viral attacks.
So What is there to do!?
The answers for prevention and success are largely simple and based on healthy lifestyle.
Yes, you should wash your hands a lot and wear a mask when out in public. You should reduce or eliminate your intake of refined sugars and any excess carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting *may* be helpful, but some people should not engage in this without medical supervision so please, talk with your medical provider first before beginning any of these things.
Herbs have been safely and successfully used in China to prevent and treat viral damp outbreaks.
To be clear, I am not promoting anything as a cure for Covid! But we are stocked with the most commonly used formulas in China, and we are hearing great reports from our patients working in high-risk scenarios for exposure, or who have contracted a virus and need support to get through it or past the post-viral fatigue etc.
You can begin by visiting our Online Store (If you’re a clinic patient, let us know to make sure you’re receiving your discount off the retail prices listed). Huo Xiang Zheng Qi tea remains our favorite “anti-dampness” lifestyle tea, and as I mentioned above we have many products to restore healthy blood sugar metabolism and mucus levels.
Any questions? Just respond to this email and I’ll be happy to answer.
To your health,