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How To Battle Long COVID with Traditional Medicine

by | Jun 5, 2023 | Acupuncture, Health

How To Battle Long COVID with Traditional Medicine

In 2019, the novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was first detected in Wuhan, China. Over two years later, a new health problem is emerging as a threat to the post-COVID-19 era – long COVID. This is defined as prolonged symptoms after the clearance of acute COVID-19 infection. The battle with the coronavirus doesn’t stop at treatment so the recovery journey may be difficult. Fortunately, Miami Herbs is here to let you know that not all hope is lost because of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and its remarkable results in improving general patient well-being.

Dr. Carolyn Cook is a doctor of Chinese medicine, an acupuncture physician, and a licensed massage therapist. She believes that several herbal medicines can be used as adjuvants in the treatment of early/mild common flu in otherwise healthy adults within the context of COVID-19. This blog aims to discuss how TCM may play a significant role in the management of long COVID.

What is Long COVID?

According to National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (2022), Long COVID occurs when you have a range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems after being infected with COVID-19. Long COVID can be identified at least four weeks after infection despite getting better within a few days to a few weeks. Anyone who got infected by the coronavirus may experience Long COVID.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a test that determines if your symptoms or condition is due to Long COVID. Its symptoms are diverse, and the mechanisms involved remain unclear, but the following are some common signs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022).

  • Physical fatigue
  • Fever
  • Respiratory and heart symptoms (difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain, etc.)
  • Neurological symptoms (difficulty thinking or concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, etc.)
  • Digestive symptoms (diarrhea or stomach pain)
  • Muscle pains
  • Rash
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle

It’s important to remember that not everyone is affected by Long COVID the same way. Your healthcare provider would check your health history and COVID-19 diagnosis, and do a health examination for a diagnosis of Long COVID. That’s why Dr. Cook offers adopted complementary TCM as a means to boost immunity, reducing your symptoms of Long COVID.

How TCM Can Help in Treating Long COVID

Many Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physicians like Dr. Carolyn Cook have diagnosed and treated protracted illnesses following infections by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites. They call it “gu syndrome,” which is an ancient diagnosis for lingering pathogens that cause lasting symptoms. Therefore, treating someone with Long COVID is not far from what they have been treated before.

The healing process begins when the TCM doctor gets a diagnosis by asking, listening to, observing, and palpating the patient. From the initial consultation, they can use acupuncture, to relieve pain and calm the nervous system, or they can use Chinese herbs to strengthen the body and attack the lingering virus. For instance, Hensel et al. (2020) said that extracts prepared with Echinacea species (Asteraceae) have a positive effect on the immune system due to their alkylamide interacting with the cannabinoid receptors.

Here are other Chinese herbs with high clinical evidence in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection according to Dâmaris et. al. (2020). The following herbs may be used for preventative maintenance, but it’s best to consult with Dr. Cook first.

  1. Curcumin – the main constituent in Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae) targets viral infections such as protease inhibition, and cellular signaling pathways modulation, among others.
  2. Althaea officinalis – it reduces the severity of the cough and improves the symptoms of dry cough within 10 min with very good tolerability.
  3. Andrographis – it relieves the symptoms of acute respiratory tract infections and shortens the time of the symptoms including cough, sore throat, and sick leave/time to resolution.
  4. Commiphora molmol – it presented a similar effect to some frequently used drugs, such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, and paracetamol. It was effective in treating headaches, fever-dependent pain, joint pain, muscle aches, lower back pain, or menstrual cramps.
  5. Echinacea – it reduces the duration of flu or cold and a study showed no difference between an Echinacea pallida preparation and oseltamivir.

At Miami Herbs, your COVID recovery doesn’t stop after receiving a negative mark. You have to continuously take care of yourself, boost your immune system, and train your body to be strong again. Dr. Carolyn Cook understands each step of the healing process beginning by checking your pulse and then making a diagnosis. She will prescribe the proper herbs that are specifically designed to aid in your recovery process.

Dr. Cook is more than happy to be by your side as you recover. Her acupuncture, massage sessions, and herbal remedies are meticulously designed just for your wellness needs. Call us for a consultation today at (305) 665-9711.

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