8 Herbs to Manage Symptoms of COVID-19
Published | 5 min read
With newer COVID-19 variants continuing the pandemic, more of us are getting infected. Learn about a few of the herbs that can help with symptoms of COVID-19.
At the time of writing, COVID-19 has infected about 3.1 million people in Malaysia. Nearly 38,000 have died from severe illness. Meanwhile, it is notable that 2.8 million have recovered from infection. It implies that the virus’ ability to infect a body and inflict severe illness largely depends on two factors. The first is the immunity of the host and the second is the effective treatment of symptoms. This gives us a lot of hope. In addition to current conventional treatment and vaccination, studies show that there are several herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that can help manage the symptoms of COVID-19.
Pathology in TCM
Pathology in TCM focuses on the specific syndromes of illness caused by pathogens. These can be categorised into
It reflects what has been seen in the past two years, that not everyone exposed to the virus gets infected. Also
Numerous studies are showing that many TCM herbal formulas help manage COVID-19 symptoms. A recent 2021 study published in Frontiers of Pharmacology analysed 58 different clinical trials with 2,773 COVID-19 patients
. It concluded that combining TCM herbs and Western medicine led to better outcomes than clinical treatment alone.
This analytical study also revealed that using TCM herbs in conjunction with conventional Western medicine did not increase the risk of adverse reactions. We look at eight herbs that show promise and efficacy in treating the different symptoms associated with a COVID-19 infection.
TCM Herbs to Help with Symptoms of COVID-19
TCM herbal formulas were created and developed with the concept of treating specific syndromes and imbalances that may have allowed the infection to take root in the first place. Many are efficacious in managing the symptoms of COVID-19.
Honeysuckle (jin yin hua, 金银花) is a principal herb in the well-known formula for colds and flus — Yin Qiao San.
Forsythia fruit (lian qiao, 連翹) is another well-known herb. It is available in many TCM herbal formulas, such as Lian Hua Qing Wen, which has assisted
Liquorice root (gan cao, 甘草) is a sweet TCM herb with a neutral
Chrysanthemum (ju hua, 菊花) is a bright yellow flower which is
Bupleurum root (chai hu, 柴胡) is available in many common cold and flu TCM formulations. These include
Tingli or Lepidium seed (ting li zi, 葶苈子) is a bitter spicy herb with of a cold nature. It is well-known in TCM to drain excess fluids from the
Mulberry root bark
Mulberry root bark (sang bai pi, 桑白皮), another
Astragalus root (huang qi, 黄芪) has shown to not only help with symptoms of COVID-19 but also act as a great immunity building herb. In TCM terminology, it’s a sweet herb, of a slightly warm nature. Its main therapeutic effect lies in tonifying
China uses these TCM herbs extensively as part of herbal formulas to manage the symptoms of COVID-19. There is with promising recent data that support what official TCM texts have indicated. As with all medicine, herbal or otherwise, these herbs will not necessarily work the same way for all COVID-19 cases.
We advise against purchasing these herbs to self-medicate without any consultation, especially for those who are unvaccinated, under the age of 12, elderly, or immunocompromised while suffering from multiple chronic conditions. As always, use TCM herbs and formulas under the supervision and with the prescription of an experienced and certified TCM practitioner.
- Ministry of Health – Malaysia. 2022. COVIDNOW in Malaysia. [online] [Accessed 16 February 2022].
- Phytomedicine. 2021. Prevention and treatment of COVID-19 using Traditional Chinese Medicine: A review. [online] [Accessed 16 February 2022].
- Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B. 2020. Analysis on herbal medicines utilized for treatment of COVID-19. [online] [Accessed 16 February 2022].
- Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2021. Chinese Herbal Medicine Used With or Without Conventional Western Therapy for COVID-19: An Evidence Review of Clinical Studies. [online] [Accessed 16 February 2022].
- Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening. 2021. Analysis of Chinese Herbal Formulae Recommended for COVID-19 in Different Schemes in China: A Data Mining Approach. [online] [Accessed 16 February 2022].