When pandemics hit the planet logic seems to go out the window. This is understandable. However, people often forget that humans have been through many of these crises before and this Corona virus (2019) is simple the most recent one.
In the last two decades we have also dealt with the Swine Flu (2009) and SARS in (2003). SARS was also a Corona virus. The Spanish Flu (1918-1920) was another health crisis.
And so the list goes on. During my study of Chinese Herbal Medicine I was interested to discover how many times these things have appeared in history. The answer is many, and an awesome amount of time and discipline was dedicated by the ancient masters to focus on herbal formula’s to specifically treat these kinds of conditions.
Any student who has studied classical literature begins with one of the oldest medical texts on the planet. This book of herbal formula is known as ‘Shang Hun Lun’ and consists of hundreds of medical formula to treat a plethora of health conditions.
The author of this book was credited to one of the most famous herbalists in Chinese Medicine history, a man named Zhang Zhong Jing (150 – 219 A.D.) The legend goes that he took up the study of herbs and medicine after a health crisis wiped out 200 members of his family, in very similar conditions to what we are now dealing with in 2020.
The point of this story is we (Chinese Medicine practitioners) have been through these kind of challenges before, and arguable much worse ones than the current health crisis. We need to learn from the previous experiences, and remember the basics.
These books were written several thousand years ago, and people survived using only Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture, as that was all they had.
Uninformed people often argue that Chinese Medicine is ‘not scientific’ and ‘unproven’.
This thinking does not sit well with me, as the previous doctors of Chinese Medicine going back thousands of years developed the treatment by watching people, carefully documenting and recording their symptoms and prescribed herbs accordingly, which were altered when necessary as the patients symptoms changed. What could be more scientific than that?
The other sad fact is that people are panic buying, which while expected is an issue because they are buying the wrong things. Processed foods and shelf stable food is the worst thing you can buy for your immune system.
Health comes from fresh fruits and especially vegetable’s, of which there is no shortage and never will be while we grow so much produce in this country.
You do not need a Master’s degree in herbs to apply herbal medicine to your life. If you want a specific formula then you need to see a qualified and experienced practitioner, but simple culinary herbs can and should be used daily in all meals, especially in times like this.
Here is a simple list of easy to use, antiviral and immune stimulating herbs.
- Pepper (black, white, red, green, any really)
- Lemon Balm
I am deliberately trying to make this short and easy to use. You should be have a minimum of two or more of these herbs daily, which two does not matter, but the more the better.
Above we see pepper, garlic, coriander and fresh ginger. All the food/medicines have anti-viral properties.
Ginger, garlic and pepper all have immune stimulating properties, and are all anti-viral medicines.
I have included organic turmeric powder here, because, while not technically an anti-viral, it is probably the best anti-inflammatory going round, and should also mentioned. For best results make sure you add pepper when you cook with turmeric because it helps the absorption.
Lemon balm and chives grow easily in pots in the garden.
Using culinary herbs is easy, cheap and convenient and provides excellent health benefits year round.
If you require further information please do not hesitate to contact me for an appointment or just for general advice.
Dr. Ben O’Brien (Chinese Medicine & Nutrition)