| Dr. Shi-Hong Loh | April 2020 |
What causes human illnesses? In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), illnesses can be caused by seven major factors:
In Chinese Medicine, there are two principles to follow in treating illnesses:
Keep these two principles in mind.
Now let’s talk about the seasonal illnesses, specifically spring illnesses.
In Chinese medicine, spring illnesses are usually related to the “Wind Evil Qi” invasion, which is equivalent to the common cold, allergies, or flu, in western medicine. These infections represent the invasion of microorganisms, like bacteria, fungus or viruses.
Two factors that will determine the outcome of an infection are the virulence of the invading organism (which determines the severity of the infection) and the host’s resistance (the person’s immune capacity, the defense mechanism). These principles seem to be consistent with the concept in TCM.
In Western Medicine, infections caused by bacteria and fungus usually can be eradicated successfully by appropriate antibiotics, even though some are more difficult than others.
When it comes to a virus (such as the Flu), unfortunately, there is no effective medicine as of yet. That’s why when it comes to the treatment for viral infections, we can only give “supportive treatment”, which means we don’t kill the virus. We can only “support” the person to cope with the situation, by giving IV hydration and medicine for symptom relief, etc. Hoping the person’s immune system is strong enough to overcome the viral infection.
One very important concept which western medicine doesn’t emphasize is: Our body has the capacity to heal itself. The best example is: When a surgeon put stitches to close a wound, it is not the surgeon, nor the stitches that heal the wound, it’s the body that heals itself.
So, how can we enhance our own Immune System and boost our healing capacity?
There are quite a few mind/body practices, such as meditation, Qi Gong, Yoga, and more claimed to enhance the immune system. These practices actually balance and harmonize our mind and body. There is a lot of medical research in Psychoneuroimmunology supporting the relationship between the emotion and immune system/health.
Meditation has been an ancient practice in many cultures, which actually is a basic training in Chinese Daoist Qi Gong practice. Daoist philosophy believes that meditation can bring one to the harmonious state of mind and body, to the state of “Void”, thus self-healing will take place.
Scientific research conducted in China has found that acupuncture and Chinese herbs can enhance your immune system. There are specific acupuncture points that can enhance the immune function of the body, which I’ve applied in my regular practice for decades.
Many people are not familiar or comfortable with Chinese herbs and are frequently misled by exaggerated descriptions about rare animal parts used in Chinese herbal medicine. Reports of side effects from misused Chinese herbs by not-qualified practitioners are part of creating more misunderstanding. Rare animal parts are not used in modern-day practices. Most Chinese herbs today are plant-based.
During the springtime, we enjoy beautiful flowers blooming everywhere; not knowing actually they are herbs used in Chinese Herbal Medicine!
Did you know? Flowers like Honeysuckle and Forsythia are good for common cold and allergies. Even Magnolia buds are specifically effective in treating sinusitis. The interesting point is, these flowers bloom in spring and are used to treat common springtime illnesses!
Disclaimer: Readers are advised not to try these herbs on their own or without consulting experienced professional practitioners. It usually takes more than one kind of herb to treat any medical condition.