How to boost your immunity is a hot topic right now – pandemic and all. And there is a lot of good information out there!
Certain vitamins (Vit C and Vit D) are showing to be both important and effective in fighting off this new illnesses and recovery. And, of course, reducing exposure is one of the most effective options. Even just basic self-care like good sleep and healthy nutrition are very important.
What I haven’t seen yet is how Chinese Medicine can make a difference. Going into the clinic and getting advice recommended specifically for you is always the best. But, as we try to limit the spread of the illness, that is not always possible.
So this article is meant to be a guide to DIY at-home care to help boost your immunity based on the principles of Chinese Medicine.
The first section will go into the theory of Chinese Medicine and the immune system. If you just want to skip to what you can do, then jump down to the section titled “Moxibustion” and read from there.
Immune System Function
Everything in Chinese Medicine is based on thousands of years of observation. If you want to boost your immunity, starting with the immune system and how it works is best.
There are a couple big players in understanding immunity according to Chinese Medicine.
First is Wei Qi (which translates to Defensive Qi), and is responsible for defending your body against attack. The Wei Qi are ruled by the lungs, so it is important to keep lung function healthy and clear.
Second is Pathogenic Factors (PFs), which is a loose category for anything that can negatively impact your body. This can be anything from an allergen to a bacterium or virus.
An analogy for this process looks like this:
Your body is the castle, and the Wei Qi is your army of guards. Your Lung’s are the supply line used to provide nourishment to them. And the PFs are enemy invaders who want to get inside the castle and rule your kingdom.
While you can develop more over time, in the moment the number of guards is finite. So your best bet is to keep your guards as healthy as possible, keep supply lines clear, and avoid any unnecessary skirmishes.
What this means:
Every PF that comes into contact with your body wears away some of the Wei Qi and lowers your defenses. So if you are allergic to something and know you will be exposed, it’s a good time to avoid the allergen, even if the reaction is usually only minor.
To stay healthy, you want to do everything possible to boost your immunity. Along with other medical advice, here are some simple things your can do yourself during times where you are at greater risk (like a pandemic for example).
Also known as “Moxa,” moxibustion is the burning of a herb (mugwart) at different points on the body. Combining the moxa with different acupoints can have certain effects in a way similar to acupuncture. One such function is boosting immunity (here’s a study).
High quality moxa is finely ground into a powder, and often rolled into a stick for ease of use. Once lit, the herb will slowly smolder and the heat will penetrate deep into the body. If you want to learn more about how moxa works, check out this early post.
To boost your immune system with it, you want to burn it over the skin at a point known as “Stomach 36” (ST36). This point is located just next to the shin bone on the outside part of the leg, 3 fingers below the bottom of the patella.
You can burn Moxa at the ST36 point once per day for 10 minutes (5 minutes on each leg) and it can help strengthen your immune system. It should feel nice and warm and spread out over your leg. If it gets too hot, take it away for a few seconds and then resume.
Here’s a link to Moxa Sticks that are good quality and not overly expensive.
There are several formulas that specifically help to boost the immune system. They range from general immune support to specific conditions. A few of my favorites are:
- Gan Mao Ling – prevent colds
- Huang Qi Dong Qing Pian – Esp for when weakend by prior illness
- Yu Ping Feng San – recurrent colds, allergies
Think you want to try these herbs or another formula for yourself? Call Acu Chatt (423-708-5651) and schedule an herbal consult. We provide herbal consults over the phone and online, and can have your formula shipped anywhere in the US.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, illnesses still break through our defenses. In such cases, the best thing you can do is address symptoms early and directly.
My favorite formula to use at the first signs of sickness is Yin Qiao San, but sometimes you don’t have it on hand. (And, in the case of COVID-19, it’s been difficult to keep on the shelves!).
In that case, there are some easy home remedies that can also help.
One is the use of STRONG Chamomile tea. It is best to use like 4-5 tea bags to one cup in order to get the therapeutic effect. You can also try Loose Lead Organic Chamomile Flowers and use about 1 cup in 3 cups of water. Done right, you should feel sleepy and sweat a little to release the exterior and get it out of your system.
Another is Emergen-C. The formula is very similar to Yin Qiao San and has a similar effect. Plus, you get a good dose of vitamin C! You can find Emergen-C easily on Amazon and have it delivered right to you.
Call Your Herbalist
If what you’re fighting isn’t resolved in the first couple of days, the best thing you can do is call your herbalist and discuss how to proceed. If you want to learn a little more about what Chinese Herbal Formulas are good for Colds and Flus and how they are differentiated, check out this post.
And, some illnesses are just stronger than what our systems are prepared for. Depending on how something presents in you (what symptoms you have), different formulas are better to support what’s going on in your body.
I hope you find this article helpful. If you do, please share it around.
My goal is to help people stay healthy, and share the principles of Chinese Medicine so people can live healthier and more enjoyable lives!
Full disclosure, I do get a small commission (10%) of what you order based on product links. I did my best to find the best quality deals when selecting my links, and only offer links I believe in. And every little bit helps.
Cheng, R. Z. (2020). Can early and high intravenous dose of vitamin C prevent and treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Medicine in Drug Discovery, 100028. doi: 10.1016/j.medidd.2020.100028
Grant, W. B., Lahore, H., Mcdonnell, S. L., Baggerly, C. A., French, C. B., Aliano, J. L., & Bhattoa, H. P. (2020). Evidence That Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. MDPI. doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0235.v2
Li, X., Guo, G., Shen, F., Kong, L., Liang, F., & Sun, G. (2014). Moxibustion Activates Macrophage Autophagy and Protects Experimental Mice against Bacterial Infection. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014, 1–6. doi: 10.1155/2014/450623