COVID-19: How to prepare yourself, an Oriental Medicine Prospect by Dr. Hao Liu


    Recorded and Edited by Amy Chang L.Ac 

    Speaker: Hao Liu, Hao’s Healing Lounge

    Moderator: David Cao, F50 Ventures; Amit Saha, Research Engineering, School of Medicine Stanford

    About Dr. Hao Liu:… Organizer: Silicon Valley Oriental Medicine Study Group, Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Community

    Host – David: Coronavirus–what is it? How is it related to the flu? The experts in Europe say that 70% of population will get it. What will happen next winter? 

    Host – Admit: How do we differentiate in terms of Chinese medicine? 

    Dr. Liu: Diagnostic testing is more advanced in biomedicine. Biomed wants to know what exactly is invading. Chinese medicine cares more about how the body reacts. The biomed immune system is equivalent to Chinese medicine’s Lung System: that includes the Lung Zang-organ, the skin and pores, the Large Intestine Fu-organ, their corresponding channels, etc. 

    Now we know viruses are not live organisms, but parasites that host themselves in our cells. When there are no vaccines available yet [to prevent people from getting sick in the first place, the question is] how to maintain the body functions while antibodies are being made by our immune system to counter the virus. Chinese medicine has the advantage when it comes to treatment. We basically look at what level or depth the virus has penetrated to and improve the situation at that level. 

    Q: Everyone is working from home here in the Silicon Valley. How do we raise the immune system? 

    Dr. Liu: To raise the immune system we need to improve Lung organ function. The Lung has 2 exit pathways: 1. Lung and skin i.e. biǎo 表 ‘exterior’ takes 20-30% of garbage out through sweating. 

    2. Lung and digestion i.e. intestines take 80-90% out through excretion. The digestion is responsible for both excretion and absorption of nutrients from the food we eat to maintain metabolism for metabolic function of the rest of the body. The liver, kidney and pancreas are in charge of creating antibodies ASAP. 

    Q: Same strategy for high risk groups? 

    Dr. Liu: Same. Wash hands, wear masks, use Lysol or alcohol on surfaces. Keep the air dry; this is actually a time when turning up your forced air heater is actually helpful because the virus prefers cool moist environment. Use a dehumidifier if you have one. 

    Q: In Europe they are recommending self quarantine at home for lighter cases. Do you have any recommendations for home remedies? 

    Dr. Liu: The course of this pandemic appears to be 9 days. The first 5 days are light. Day 1 symptoms include sore throat, no fever, no fatigue, regular appetite/thirst. Here the virus is just affecting the most superficial part of you, the nose and throat. If we can keep it here the disease has no chance to get much deeper. Okay, the first 3 days are like this. 

    After that it progresses to more painful sore throat, body aches, rasping in the voice, still no fever, headache, diarrhea and digestive dysfunction. People with weaker digestive function are more likely to get this disease. We noted this when the virus first started infecting people in Wuhan; all the patients have obvious lower digestive function. 

    America has disadvantages, even though our housing is not so dense (unlike China). We have less rain here in the Bay Area, so the air is more dry. This is a disadvantage for airborne diseases like pneumonia droplets. People eat salad and fruit which dampens the digestion. The dampness goes into organs, clogging up the digestive exit pathway, so you can’t just treat the exterior to resolve the issue when it’s gotten in this far. 

    No digestive signs and symptoms = light case If you do not protect your digestion, it is very hard to control the disease’s progress. 

    aches/digestive symptoms have started* 

    Improve immune system’s communication btw organs and surface, promote sweating

    We’ve changed the dosing a little, and added some modifications. Most notably, we are using a high dose of chai hu to speed up the body’s internal communications to keep the disease in the exterior part of the body and block it from penetrating the interior. Of course, it’s better to consult your herbalist and have a professional monitor you recovery. 

    Q: That’s for people who have already contracted Coronavirus. How about the people who have not gotten it yet? Also [because of panic buying] a lot of herbs are out of stock. Do you have any dietary recommendations for that? 

    Dr. Liu: This is a very good question. I devised a small formula for people to take as a preventative measure. Please make note of the preparation process because it’s a bit more complicated than usual. Herbs shēng jiāng 生薑 fresh ginger 20g yáng cōng 洋蔥 onion 200g chén pí 陳皮 aged tangerine peel 10g sugar or honey to taste 

    Preparation: 1. Decoct 10g ginger and 10g chen pi first for 10-15 minutes. (Ginger, when cooked longer than 5 minutes, supports the digestive system without promoting sweating. Chen pi is great for transforming phlegm and increasing peristalsis.) 2. Add 10g ginger and one large onion for 3-5 minutes. (This harnesses the aromatic volatiles to open the pores.) We say in Chinese, xīn gān huà yáng 「辛甘化陽」”Spicy [and] sweet transform [into] yang.” This is why adding a little sweetness to spicy gives us more energy, i.e. more yang. Use honey for diabetics, it affects the blood sugar less. 

    Q: Self acupressure suggestions? 

    Dr. Liu: Yes. (see demo in video at 22:30) For activating the exterior, rub the Lung and Large Intestine channels [btw LI4-LI6, Lu10-Lu6] gently. You only have to stimulate the skin because the goal is to activate the pores. 

    Because every individual’s constitution and health situation differs, please consult your primary treating physician of Chinese medicine before using herbs. 

    For digestion, put both hands on your abdomen, over the belly button [Ren8]; men with the left hand under, women with the right hand under. Rub in a circle 36 times clockwise, 36 times widdershins. Stomach 36 and Gallbladder 34 are also good points to massage. Moxa is good, especially ginger moxa [where you put the dried mugwort on a coin-thick slice of ginger perforated with toothpick holes, and place the ginger over the point]. Heating the low back area is also good. Really anything that improves the circulation at the surface and the digestive function. 

    Q: Can we come back to the question of how far this virus is going to affect us into the future? 

    Dr. Liu: It won’t disappear. It’s here. But it is, as we have already seen, limited by environment. First of all, we’ve seen that most infections are happening around 40 degrees north latitude. That’s one example of environment. Secondly, here on Earth we are affected by the position of the five planets [closest to us]. This is why we say that often in the year of gēng zǐ 庚子 there are often virulent plagues. This is because some of the microorganisms here on Earth are affected by the magnetic field of the positions of the planets around us; the interference causes mutation and outbreaks to happen. As the planets rotate, at some point the magnetic resonance disappears, and the effects [here on Earth therefore] diminish. My personal opinion is that after the end of March, this virus will weaken, so if we can all make it through this time, even if you get the virus later, it will be a weaker version of itself, and its effects will not be so terrible. But as a virus, it will survive, just differently. Studies are already showing that the virus is changing; we are seeing second and third generations. This is nothing to panic about. Those of you who are parents, your kids look different than you right? So the virus, when it replicates itself, its offspring also looks different from them. This is natural. Kids are supposed to be different from their parents. 

    Q: Okay let’s look at some clarifying questions from the participants! 1. Do we massage both hands? 

    Dr. Liu: Yes. 

    Q: 2. For your tangerine peel, ginger, onion, and honey formula, how much water do we use for the decoction? 

    Dr. Liu: Three cups cold water decocted to 2 cups of beverage. 

    Q: 3. If Coronavirus patient has diarrhea, do we want to stop the diarrhea with medication or help the body detox by allowing it to happen? 

    Dr. Liu: Practitioners of Chinese medicine don’t usually stop diarrhea per se; we improve your Stomach and Intestines’ functionality. With better function, whatever is supposed to be excreted goes out, and the diarrhea stops on its own. In some cases we do see, usually when you actually have been poisoned, where we support the diarrhea to help you detox. But mostly we’re improving the digestive function. Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San is a good example of this; it’s a formula for diarrhea, but it doesn’t concern itself with stopping the diarrhea. It improves your digestive function, and the diarrhea stops on its own. 

    Q: 4. What foods and supplements should we eat? 

    Dr. Liu: I have some opinions on this subject. There’s a lot of experts recommending Vitamins C, D, and E. I disagree. If you read Dr. Wu’s article closely you’ll see it actually recommends Vitamin C and E after the patient has been very severely ill and is now recovering. In other words the patient has to be past the severe stages, have recovered from their illness, before taking Vit. C and E. 

    This is because Vitamin C is a very strong astringent. It’s highly acidic; this will close the pores, tighten the body. So if you are going out, going into hospital for example, and you are in the high risk group, taking a dose of Vitamin C to “seal up” your body makes sense, and does decrease your risk of contracting a virus. However, remember that closing up the pores shuts off one of the Lung’s two exit pathways. Also, right now we are in the season of Spring. Spring belongs to Liver, and the Liver needs to express itself; it needs to release/disperse. [This is the same verb 發 “to express” as in fā rè 發熱 “to express fever/heat” and the same verb sàn 散 “to disperse” as “to scatter”…and the same character sǎn 散 as we use in powdered formulas.] The body’s energy in Spring is supposed to flow from the internal organs outward toward the limbs. Vitamin C interrupts this flow. It[s action] is not aligned with the nature of Spring. So I recommend against Vitamin C. Now Vitamin E is great for nourishing yin. What we mean when we say something nourishes yin, it increases the fluids inside your body. In other words, it creates more dampness. When our insides are more damp, the digestion weakens. Gut motility slows down. In other words it impacts your Lung and digestive tract’s exit pathway. This is great for people who have lost a lot of fluids, for example after sweating profusely in prolonged severe illnesses, but we do not recommend it as an everyday preventative. Vitamin D is okay to take. 

    Q. 5. Preventative measures for pregnant ladies? 

    Dr. Liu: This is very dangerous. Get tested asap. Pregnancy is so individualized, so unique to each individual, I can’t make any generalizations. Go see your doctor about it. 

    Q. 6. After contact with inflected, how to prevent self from getting sick? 

    Dr. Liu: Take 3-5 days Chái Gé Jiě Jī Tāng 柴葛解肌湯 dosed for mild/early stage. It will speed up your progression through 

    Q. 7. Would Xiǎo Chái Hú Tāng 小柴胡湯 work? 

    Dr. Liu: Xiao Chai Hu Tang only opens the communication between the interior and exterior, but it doesn’t really have the power to push things outward… it lacks momentum, and also it doesn’t really benefit the digestion much, so its benefits here will be much less. 

    Important note:

    Because every individual’s constitution and health situation differs, please consult your primary treating physician of Chinese medicine before using herbs. 

    Hao Liu OMD L. Ac

    10201 S De Anza Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014
    Tel: 650-759-4675 Fax: 844-270-1945

    Leave a comment

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.