Chinese Medicine, Immunity and COVID 19

Understanding your Immune system from a Chinese Medicine Perspective and how to create a plan for your better health.

Immunity in Chinese Medicine is called Wei Qi or Defensive Qi.

The Organs that are responsible for our defence are the Lungs, Large Intestine and the Skin. These more exterior relating organs, control what comes from our external environment into our physiology. They are also responsible for venting, releasing and moving exterior pathogens out of the body. Once a pathogen gets past our defences and into our body, we start to create phlegm. This phlegm surrounds pathogens or toxins and protects our physiology from attack.

Once formed, the phlegm needs to be moved out of our bodies safely and effectively. This occurs primarily through venting the digestive system, lungs and skin. In cases where these venting systems are inhibited or compromised, sickness and incapacity can occur.

Some of the unofficial, initial descriptions of COVID 19 by Chinese Medical Doctors from Wu Han, are that it is a complex condition characterised by dampness and stuck, dry phlegm. This stuck phlegm is said to inhibit the function of the lungs and the digestive system, thus, blocking the normal transformative and expulsion pathways. Treatments have been focused on moistening dryness, transforming phlegm and empowering the venting Organs.

What does this mean for you?

This means that with some understanding of your Immune System, your health and the disease you can now create a simple strategy, a holistic health management plan to better counter this disease and empower your health.

Okay, let’s start with the Obvious

The Obvious

The first step is to avoid and minimise exposure to exterior pathogens.

  • Follow common sense protocols around exposure
  • Wash your hands often
  • Shower regularly
  • Wash your clothes regularly
  • Clean your house and work environments more
  • Use cleaning products that are safe for your skin and lungs.

The Simple

Keep it simple.

Every day we sleep, eat and are active.Let’s divide physical health management into these three areas;

Stillness, Cleanse and Movement.

Stillness – Yin, Parasympathetic nervous system, rest.

  • Rest
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Try to go to bed before 10:30
  • Meditate
  • Sit still, do nothing.
  • If you don’t like meditating, find an activity you’re happy to do that nourishes your parasympathetic nervous system
  • Art, music, gardening, reading books.
  • Give yourself permission to rest, schedule it in.
  • ‘Down time’

Cleanse – The middle, Digestion, Diet

  • Choose high quality nutritious foods
  • Take good quality supplements and herbs
  • Follow the Eight principles of eating
  • Be flexible and aware of your emotional relationship to food
  • Make eating a joyful experience. It’s not a digestive Organ but the Heart loves food

Movement – Yang, Sympathetic Nervous System, Action

  • Be, Stay Active
  • Exercise with focused, dynamic physical activity
  • Explore your physical skill
  • Move in Nature
  • Express yourself, full use and activation of your sympathetic nervous system empowers your body.
  • Getting enough balanced exercise can keep your physiology stronger, more emotionally balanced and safer from pathogenic attack.
  • Find your favourite form of movement activity make time for it
  • Do it, movement can be fun

The Exterior


  • Breathe Deeply, breathe fresh clean air often
  • Avoid pollution, household or commercial chemicals where possible
  • Open your windows
  • Exercise
  • Eat more white, light coloured foods such as potatoes, parsnips, pears and white meats
  • Increase your intake of pungent herbs and spices like mint, garlic, ginger and cumin
  • Be aware of grief and sadness while focusing on what Inspires you.

The Skin

  • SWEAT!!
  • Exercise helps the skin vent through sweating
  • Scrub, scrubbing moves off dead skin cells
  • Minimise chemical exposure via household, beauty products or creams
  • Saltwater baths

Large Intestine

  • Don’t overeat
  • Avoid sleeping on a full tummy
  • Exercise
  • Keep food simple
  • Take some psyllium husk before bed with warm water
  • Eat some good oils such as hemp seeds
  • Let go of the past and make room for the new.

Moisten and Transform Phlegm 

  • Drink warm liquids such as herbal teas, room temperature or warm water more regularly
  • Minimise complex, heavy, dampening foods such as fried foods, low quality Dairies and processed Sugar
  • Avoid Cold food and Drinks
  • Avoid or minimise commercial packaged foods
  • Take warming Digestive tonic herbs and spices such as ginger, pepper and cinnamon
  • Make Soups a staple part of your diet
  • Follow the Eight principle of eating

Looking after the rest of you

Don’t forget to look after the non-immunity aspects of your health also.

So far, the predominant risk groups of this virus have one or more other contributing diseases already.

So, while you’re empowering your Immune system make sure you tend to your physiological strengths and weaknesses. Overall health is important.

Continue treatments for already present issues if possible.

If not, flex your self-care muscles at home and take the time to learn ways of improving your health from where you stand.

Head Space and Mindset

Staying inspired is important for the emotional aspects of lung health according to Chinese Medicine.  Being adaptive and staying focussed on what inspires you, can empower your mental and emotional health.

Don’t forget:

“A Sh*t Storm

is a fertile time for change,

make sure you sow seeds now

 for the dreams of your future.”


Luke’s Pungent Phlegm Busting Tea Recipe

A tea spoon of honey, half squeezed fresh lemon juice, grated ginger, pinch of cayenne pepper.


Peppermint Tea, Lemon and Ginger and Green Tea are suitable

Soups such as miso with extra ginger, garlic, onion and Shallots can help

All the best to you, your family and that stranger on the street, during these unique times.  Looking after your health is important at any stage of life but more pertinent now.


Luke Paten, Acupuncturist