A significant concern in Western Medicine is treating viral infections. There are two treatments: vaccines and antiviral medications. Most viruses have no remedy. A few viruses like polio and measles have vaccines to help boost the immune system. Or, a few viral infections have antiviral medications. Antivirals are unique because they change the way our human cells function, not the virus.

Recently, people around the globe starting hearing about how China was using Chinese Medical herbs as critical support in their treatment of COVID-19. Chinese Medicine has a great pharmacy of herbs and herbal formulas that are antiviral, something Western medicine doesn’t have, which makes these medications rare and distinguished.

I’ve always had a hard time understanding the difference between viruses and bacterias and why antibiotics didn’t work on viruses. Long after I joined the medical profession, I understood the difference between viruses and bacterias.

When I was growing up, antibiotics were prescribed for everything. I was one of those babies who, around six months, had some sort of viral infection. The doctor prescribed rounds of penicillin that had no effect and, after a time, seemed to worsen the condition. Ultimately, I was driven 3 hours to a specialist and, since I’m writing this, I recovered.

What was interesting about that experience is it left a lasting change in my chemistry. My body no longer responded to penicillin. It was like the heavy doses of penicillin at such a young age had mutated every bacteria in my tiny frame, making them resistant to penicillin.

For years I tried to explain this resistance to my doctors. And for years, doctors worked to help me understand that I didn’t know what I was talking about. I stopped trying to tell them it was resistance and said I was allergic to penicillin.

About 20 years ago, things changed. The use of antibiotics had created “Super-bugs” like MRSA. These super-bugs were unique because they were bacterial and fungal infections that had evolved to be resistant to multiple antibiotics. I no longer had to say I’m allergic to penicillin. I could say I am resistant to penicillin, and everyone understood.

Bacteria cell structure

Viruses and bacterias are different in an extraordinary way. A bacteria is a unique, self-contained, one cell, living organism. It has everything it needs to survive and grow. The whole machinery of a bacteria cell is encased in a hard cell wall. And this cell looks nothing like a human cell.

The structure of the AIDS virus.

Viruses do not have all the equipment necessary for growth. If you look at the picture of the virus, it only has a small piece of the genetic material. In this instance, it only has the RNA replication instructions encased in the soft protein layer. To create more life, it has to hi-jack the rest of the equipment and does that by invading your human cells and taking over the cell.

Bacteria and viruses have different treatment in Western Medicine. Bacteria most often can be cured with antibiotics. Antibiotics work by addressing the unique structure of the bacteria. They find a foreign invader and change how the foreign cell works.

For viruses, viruses take over our cells. So, the treatment is different. Vaccines are geared towards igniting our immune response to the virus. A few viruses have antivirals that target our human cells after the invasion and change how our human cells function. The antivirals can’t separate the virus from us because the virus has already crawled its way into our cells and is indistinguishable from us. The antivirals can’t destroy the pathogen because that would kill us. Instead, it changes how our cells function to slow the spread and hopefully give our immune system time to catch up.

Education Chart of Biology for Classification of Animals Diagram. Vector illustration

Bottom line – when it comes to viruses in Western Medicine, your immune system is the treatment.

Yet, China has never limited itself to solely Western or non-Western medicine. It is common for hospitals in China to employ both Western-trained and Traditional Chinese Medical practitioners to treat patients with each practitioner treating the aspect most suited to medicine. The combined efforts have not changed with the treatment of COVID-19.

China mandated that Chinese Medicine be on the frontlines when treating this disease. Why is that?

The critical reason is the Chinese herbal pharmacy has antiviral herbs.

Due to these antiviral drugs, the Chinese herbal pharmacy has always been at the forefront of treating influenza. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to flu and the same herbs and herbal formulas used for the severe flu are being used in China as supportive therapy with COVID-19.

These exceptional herbs are compounded into formulas that address symptoms found in the seasonal flu, respiratory infections, and common cold. Here are nine of the herbs with researched efficacy against viruses: Lian Qiao, Da Qing Ye, Ban Lan Gen, Jin Yin Hua, Pu Gong Ying, Tu Fu Ling, Bai Tou Weng, Yu Xing Cao, and Bai Hua She She Cao.

Finally, coming to an understanding of viruses and bacteria, I was able to understand why I could be so effective in treating the seasonal flu. It also brought me a greater understanding of why the Chinese government required Chinese Medicine to be practiced alongside Western Medicine to ensure their patients the best outcomes.

I’ve been treating the flu for about a decade. A lot has happened in that time. From what I see in the clinic, the strains have been getting significantly more virulent. 2013 was the first time I saw what Chinese Medicine called a cold invasion. This year, the really tough influenza we have is a cold invasion, and China has indicated COVID-19 is a cold invasion.

To learn more about what has been happening with the flu over the last decade, check out my blog at best-acupuncture.com and query “flu” or check out my Youtube channel @bestacupuncturellc for flu videos.

Here are some links to the Chinese herb discussion


U.S. experts say traditional Chinese medicine shows promise in treating COVID-19

TCM remedies cure and improve more COVID-19 patients with national promotion