Traditional Chinese Medicine

Herbs & Acupressure Points for Coronavirus

As we learn to navigate this new world where an ever looming virus is present, it’s important to learn which ways we can help ourselves and loved ones,get through a time of illness. Below are herbal remedies and acupressure points for self-care to help aid with symptoms of COVID-19 such as coughing, shortness of breath and fevers.


Below are a few herbs you can pick up online or at your local Co-Op store to help with coronavirus symptoms as well as cold and flu symptoms. It’s important to keep in mind that those who also have an irritated throat should avoid eating hot or spicy foods. Alternatively, those with long-term/chronic coughs should consider limiting the amount of frozen and greasy foods that are consumed.

  1. (H) Nan Sha Shen: Also known as American silvertop root, this root is known to reduce inflammation, vascular permeability and can help with dry cough and phlegm as found in a study conducted in 2010.

(H) Gan Cao: Gan Cao (aka licorice root) acts as an expectorant that helps to accelerate mucous secretion as found by the World Health Organization. It’s also prescribed by Chinese Medicinal Practitioners to help reduce coughing and shortness of breath.

  3. (H) Sang Ju Wan: This formula is best used when a sore throat and cough are just starting to appear. It helps aid in symptoms such as dry cough, headaches, painful chest, fever, sore throat and watery eyes.

(R) Peppermint Tea: This herbal concoction can be made by preparing fresh peppermint (1 TBSP) and fresh reed rhizome (⅓ cup). Clean and cut each ingredient into fine pieces and then steep in boiling water for 10 minutes or until preferred taste is established. Drink this frequently to aid with symptoms of Dry Coughs.

(R) Apricot Tea: Gather 1 TBSP of crushed apricot kernel, 1 pear (cut in half with the core removed) and 2 TBSP of rock sugar. Boil these ingredients for 20 minutes in the same pot. Once done, drink the liquid solution and eat the pear. This recipe helps with Dry Cough.


  1. Heavenly Pillar: This acupressure point is used to relieve stress, overexertion, burnout, sore throats and coughs. It can be found about 1.5 inches below the base of the skull and about one inch on either side of the spine. For best results, apply pressure to both sides of the spine and massage in a circular motion and up to 8 minutes. This can be done 3 times a day until the cough or other symptoms have subsided.
  2. Triple Warmer (TW 15) balances temperature in the body, so its good for fever as well as chills. Hold this point for about three minutes on both sides. Curve your fingers, like the rounded shape of the top of a coat hanger, and place it on the back of your opposite shoulder. Rub the area until you feel the top tip of your shoulder blade. Apply firm pressure just above that, where it feels knotted or tight.

  3. LI-11: This point is used to aid in the relief of fever and other cold symptoms. To apply pressure, bend your arm (hand to shoulder) and place your finger on the end of the crease that is on the outside of the arm. Open your arm while applying pressure to stimulate this point.

Traditional Chinese Medicines & COVID-19

With the novel CoronaVirus making its rounds across the globe and no cure or vaccine at the moment, but there are things we can do to prevent ourselves from catching it. That being said, we have compiled a list of 5 effective Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) that are helpful in fighting COVID-19 should you contract it. 

Hua Shi Bai Du Formula

This formula was developed by the National Traditional Chinese Medicine team at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. 

Hua Shi bai Du is a formula created from 14 different herbal components and is mainly used to detoxify, remove dampness and heat from the body as well as relieve coughing. 

This formula prescription has been used in different stages of treating symptoms from the novel coronavirus pneumonia and has been able to significantly shorten the length of hospital stays for those taking it. 

It is recommended to take 1-2 doses of Hua Shi Bai Du boiled with 100-200 ml of water between two and four times per day and can be taken by either oral or nasal consumption.

Jinhua Qinggan Granule

This was developed in 2009 during the H1N1 influenza pandemic and consists of 12 herbal components. Some of the ingredients include mint, licorice and honeysuckle and is known to clear heat and detoxify the lungs. 

Jinhua Qinggan Granule has a curative effect in treating patients with lesser symptoms, but is also known to improve the rate of recovery of white blood cells and lymphocytes from those affected.

We also recommend honeysuckle because it is known to help with infectious and inflammatory conditions.

Lung Cleansing and Detoxifying Decoction

This remedy has 21 herbal ingredients and the recipe was derived from other TCM recipes such as Shang Han Za Bing Lun which has been around since 220 AD. This recipe is effective in improving symptoms such as fatigue, fever, coughing and even improves lung function which has been shown in CT scans.

Studies using this decoction have shown that it regulates multiple cell signaling pathways to inhibit virus replication and mitigates cytokine storms. This remedy targets the lungs and also protects other organs and can be used as a general recipe to treat patients with mild to severe symptoms previously listed in this section. 

Lianhua Qingwen Capsule/Granule

This extremely common Traditional Chinese Medicine is used to help treat flu and cold symptoms. It has shown curative effects on patients with mild symptoms and best aids in relieving fevers, fatigue and coughing. Made with 13 different herbal components, it can reduce the occurrence of bodily deterioration and help patients become free of thier symptoms. 

Xuebijing Injection

This Traditional Chinese Medicine was developed as an injection that was marketed during the 2003 SARS epidemic. Consisting of 5 herbal extracts, it’s main function is to treat sepsis as well as remove and detoxify blood stasis.

The Xuebijing Injection is also effective in suppressing Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome which is often induced by infection during the treatment of ill patients on a severe or even critical level.

Studies have shown that a combination of this injection coupled with Western Medicine allowed an increase in hospital discharge and slowed (or even reduced) the rate of deterioration. Other studies have also shown that this treatment had certain antiviral effects in vitro to inhibit inflammation factors caused by the novel coronavirus.

Herbs can be a powerful ally in helping to curb symptoms and fight the spread of many illnesses. But they have to be used properly and with professional supervision. Do your best to maintain your health and wellness by balancing adequate sleep, healthy eating, exercise and so on. If you wish to learn how herbs can help achieve and maintain health and well being, please reach out to us or follow us on social



We’re confident that you’ve heard of acupuncture, but do you know where it comes from? 

The study and practice of acupuncture and acupressure have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years and is an ancient healing technique. Acupressure and acupuncture apply the same principles, but acupressure uses pressure points instead of needles to achieve the desired results. 


Today, we’re here to talk about different acupressure points that are used to reduce depression and anxiety through intentional point-placements and massage. Each of these points are ones that can be done on your own without the help of another person.

Acupressure can reduce anxiety and depression by massaging (or using an acupressure stick) the proper locations. Below, several commonly known acupressure points are listed and are known to treat depressive symptoms.


Location: On the crease of your inner wrist towards the ulnar (pinky finger) side. Feel for a hollow place at the base of the pisiform bone.
How does it help?: HT7 is often used to strengthen the heart and nourish qi and blood. This pressure point is also known to settle anxiety/worrisome emotions and also quiets the mind. It helps with sleep disturbances and emotional stress, releases tightness in the chest and even aids with heart palpitations.

Location: Find the middle of your wrist, about two finger widths below the palm. Using your thumb and forefinger, press on this location for 2-3 minutes. Repeat on your other wrist. 

How does it help?: Neiguan can be used to treat depression and anxiety.

Location: At the center of your chest, midway between the nipples/center of your sternum.
How does it help?: This acupressure point is also known as the ‘influential point of Qi’ (or energy) which this point helps regulate. Qi often gets stuck (or stagnant) with excess stress and imbalances in life. This point helps to relax your chest and release your diaphragm.


Location: located between the eyebrows, in an area also known as the third eye.
How does it help?: This pressure point calms the spirit and takes the edge off emotional restlessness and anxiety. It’s also known to promote a deep relaxation and even helps with insomnia! It is also great at relieving headaches and helps to clear nasal congestion or a runny nose.

If you found these home-tips helpful and are ready to take the next step and try acupuncture, call us at (218) 724-3400 to set up an appointment in Duluth MN!

Research Update: Effects of Acupuncture on Quality of Life in Patient with Depression


A study published by the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and conducted by the West China Center of Medical Sciences, found acupuncture treatments can be effective in the treatment of patients suffering from depression.

According to the study, 163 participants were divided into three groups. Each group received differing forms of treatment utilizing acupuncture or acupuncture and other accessory modalities, twice a week, for a total of 12 weeks. The scale of life was used to evaluate the results at four different times, which allowed for the patients quality-of-life to be objectively followed and determined.

There were eight specific items that were evaluated after each acupuncture treatment, thus leading to the overall quality of life score. The items evaluated were physical function, bodily pain, physical role, general physical condition, social function, energy, mental health and emotional function. The study showed the overall quality of life score was improved significantly in all three groups.


Worldwide, nearly 350 million people suffer from depression and nearly 16 million of those are in the United States alone. Statistics show women tend to be more likely to experience depression and young adults between the ages of 18-22 are also at a higher risk. Symptoms of depression include extreme irritability over minor issues, anxiety, restlessness, irrational anger, lack of interest in everyday activities, thoughts of death, insomnia, severe fatigue, weight gain/loss, difficulty concentrating and unexplained aches and pains. When these symptoms occur for more than a few weeks, depression may be the reason behind them.


As shown in this study, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be very effective in treating depression, not only short-term, but also long-term. A TCM practitioner makes a diagnosis based upon each patient, on an individual basis and treats according to the root cause(s)of the illness – treating the “whole” person, holistically, taking into account a person’s physical and emotional well-being. TCM incorporates multiple modalities such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, tuina massage, cupping and exercises like qigong to help restore balance to the body.

The theory behind treating depression using TCM, all revolves around the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is considered the vital energy that flows through the body and animates everything. When Qi is blocked or stagnant, it will affect all aspects of a person’s health. The goal of TCM is to locate and correct the imbalances which exist.


With all of this information on depression and TCM in mind, the results of the study concluded that the overall quality-of-life score was improved significantly in all three groups. The items evaluated were physical function, bodily pain, physical role, general physical condition, social function, energy, mental health and emotional function. 

Acupuncture releases endorphins and activates natural pain killers. By doing so, it improves the flow of Qi throughout the body while eliminating blockages and bringing balance to the mind and body. Endorphins counter the symptoms of depression and allow the person to resume a normal life.

If you are suffering from depression and are looking for a natural way of dealing with it, give us a call, we may be able to help you navigate the waters of depression without the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals, while helping you get back to a happier life. We are conveniently located at 205 W. 2nd Street, Suite 502 in Duluth, MN and are happy to help!

Science Direct Article

Foods to Eat to Help Depression

Many have heard the question posed what came first, the chicken or the egg? But how does that concept apply to depression? It’s well-known that when we’re depressed, our motivation and interest in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet subsides in the same way our energy does. Harvard Medical Students positioned that same question in relation to depression; what came first, depression or a poor diet?

Thankfully, researchers have addressed this question and found that a healthy diet was indeed associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing depressive symptoms. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, patients were treated for two years with antioxidants or placebos. After two years, those who were treated with antioxidants had a significantly lower depression score. 


Eating healthy foods gives you a better chance to reduce your depressive symptoms than eating a diet of processed food that may be high in sugars and fats.

Additionally, it’s known that there are approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the body. These bacteria serve many purposes including the curation of Vitamin K, digesting the food we consume and even regulating our immune system.

This implies that maintaining a healthy gut bacteria and overall diet can improve your mood.


Suggested foods to eat are lots of green leafy plants (including fruits and vegetables), whole unprocessed grains, seeds & nuts, and lean proteins such as yogurt or fish. To break them down even further, take note of the following foods and their purpose (all of which fight depression):

 Inflammation: Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Berries, Mushrooms and Onions.

Mood Boosting & Omega 3: Walnuts, chia seeds, Fish (salmon, tuna and sardines), and even certain brands of egg or yogurt.

Oleic Acid: Avocado, cheese, pasta and meats such as chicken, beef or pork

Antioxidants: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are some of the highest antioxidant foods available to us. Other foods include sweet potato, oranges, and peppers. 

Folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid: Tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and brussels sprouts.


Avoid foods made with added sugars or flours such as baked goods (donuts and pastries), breads, pastas and cereals. One should also minimize the consumption of animal fats, processed meats such as bacon, and even butter.


It’s important to remember that health starts from within. Maintaining a healthy balance of self-care, such as providing yourself with adequate sleep, hydration and physical activity is just as important as eating well.

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Having balanced health helps with everything from cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer and even mental health disorders including- you guessed it – depression!

If this article has inspired you to turn a new leaf and start becoming healthier, be sure to follow our social media pages. We post other content on health, acupuncture, traditional chinese medicine and so on that can help you keep your life on track.

Don’t forget! Schedule an acupuncture appointment with us if you have any questions about depression and how traditional Chinese medicine can help.

Every Day Health Link

Harvard Health Link