Post COVID recovery – TCM approach

Post COVID recovery – TCM approach

Having post COVID recovery issues? TCM can help!

The sudden outbreak of an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus in December 2021 has caught many off-guard, with many who suffered severe respiratory and resulting in deadly causalities numbers before the introduction of vaccines to combat COVID-19. By July 21, we are expected to live with COVID-19 as it has evolved into an endemic disease. Even though Singapore has achieved an 88% full vaccination rate as of 29 August 22[1], many of us have caught this virus in momentum. Many who have recovered eventually have complained of feeling not totally well, a term known as long COVID or post-COVID conditions.

The common symptoms of long COVID or post COVID

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic chesty cough with phlegm
  • Brain fog
  • Cognitive disturbances
  • Headache
  • Vertigo
  • Alternation to olfactory function: Loss of the sense of smell and taste
  • Chest tightness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Muscular and joint pain
  • Changes to bowel movement: Diarrhea/constipation
  • Irregularity in the menstrual cycle

TCM perspective on post COVID recovery

COVID-19 is viewed as Wen Yi (瘟疫) in TCM, a highly contagious infectious disease and epidemic as it spreads directly from person to person rampantly across the globe. TCM treatment for COVID-19 has been widely studied, and it has been proven as an alternative when affected patients do not respond well to general mainstream treatments. Acupuncture, moxibustion and Chinese herbs have been shown to suppress virus entry, replication, and transcription and reduce immune disorders and cytokine storms caused by viral infection.[2,3,4,]

In TCM, we work on optimizing the function of your Lung, Spleen and Kidney to resolve lingering post-COVID symptoms. Our Lung is a delicate organ which governs the upper respiratory system and regulates water passages in the body. The Kidney is the fundamental of life and participates in Qi and water regulation which shares similarities to the Lung. The Spleen provides the source of Qi and blood as nutrients to nourish our body. It also works with the lungs as primary organs for maintaining a healthy immune defence against pathogens.

Therefore, the shortness of breath is caused by a deficiency in Lung and Kidney Qi; fatigue and brain fog are caused by weakened Spleen function; chesty cough with phlegm is caused by poor Lung and Spleen function; lastly, body aches and pain can be caused by poor Qi circulation with stagnation.

TCM Dietary Advice on Post Covid Recovery

Have a clean and anti-inflammatory diet

A clean diet refers to having fresh, whole food as close to their natural form as possible. Refrain from having processed foods, unhealthy fats (trans fats and heavy saturated fats), refined sugar and grains in your diet. A balanced anti-inflammatory diet which includes a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and fluid helps rebuild your muscles, boosts your immune system, and increases your energy levels which is much needed for your recovery.

Have a variety of vegetables

Include green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, and wholegrains and consider incorporating vegan probiotics such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, water kefir, tempeh, miso soup and sourdough bread to reduce inflammation and enhance beneficial gut microbiome for improved digestion and mental health.

Strengthen your gut health with TCM herbs infused meals

Boil soup with Chinese herbs such as Chinese Yam (Huai Shan 淮山), Astragalus Root (Huang Qi 黄芪), Solomon’s seal (Yu Zhu 玉竹), carrots, red dates, and wolfberry to nourish your Lung and Spleen.

TCM Lifestyle management on Post Covid Recovery

  • Embrace the sun, and go for your morning walks between 7am-9am. Engage in light exercises to encourage the release of endorphins for stress relief and positive vibes.
  • Sleep before 11pm to allow your body for optimal rest, repair and recovery.
  • Always learn to live well, laugh often and love those around you.

Aromatherapy – Diffuse essential oil blend

Explore essential oils and use a diffuser to inhale the therapeutic scent[5]. Add 6-8 drops of essential oils into your 200ml diffuser with clean room temperature water and leave it on for 1hr in an enclosed room.

For respiratory health: Consider Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Marjoram (Origanum majorana), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

For immunity support: Consider Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata), Lemon (Citrus limon), Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)

Our TCM Physicians

Principal Physician
Edmund Pang

Senior TCM Physician
Jasmine Xie

TCM Physician
Lau Ee Wen


1. Hannah Ritchie, Edouard Mathieu, Lucas Rodés-Guirao, Cameron Appel, Charlie Giattino, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, Joe Hasell, Bobbie Macdonald, Diana Beltekian and Max Roser (2020) – “Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)”. Published online at Retrieved from: ‘’ [Online Resource]

2. Improvement in Long-COVID Symptoms Using Acupuncture: A Case Study Michael Hollifield, Karen Cocozza, Teresa Calloway, et al.Medical Acupuncture.Jun 1, 2022

3. Zhou, Yue MDa; Yan, Xiao MDa; Ma, Fengjun MDa; Xia, Qingchang MDa; Lu, Yunping MSa; Li, Wenyuan MSb; Song, Shuai MSb; Sun, Yan MSa; Ma, Yuxia MD, PhDa,∗; Ma, Yuning MDa. Effects of moxibustion for COVID-19 convalescence: A protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine: April 09, 2021 – Volume 100 – Issue 14 – p e25389 doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000025389

4. Kang, X., Jin, D., Jiang, L. et al. Efficacy and mechanisms of traditional Chinese medicine for COVID-19: a systematic review. Chin Med 17, 30 (2022).

5. Panikar S, Shoba G, Arun M, Sahayarayan JJ, Usha Raja Nanthini A, Chinnathambi A, Alharbi SA, Nasif O, Kim HJ. Essential oils as an effective alternative for the treatment of COVID-19: Molecular interaction analysis of protease (Mpro) with pharmacokinetics and toxicological properties. J Infect Public Health. 2021 May;14(5):601-610. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2020.12.037. Epub 2021 Feb 10. PMID: 33848890; PMCID: PMC7874929.