Will having TCM herbs really help to boost immunity against the virus?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) originated in Wuhan in November 2019. Since then, it has spread globally, affecting 25 countries.

With the confirmed case in Tibet reported on the 29th January, not a single province in China could escape the COVID-19 virus.  The country’s statistics as of 10th February is as follows:

Confirmed:                       40236
Suspected:                       23589
Discharged:                      3397
Death:                               909


Singapore’s index patient was confirmed on the 23rd January 2020.  As of 10th February, Singapore has reported the third-most number of confirmed cases:

Confirmed:                       43
Tested negative:              516
Pending results:              98
Discharged:                      6


There has been progression of the pace of this infectious disease to limited local transmission.  From the evidence observed so far, the virus seems to be highly infectious and has potential to cause a wide spectrum of disease severity and community outbreaks.


As more cases have progressively been reported, we should be convinced that the COVID-19 issue will be with us for a while.  At least, until there is a natural way of stamping out the virus.  The higher temperatures in the summer could be a possibility.

The next few months could be agonisingly long.  Our natural response would hence be, “What can we do about it?”; “How can I take care of myself and the people around me?”; “What kind of herbs or tonics can help strengthen my body immunity levels?”; “What kind of herbs can be used to kill or disable this virus?”.

Knowing I am a Registered TCM Physician, many of my friends approached me with some herbal recipes to comment on their effectiveness and potential side effects, if taken for a prolonged period of time.  Most of these herbal recipes are not harmful.  However, I would advise against long term use of a specific recipe as it may develop the psychology of over-dependency on a particular recipe or herb.

Recently, I came across this recipe from a university classmate.  His family runs a Chinese Medical Hall for many years.  A recipe coming from him and his family would deserve a good study on my part.  What I am doing is to find the relevant TCM herbal attributes of this recipe from the literature that is available to me and how relevant they are to the COVID-19.


Based on evidence shared over the news and social media, most of the confirmed cases experienced breathlessness, dry cough, fever and tiredness.  The selected TCM herbs should be able to protect and support the functions of肺、咽喉、脾、胃等脏腑; and at the same time help with enhancing肝 for its role in regulating the flow of 气 and津液.


The recipe is named: “益气润肺宣肺平喘凉茶”, with the following ingredients:

柴胡10g             黄芪10g              薏米15g              苍术15g
麦冬15g              北沙参15g         生甘草15g         金银花15g
僵蚕10g              蝉衣5g                大黄5g                姜黄10g

Addressing individual ingredients:



Heng Foh Tong Medical Hall would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Edward Ho for the time and effort spent in this commentary contribution.