Most people recover completely within a few weeks after contracting COVID-19. However, some have noticed lingering symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, dry cough, chest pain, lack of appetite, and insomnia weeks or even months after their recovery.

Learning from millenniums of fighting plague and pandemic throughout the history, Chinese medicine categorizes these “long hauler” conditions as Spleen and Lung injury, leading to Qi and Yin deficiency[1].

In the language of classic Chinese medicine, the treatment principal is to “reinforce the vital Qi and dispel the evil.”

Reinforce the vital Qi entails
  • tonifying the Spleen function
  • nourishing Yin and fluid to the Lung

Dispelling the evil, on the other hand, means to

  • drive out the pathogenic factors in the Lung (boost immunity)
  • clear the phlegm and dampness in the Spleen

It is important to first look at the functions of Lung and Spleen separately in Chinese medicine and how their dysfunction could lead to the lingering post-COVID symptoms.

Lung function

-Dominating qi and controlling respiration system

-Distribute defensive Qi (immune system) and body fluid to warm and moisten the muscle, skin and hair

-Dominating and regulate the water passages-water metabolism

Spleen function

-Digestion, absorption, and transmission of nutrient substance to ensure physical and mental energy -fatigue, lassitude, emaciation, poor appetite

-Keep the blood circulation in the vessels and prevent hemorrhage and bleeding

From the perspective of Chinese medicine, COVID impacts the respiratory system by causing the Lung to overwork fighting against the pathogenic factors (COVID-19 virus) and resulting in Lung Yin and fluid deficiency. And because of tremendous amount of energy focused on the Lung, Spleen’s nourishing function was neglected, causing phlegm and dampness, which lead to fatigue, mental restlessness, depression and anxiety.

Once we can pinpoint the organ in Chinese medicine related to the post-COVID conditions, it makes the usage of herbal formulas more easily tailored and efficient.

We would like to recommend following Chinese herbal patent formulae for “long-hauler” post-COVID conditions. Please consult with a Chinese medicine practitioner before deciding which product to take for your recovery. To learn more about each formula, please click into the name.


Spleen Qi deficiency



Shen Ling Bai Zhu Capsules 參苓白術膠囊

Replenish the spleen and stomach, benefit lung qi; traditionally used for poor appetite and loose stools, cough and lassitude due to deficiency in the spleen and stomach

Xiang Sha Liu Jun Wan 香砂六君丸

Helps replenish qi, invigorate the function of the spleen and regulate the function of the stomach. It is used for diminished function of the spleen with stagnation of qi marked by dyspepsia (indigestion), belching, anorexia, epigastria (heartburn), abdominal distension (bloating), and loose bowels

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan 补中益气丸

Reinforce the function of the spleen and the stomach, and is used to relieve hemorrhoids. It is used for weakness of the spleen and the stomach, collapse of qi in the middle burner

Gui Pi Wan Ultra Concentrated 归脾丸

Used for deficiency syndrome of both the heart and the spleen marked by shortness of breath, cardiac palpitation, insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, dizziness, lassitude, anorexia, excessive menstrual discharge or hemorrhoid. 


Qi & Yin deficiency



Sheng Mai Wan 生脉丸

Supplement qi, promote the production of body fluid, astringe yin-fluid and arrest sweat. Used for chronic cough, dry cough, shortness of breath, palpitation, fatigue, insomnia.

Yang Yin Qing Fei Pills 養陰清肺丸

Replenish Yin and relieve dryness by moistening and clear lung-heat to ease the throat. Used for dry and sore throat, hoarse voice, shortness of breath, insomnia, and asthma. 

Lo Han Kuo Beverage 羅漢果冲剂

Moistens and cools the Lungs, resolves Phlegm and stops cough; Generates body Fluids and relieves thirst; Relieve constipation due to Dryness, especially if Lung Qi is not being disseminated.

Fei Re Hua Tan Tablets 肺熱化痰片

Remove heat from the lung, relieve cough, resolve phlegm and relax bowels. It is traditional used for heat in the lung marked by cough, yellowish sticky phlegm, dryness of the mouth, sore throat, and constipation.

Pinellia Expectorant Pills (Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan) 清氣化痰丸

Remove heat from the lung and eliminate phlegm. Helps relieve heat in the lung marked by cough, copious yellow sticky phlegm and feeling of stuffiness in the chest and upper abdomen.

Juhong Chuanbei Ligao 橘红川貝梨膏

Nourish and smooth lung functions and stop coughing; ideal for dry throat, mouth and cough with little phlegm. It is most effective on coughing, and phlegm symptoms caused by bronchitis and sore throat.

TRT Qiu Li Run Fei Gao 秋梨润肺膏

Moisten the lungs and soothe the throat to help relieve cough, sticky phlegm, dry mouth and sore throat.

Fritillary Cough Formula 蛇胆川贝液

Relieve cough, expel phlegm. It is used for cough due to lung-heat and phlegm.


Boost Wei Qi(defense qi)/immunity



TRT Banlangen Granules (No Sugar) 同仁堂 板蓝根 (無糖) 颗粒

Clear heat, remove toxic heat and reduce heat in blood to soothe the throat.

Jade Shield Pills 玉屏風散

Tonify and reinforce the Qi (vita energy) & essence. Provides relief for Qi-deficiency symptoms including general weakness, fatigue, tiredness of the limbs and shortness of breath; fortifies the exterior resistance against external pathogens when needed (e.g. as a preventive measure for colds).

Ganmao Suxiaoqing 感冒速效清

Clear wind-heat and toxicity. Help coldness, headache, coughing, dry throat, sore throat, swollen cheeks and fatigue limbs

Ganmao Qingre Keli (Sweetened) 感冒清热颗粒

Dispel wind-cold, release the exterior and clear heat. It is used for colds with headache, fever, aversion to cold, general pain, running nose, and cough and dryness of the throat.

Tonsillitis Relief Capsules 扁桃腺炎胶囊

Resolve inflammation associated with upper respiratory tract e.g. tonsillitis, bronchitis and pharyngitis.

Natural Inflammation Relief (Xiao Yan Ling) Tablets 天然消炎靈

Clear heat, to relieve heat toxin and to resolve cough and tonsillitis due to excessive heat toxin of lung and stomach.

Yuen Kut Lams' Kam Wo Char 源吉林甘和茶

Sooth dry throat, clear heat, and refreshes the mouth.



April 25, 2022 — The Herb Depot

Leave a comment