Be it SARS, bird flu or Influenza A (H1N1), all are caused virtually due to ravages of virus. The “epidemics” mentioned in the traditional Chinese medicine refers to all the epidemic diseases in ancient China caused by various kinds of pathogenic microorganisms which are known in TCM as external infection or exogenous pathogenic factors. When pathogens prevail over the vital Qi in human body, diseases would occur and may develop into epidemics in case of extensive prevalence. However, at each outbreak of epidemics, some master doctors would emerge and finally lead people to overcome the diseases, such as Zhang Zhongjing and Hua Tuo in the widespread plague in the late Han Dynasty, Sun Simiao in the epidemics in the Tang Dynasty, the Four Famous Doctors in the Jin and Yuan Dynasties, and Li Shizhen in the Ming Dynasty and so on.
In traditional Chinese medicine, influenza is referred to as the insidious pathogen warm disease. As recorded in the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, “Those who get cold in winter would fall ill the next spring.” Those medical scientists in ancient China had found out that influenza had an incubation period before outbreak. Therefore, they came up with the idea that those who get cold in winter would fall ill the next spring.
The theories put forwards by TCM are perfectly in accordance with the modern clinical observation. As pointed out by TCM, the influenza occurs basically due to the internal causes with influenza virus simply as its external cause. Different from modern medicine, the TCM theory emphasizes more on human beings themselves than the disease and attaches greater importance to preventive medicine as well as the immunity and self-adjusting functions of human beings, such as the right attitudes towards life, regular living habits, proper cultivation of characters and perfect eating habits. It also lays emphasis on the self-adjustment of human beings in their daily life to keep fit by living in harmony with nature. The equilibrium between Yin and Yang through self-adjustment of human bodies could prevent the invasion of virus. The traditional treatment on influenza takes effect and improves the symptoms faster with short time of treatment, and costs less without any obvious toxic side effect in that it takes the whole into consideration in a flexible way to adjust the overall health status of human organisms, improve their disease-resistant abilities and exorcise exogenous pathogens. The traditional treatment on influenza is a timely diagnosis and treatment not only to get rid of the virus but also cure the virus diseases. The Chinese traditional medicine can not only neutralize the virus, but also help human bodies get rid of poisonous substances generated in metabolism by relieving exterior syndrome through diaphoresis and meanwhile prevent the occurrence of possible complicating diseases, which is reputed as the greatest advantages of the Chinese traditional medicine.