The concept of a ‘lingering pathogen’ has been around for a long time in Chinese Medicine. It applies when you haven’t been able to shake that cold or flu, or you haven’t fully recovered or simply not felt quite right since getting a ‘bug’ a few months ago.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), using the modalities of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, can effectively treat a lingering pathogen pattern. Due to the longstanding or chronic nature of this condition, effective treatment may take weeks or months. It is important to vent the pathogen by using Chinese herbs and acupuncture points that release the exterior while also strengthening the body and stabilizing the immune system. Using energy tonics or strong vitamin prescriptions alone will not deal with expelling the pathogen and can often hold the symptoms deeper in the body, and may actually prolong the recovery time. A lingering pathogen does not necessarily mean there is still bacteria or a virus present in the body, but that some of the symptoms of an infection remain. Glands may become swollen frequently, a constant or recurrent sore throat could be present and digestive issues of pain, bloating or food sensitivities are also common.

If an infection occurs and develops into a lingering pathogen the effects can drain and deplete the body. It is important to treat this pattern appropriately otherwise the pattern can be become entrenched in the body and lead to further health complications. Sometimes these syndromes or health problems develop years after the original infection occurred. An affected person may feel generally well on a daily basis then life presents them with emotional and/or physical challenges, they become run down or depleted and the lingering pathogen pattern flares and symptoms return such as fatigue, swollen glands, diarrhoea, cough or sinusitis. It is not uncommon for chronic fatigue syndrome or irritable bowel syndrome to develop if a person has had a lingering pathogen pattern left untreated for months or years.

If this pattern lingers on, not only are the above mentioned symptoms experienced but repetitive infections are more likely. This is in addition to the lingering pathogen pattern. As the body becomes further depleted its immunity is likely to be compromised, making particular bodily systems vulnerable to other infections and further complicating a person’s health.

By strengthening a person as well as releasing the remnants of the pathogen Traditional Chinese medicine provides a holistic perspective as well as effective treatment for this common scenario of a “lingering pathogen” or “viral shadow syndrome” and can thereby help improve the quality of a person’s life and future health.


Nick Conquest
Gardenvale Traditional Chinese Medicine

Published on November 29, 2013