March 14, 2020

The Coronavirus COVID-19 and Chinese Medicine

The Coronavirus (Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19) is a new viral disease strain, originally epidemic in the Chinese Hubei province capital city Wuhan. Worldwide, documented treatment and prevention research is in early stages as alarm about the contagious and serious nature of the illness has saturated the media and public awareness in recent weeks.

However, while widespread knowledge of documented medical research lags behind the health crisis, clinical evidence from China’s efforts with Traditional Chinese Medicine is significant.

At the forefront of the coronavirus epidemic in China, Traditional Chinese Medicine has made significant contributions to the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. At the epidemic’s peak there, the virus infected more than 80,000 people in China with over 3100 fatalities. (Anna Fifield. Washington Post, 3/10/20)

Inundated with the illness, all designated medical institutions in Wuhan were officially mandated to treat COVID-19 infected patients with Chinese herbal medicine beginning 2/3/20. This was in response to significant clinical response observed in treating those infected with COVID-19.

Very briefly, the Chinese healthcare professionals in Wuhan reported the following steps and findings in their early responses to COVID-19:

1/28/20: Dr. Huang Luqi, the chair of the Chinese Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, led the medical team of Guang’anmen Hospital and Beijing Xiyuan Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences to support Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital. Chinese medicine combined with Western medicine, treatment by syndrome differentiation, greatly improved the patients’ breathing issues, fatigue, dry mouth, bitterness, chest tightness, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

Hospital medical staff reported that the severity of patients with COVID-19 “was unexpected”, and “the entire (isolation) ward was more or less quiet as these patients were so weak, that it seemed that they did not even have the energy to moan. Most of the patients treated were urgently, critically, or severely ill.”

1/30/20: Herbal formulas were administered to patients according to the individual’s Traditional Chinese Medicine pattern diagnoses.

2/1/20: “Some patients’ fever has been reduced. There were more patients with low-grade fever… “Furthermore, these patients now had the energy to speak for up to five sentences before the onset of mild wheezing. Also, in general, coughing was significantly less compared to before. Patients’ self-reports of conditions have improved quite a bit. Patients can now sit up.”

2/4/20: “Nearly fifty patients in the ward have clearly improved. The effectiveness of Chinese herbal treatments is being actively observed and witnessed in this clinical setting.” … “For the first time, eight patients treated with traditional Chinese medicine or a combination of traditional Chinese and western medicine were discharged from the hospital.”

(Quoted information from “How COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) is Currently Treated in China with TCM”. Compiled, Translated by John Chen, Pharm.D., Ph.D., OMD., L.Ac., Lori Hsu, MTOM, MS. Edited by Michael Norris, L.Ac., C.H., Debra Nash-Galpern, Donna Chow, L.Ac., DiplOM. Published on February 19, 2020)