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Traditional Chinese medicine and Covid-19

New coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 which is formerly named as 2019-nCoV has been provoking an enormous impact on the world such as panic buying, closure of the businesses and restriction on travelling.

Initially, this virus emerged in Wuhan city, Chine in December 2019 and had spread across China and around the world. Although the it had massively hit china, USA and Italy have surpassed China in the number of Coronavirus cases.

There is no specific medications and vaccines for the new virus. However, some researches show that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) may help alleviate the symptoms as a supplement and still a lot of trials are going on.

Signs and Symptoms

Some people get tested positive without any symptoms and some get awful symptoms such as

  • Dry cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Pneumonia
  • Fever
  • Muscle ache
  • Loss of sense (Japanese pro-baseball players are infected and complained about this)
  • Digestive issues (lack of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting) *1

TCM has been utilized to manage and control infectious disease for years and was effective for SARS-CoV which made them think TCM could be helpful for COVID-19. *2

TCM was leveraged when the outbreak of SARS coronavirus occurred in 2002. This life-threatening virus led quite a few people in Beijing to death which was more than 50%. This rate was dramatically decreased to less than 5 % after the TCM treatment was carried out.  

TCM herbal extract namely Sang Ju Yin plus Yu Ping Feng San also can potentially be used as a prevention of SARS-CoV-2. *3

Liquorice root which is quite acquired taste and well-known in Australia is one of the famous herbs in Chinese medicine can potentially cease the replication of COVID-19 as it was effective to inhibit the replication of SARS virus. *5

Liquorice root stick

Introduction of TCM to COVID-19

A research *10 shows that the herbal formula Qing Fei Pai Du Tang was tested to see whether it works or not. It improved 90% of 214 pneumonia cases.  Qing Fei Pai Du Tang was also dispensed to 701 cases over across 10 provinces in China. 130 cases were cured, symptoms of 51 cases were ceases, 268 patients were improved in terms of symptoms and 212 got to have stable symptoms. *11


  • TCM may be effective to prevent and alleviate the symptoms
  • Previous SARS and current COVID-19 are sharing some structures
  • SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 invade ACE2 (Angitension-Converting enzyme 2 ) to enter the body.

*There are quite a few researches and tests carrying out all over the world. What we can do  is to wash hands, gargle, not socialise and keep social distancing.




  1. Lei Pan, Mi Mu, Pengeheng yang, Yu Sun, Runsheng Wang, Junhong Yan, Pibao Li, Baoguang Hu, Jing Wang, Chao Hu, Yuan Jin, Xun Niu, Ronguy Ping, Yingzhen Du, Tianzhi Li, Guogang Xu, Qinyong Hu and Lei Tu Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients with digestive symptoms in Hubei, China: a descriptive, cross-sectional, multicenter study 2020 The American Journal of Gastroenterology 115-3
  2. Yang Yang, Md Sahidul islam, Jin Wang Yuan Li and xin Chen Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Patients Infected with 2019-New Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2): A review and perspective 2020 Int J Biol Sci 16 (10):1708-1717
  3. T.F Lau, Leung PC, Wong ELY, Fong C, Cheng KF, Zhang SC, et al. Using Herbal Medicine as a Means of prevention Experience During the SARS crisis 2005 Am J Chin Med. 33:345-356
  4. Hsu CH, Hwang KC, Chao CL, Chang SG, Ho MS, Chou P.  Can herbal medicine assist against avian flu? Learning from the experience of using supplementary treatment with Chinese medicine on SARS or SARS-like infectious disease in 2003 2006 J Altern Complement Med. 12:505-6
  5. Cinatl J, Morgenstern B, Bauer G, Chandra P, Rabenau H, Doerr HW.  Glycyrrhizin, an active component of liquorice roots, and replication of SARS-associated coronavirus. 2003 The Lancet. 361:2045-6
  6. 49. Chen F, Chan KH, Jiang Y, Kao RY, Lu HT, Fan KW.  et al.  In vitro susceptibility of 10 clinical isolates of SARS coronavirus to selected antiviral compounds.  2004 J Clin Virol. 2004;31:69-75
  7. Kuhn JH, Radoshitzky SR, Li W, Wong SK, Choe H, Farzan M.  The SARS Coronavirus receptor ACE 2 A potential target for antiviral therapy. 2006 Holzenburg A, Bogner E.  New Concepts of Antiviral Therapy. Boston, MA: Springer US: 397-418
  8. Science CAo. Researchers in Shanghai Institute of Drugs and Wuhan Virus Institute discovered that the Chinese patent medicine Shuanghuanglian oral liquid can inhibit the 2019-new coronavirus.; 2020
  9. Huan-Tian Cui, Yu-Ting Li, Li-Ying Guo, Xiang-Guo Liu, Lu-shan Wang, Jian-Wei Jia, Jia-Bao Liao, Jing Miao, Zhai-Yi Zhang, Li Wang, Hong-Wu Wang and Wei-Bo Wen Traditional Chinese medicine for treatment of coronavirus disease 2019: a review 2020 vol5 (2):65-73
  10. Hong-Zhi, D. U., H. O. U. Xiao-Ying, M. I. A. O. Yu-Huan, H. U. A. N. G. Bi-Sheng, and L. I. U. Da-Hui. Traditional Chinese Medicine: an effective treatment for 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) 2020 Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines 18, 3: 1-5.
  11. National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China. Transcript of press conference in 17, February, 2020.

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