A cure is never too far from the poison
The nature—or Universe—always holds both opposites of anything, and both poison and antidote are usually to be found not far from each other. Therefore, from a transcendental and naturopathic point of view, it makes great sense to look for a cure exactly there where the disease emerged.
Use of TCM against the coronavirus in China
But there’s also a more down-to-earth reason for seeking a remedy against COVID-19 in China. In Asian countries, traditional natural medicinal approaches have been widely used for thousands of years, and their preventive effects are well documented in ancient medical texts (e.g. the Chinese Huangdi’s Internal).[i] [ii] Nowadays, they are often applied parallel to modern medicinal treatments. Although the WHO and the conventional medicineknows no specific medicine or prevention against COVID-19,[iii] TCM is highly valued by the government of China. They effectively use it to contain and eradicate SARS-CoV-2—and it works.[iv]
Compared to chemical drugs, the exact mechanisms of natural herbal medicines are often less understood by modern scientific terms. However, they are based on experience from clinical practice, and the number of studies proving effects of herbs and plants is growing. There is plenty of evidence explaining exact mechanisms of various TCM remedies and recognizing their effectivity. In the past decade, researchers have made a considerable effort to identify TCM herbal formulae that act against coronaviruses and explained many mechanisms underlying their therapeutic effect. [v]
Clinical and scientific evidence
In 2003, TCM was used to prevent and treat severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).[vi] [vii] During the pandemic of H1N1 influenza in 2009, the National Administration of TCM of China issued a prevention program including herbal medicine.[viii] Even during the current outbreak of COVID-19, many provinces in China issued prevention and control programs based on TCM.[ix]
What is important to know is that the new coronavirus is related to the SARS-coronavirus that spread over the world in 2003, and to the MERS-coronavirus of 2013. They show similarities in structure, host attachment and principle of how the virus enters the host cell during infection. Because of these similarities, previous studies of TCM remedies used against SARS and MERS shed light on the naturally occurring compounds with the capacity to inhibit SARS-CoV-2. We can presume that medicines that are effective in treatment of other SARS-viruses may also work against SARS-CoV-2—and many have already proven to do so in clinical practice in China.
There are plenty of natural medicines for self-help treatment and prevention of COVID-19. By using them in a right way, you can lower the chances for the virus to survive and replicate in your system. Research has shown that there’s a clear room for TCM as a complementary therapy for COVID-19 patients, and that it can even moderate side effects of conventional therapeutics.[x]
[i] Wang W Y, Yang J. An overview of the thoughts and methods of epidemic prevention in ancient Chinese
[ii] Chin J Integr MedMedicine. Jilin J Tradit Chin Med (Chin) 2011;31:197-199.8. Joseph N, Lu G. Hygiene and preventive medicine in ancient China. J History Med All Sci 1962;17:429-478.
[iii] World Health Organization. Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation report—22. Available at: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200211-sitrep-22-ncov.pdf?sfvrsn=fb6d49b1_2 (Accessed 2020/2/12).
[iv] Yang Y, Islam MS, Wang J, Li Y, Chen X. Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Patients Infected with 2019-New Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2): A Review and Perspective. Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(10):1708-1717. doi:10.7150/ijbs.45538. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v16p1708.htm
[v] Yang Y, Islam MS, Wang J, Li Y, Chen X. Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Patients Infected with 2019-New Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2): A Review and Perspective. Int J Biol Sci. 2020;16(10):1708–1717. doi:10.7150/ijbs.45538
[vi] Liu J, Manheimer E, Shi Y, Gluud C. Chinese herbal medicine for severe acute respiratory syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Altern Complement Med 2004;10:1041-1051.
[vii] World Health Organization. SARS: clinical trials on treatment using a combination of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine. Geneva, Switzerland, 2004. Available at: https://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/pdf/s6170e/s6170e.pdf (Accessed 2020/2/10).
[viii] National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Prevention program of traditional Chinese medicine for 2009 H1N1 influenza. Chin Comm Doctors (Chin) 2009;25:13.
[ix] LUO Hui, TANG Qiao-ling, SHANG Ya-xi, LIANG Shi-bing, YANG Ming, Nicola Robinson, and LIU Jian-ping. Can Chinese Medicine Be Used for Prevention of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? A Review of Historical Classics, Research Evidence and Current Prevention Programs. Chin J Integr Med (Feb 2020) https://doi. org/10.1007/s11655-020-3192-6
[x] Tong X, Li A, Zhang Z, Duan J, Chen X, Hua C. et al. TCM treatment of infectious atypical pneumonia-a report of 16 cases. J Tradit Chin Med. 2004;24:266–9.