Traditional Chinese medicine aids global fight against COVID-19

Photo taken with a mobile phone on April 29, 2022 shows a staff member of the Rose Pharmacy mixing the ingredients of Chinese medicine “Shufeng Jiedu” in Rosenheim, Germany. (Xinhua/Huang Yan)

Special: Battle against the new coronavirus

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), widely introduced and used in the global fight against the pandemic since the onset of COVID-19, has proven to be remarkably effective.

In a report published in late March, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that TCM is beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19, especially in mild to moderate cases.

From Asia to Africa and Europe, an increasing number of doctors and patients have tried TCM and experienced its benefits. Calls have grown to integrate TCM and Western medicine to boost humans’ relentless pursuit of health and fight diseases like COVID-19.

CONTRIBUTION TO GLOBAL ANTIVIRUS EFFORTS

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere in the world, little was known about this virus and panic was not uncommon. Months after the country confirmed its first coronavirus-related death in March 2020, a Chinese medical team has arrived to help with the virus fight.

Among the 12 team members was Sun Shuang, an expert in TCM for respiratory diseases. She traveled to this African country for a 498-day medical assistance mission. As the only TCM doctor on the team, Sun was primarily responsible for building the Zimbabwe-China Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Center and anti-pandemic work.

“I have treated more than 1,400 COVID-19 patients in total online and offline. The overall effective rate of the integrated treatment of traditional Chinese and western medicine has reached more than 92%, which is very convincing for the Ministry of Health (Zimbabwe) and the public,” she told Xinhua.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, incomplete statistics showed that as of April, China has shared TCM diagnosis and treatment guidelines with more than 150 countries and regions, provided TCM products to more than 10 countries. and regions in need and sent TCM experts to help control the epidemic in about 30 countries and regions.

In March last year, China hosted the “Forum on Traditional Chinese Medicine and International Cooperation to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic”, in which political leaders, government officials, representatives of the WHO and experts from 28 countries and regions had in-depth discussions via video. link.

Eddie Sanyama, a resident of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, and his wife caught COVID-19 in January 2021. When symptoms such as headaches, runny nose and nausea set in, they turned to TCM for help.

“It was a five-day course. And then on the second day, I started feeling much better. And on the fourth day, I fully recovered,” Sanyama told Xinhua. “I think it’s very effective and cheap, and I would recommend Zimbabweans to take this drug. I think it’s very effective.”

PROVEN EFFECTIVENESS

When Mohammad Dawood, a graphic designer in Kuwait City, the capital of Kuwait, was infected with the coronavirus, he suffered from symptoms like dry cough and fever.

“A friend of mine suggested Chinese medicine to me and it had a great effect in relieving symptoms and reducing temperature,” he told Xinhua.

Following an expert meeting convened by WHO on the evaluation of the efficacy of TCM in the treatment of COVID-19, a meeting report was published in March, noting: “There are promising data suggesting that TCM is beneficial in reducing the risk of progression of mild disease. moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. »

“For mild to moderate cases, there is encouraging evidence that the TCMs studied, when given as add-on interventions to conventional treatment, can shorten viral clearance time, resolution of clinical symptoms, and duration of treatment. hospital stay versus conventional treatment alone,” the report adds.

In Britain, with healthcare systems based on Western medicine, TCM has also grown in popularity. Chen Zanyu, president of the Federation of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners, said he and his colleagues have become much busier, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

COVID-19 has already caused heart palpitations in Charles Bell, a British patient in south-east London, and it was like 10 or 15 seconds twice a day. “The herbs calm that down and help that out,” he said. “And the herbs, they just made me feel more balanced and better able to function.”

Chen told Xinhua that they have treated thousands of COVID-19 patients in Britain. “In fact, probably none of the herbs can deliberately kill or eliminate the virus itself,” he said. “But the good thing about Chinese approaches is that we try to readjust the body’s immune system or the energy balance or the balance of the five elements (water, wood, fire, earth or metal) or yin and yang .”

It was as if someone wanted to get rid of weeds, they could target the weeds, but also the soil where the weeds grow, Chen explained with an analogy. “So it’s Chinese wisdom that we’ve been putting into practice for thousands of years.”

INTEGRATION OF CHINESE AND WESTERN MEDICINE

To help fight the coronavirus in Germany, ConPhyMed Pharmaceutical GmbH in the country and Anhui Jiren Pharmaceuticals in China jointly introduced Chinese medicine formula Shufeng Jiedu in German pharmacies in 2020, including the Rose Pharmacy in Rosenheim, a city of Bavaria in southeastern Germany.

“Shufeng Jiedu naturally found his place, after we saw very quickly that he had an extremely good effect on acute infection with the high viral load with Corona,” said Nadja Wehner, pharmacist at Pharmacie Rose.

Wehner said she was “honoured to be able to offer TCM in my pharmacy, as many synergistic effects through the herbal substances have a gigantic effect on the body with mild side effects and are a very good complement to conventional medicine” .

Christine Sanftl, a naturopathic practitioner in Rosenheim, said, “Feedback from my patients or anyone else who has taken Shufeng Jiedu, for example, has always been positive.”

“I see the role of TCM as an excellent part of naturopathic methods and as a complement to conventional medicine, both of which are based on rich experience from previous generations,” Sanftl told Xinhua.

At the expert meeting convened by the WHO, according to the report, it recommended that Member States “consider the potential use of TCM for the management of COVID-19 within the context of their health care systems. health and their regulatory frameworks”. From Africa to Europe, the recommendation is being put into practice.

“We are inspired by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China for adopting COVID-19 treatment guidelines that integrate traditional Chinese and conventional medicine. This integration of the two health systems will undoubtedly help the transition from the best volume to value – the best healthcare,” said Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

For Bell, the British patient, he has been familiar with TCM treatment for decades, “so I already have quite a bit of experience with it. And I like it.”