Views and experiences of COVID-19 patients on traditional Chinese medicine treatment in South Africa

This article was originally published here

Altern Ther Health Med. May 31, 2022: AT7248. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a public health emergency of international concern. As no effective and lasting treatment was available for COVID-19, patients felt an overwhelming and desperate urge to seek alternative treatments. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is gaining popularity outside of Asian countries, especially in Africa. However, no studies have been conducted on the opinion of African patients on the use of TCM to treat various diseases including COVID-19.

OBJECTIVE: The study aimed to explore the views and experiences of South African patients with TCM for the treatment of COVID-19 infections.

DESIGN: The study adopted a qualitative research approach situated within the interpretivist paradigm. A single case study was used to investigate the views and experiences of ten post-COVID patients on using TCM to treat the disease.

SETTING: The research setting was a TCM practice in the Gauteng Province of South Africa (SA), with two registered TCM practitioners.

PARTICIPANTS: The participants were ten post-COVID patients who had had pneumonia and who used TCM to treat the disease.

RESULTS: TCM was effective and inexpensive for the treatment of COVID-19. Some challenges were revealed for the adoption of TCM in South Africa, including the lack of knowledge of TCM among patients and the inaccessibility of TCM services.

CONCLUSIONS: TCM was beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia. Public awareness of TCM should be encouraged, especially as an alternative treatment for COVID-19 in South Africa. Ongoing professional training is recommended for TCM service providers.