Regrettably, US prejudice against traditional Chinese medicine hurts its COVID-19 treatment: top Chinese academician

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/11 17:01:55

Two employees in a TCM store in Dongyang, East China's Zhejiang Province, measure herbal medicine. File Photo: VCG

China's top academician said Saturday that though traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been proven effective for patients with COVID-19, the US prejudice against Chinese medicine prevents the country from using it in its clinical treatment, which is a "pity." 

In a video conference held on Saturday with overseas Chinese in the US, Zhang Boli, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the key expert-consultant of the epidemic fight in Hubei Province, said that TCM has played an important role in combating the COVID-19 epidemic in China. More than 70,000 patients in China, diagnosed with COVID-19, have used TCM and found it effective, he said. 

"Due to different social systems, we cannot force others to accept the TCM treatment. It's a pity the US cannot adopt TCM for its clinical treatment of the COVID-19 patients, which would have helped those patients with mild symptoms to get better and prevent them from becoming severe patients," Zhang told the Global Times.  

Responding to accusations that the TCM lacks clinical data and research mechanism, Zhang said although there are ample evidence to prove the effectiveness of TCM, some people in the US choose not to believe in the TCM because they are prejudiced against TCM.

In the last 3,000 years in history, during several epidemic outbreaks, TCM has always maintained is presence. During this COVID-19 epidemic, 70,000 confirmed COVID-19 patients in China have been treated with TCM, which is the best evidence for the effectiveness of TCM, Zhang argued, adding that researchers have published more than 10 papers on TCM, proving its function in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

When there is no specific drug and vaccine to cure the COVID-19, is it rational to argue about its research mechanism when the TCM is already tested effective among patients? Zhang asked. 

The TCM is not designed to kill novel coronavirus itself but helps to improve the entire body system, Zhang said. 

More than 90 percent of all coronavirus patients in China used TCM during their treatment process, including 61,000 in Wuhan, the worst-hit city by the epidemic and the TCM treatment prevented these patients from deteriorating to a critical condition, media reports said. 

During his livestreamed conversation with overseas Chinese in the US, Zhang suggested using TCM at an early stage when people show symptoms such as sore throats. 

Using TCM to prevent and treat COVID-19 infection has been popular among Chinese in the US, Zhou Yanyu, head of the American Orange County Chinese Federation in the US, told the Global Times. "It is hard to purchase the TCM now as they are in short supply. People need to line up for at least two hours to get the TCM from a TCM pharmacy." 

Chinese embassies have been giving out "health packages" to Chinese students studying overseas including masks and disinfectants, as well as TCMs. 

China has been sending TCM products, acupuncture needles, and Chinese medicine equipment to other countries and regions in need to aid their battles against the coronavirus.

Chinese medical teams also provided Lianhua Qingwen capsules, a traditional Chinese medicine remedy, to countries like Italy and Iraq to help treat COVID-19 patients. In China, the capsule was used by 70 million people as of middle March.


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