Traditional Chinese Medicine plays important role in epidemic control

By Wang Junping, Shen Shaotie, People’s Daily
Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), making full participation in the treatment of the novel coronavirus disease(COVID-19), are contributing a major part to the battle against the virus.
TCM has been incorporated into the national diagnosis and treatment plan. Since the onset of the epidemic, it has been applied to treat over 75 percent of the confirmed cases in the epicenter Hubei province, and 87 percent nationwide.
Besides, over 3,100 medical workers from around 630 TCM hospitals have been dispatched to Hubei for assistance.
In the battle against the epidemic, it is of vital significance to find effective medicines, and the case below might explain why.
A woman from Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus pneumonia. After 5 days’ intake of anti-drug medicines, her conditions were still not improved, and the woman even needed a breathing machine to maintain her life.
Thanks to a decoction prescribed by a TCM doctor, she started showing signs of recovery – her fever went down and breath turned stable. “It was TCM that saved my mother’s life,” said Li Jing, the woman’s daughter.
Recently, the decoction prescribed for Li’s mother, one used to detox the lungs, was recommended by China’s National Health Commission and National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (NATCM) in the treatment of the COVID-19. The decoction has become a prioritized medicine in Wuhan.
On Jan. 27, the NATCM launched a scientific research program to observe the clinical efficacy of the decoction in Shanxi, Hebei, Heilongjiang and Shaanxi provinces. By the end of Feb. 14, this herbal remedy had been applied to 804 cases in 10 provinces, and took effects on about 94 percent of them.
As of Feb. 22, TCM treatment has been applied to 87 percent of all the confirmed cases in Beijing, and proved to be effective for 92 percent of them, according to Gao Xiaojun, spokesperson of Beijing Municipal Health Commission. Eighty-two percent of the patients receiving TCM treatment took decoction, the spokesperson introduced.
Gao noted that after taking herbal remedy prescribed by three TCM experts from Beijing’s Dongzhimen Hospital and Beijing Ditan Hospital, a patient in critical conditions had his body temperature brought down to 37.2 the next day. Now the conditions of the patient are stable and have stopped deteriorating.
All pathological changes caused by virus, no matter how complicated they are, can be categorized by TCM principles, namely the balance between yin and yang, relations between exterior and interior, balance between cold and heat, shift between deficiency and sufficiency, and flow of qi and blood, said Wang Xueqian from China Association of Research and Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Guided by the principles and the abundant and valuable experience accumulated in previous generations, TCM doctors are able to recover patient’s body functions, alleviate their symptoms and prevent further deterioration, so as to ensure fast cures, Wang added.
On Feb. 14, the third TCM team officially started working in Dahuashan Module Hospital in Jiangxia district, Wuhan. It is the first TCM Fang Cang makeshift hospital, where all the patients would take TCM decoctions, said Zhang Boli, member of the national research team to prevent and control the outbreak.
The hospital is equipped with a special TCM formula granule machine which is able to customize different prescriptions according to the different conditions of the patients. Besides, traditional Chinese therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, moxibustion, Tai Chi and Baduanjin exercise, a traditional aerobics form, are also applied in the treatment, introduced Zhang, who is also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and President of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
“It is the first time for us to establish TCM wards, designate TCM hospitals and setting up TCM teams for epidemic prevention,” said Zhang. He believes the combination of TCM and western medicine in preventing and curing the novel coronavirus pneumonia is of milestone significance.

On Feb.24, 2020, pharmacy workers of a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) hospital in Duchang county, Jiujiang, east China’s Jiangxi province make sachets for aromatherapy. To combat the novel coronavirus pneumonia, Duchang county gives play to its advantages in TCM, recommending TCM prescriptions, promoting TCM treatment and distributing free sachets to local residents. (Photo by Fu Jianbin, People’s Daily Online)

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