Traditional Chinese medicine in COVID-19

Acta Pharm Sin B. 2021 Nov;11(11):3337-3363. doi: 10.1016/j.apsb.2021.09.008. Epub 2021 Sep 20.


COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread across the globe, posing an enormous threat to public health and safety. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), in combination with Western medicine (WM), has made important and lasting contributions in the battle against COVID-19. In this review, updated clinical effects and potential mechanisms of TCM, presented in newly recognized three distinct phases of the disease, are summarized and discussed. By integrating the available clinical and preclinical evidence, the efficacies and underlying mechanisms of TCM on COVID-19, including the highly recommended three Chinese patent medicines and three Chinese medicine formulas, are described in a panorama. We hope that this comprehensive review not only provides a reference for health care professionals and the public to recognize the significant contributions of TCM for COVID-19, but also serves as an evidence-based in-depth summary and analysis to facilitate understanding the true scientific value of TCM.

Keywords: COVID-19; Clinical evidence; Cytokine storm; Multiple organ dysfunction; Potential mechanism; SARS-CoV-2; Traditional Chinese medicine; Viral infection.

Publication types

  • Review