Potential Treatment of COVID-19 with Traditional Chinese Medicine: What Herbs Can Help Win the Battle with SARS-CoV-2?

Engineering (Beijing). 2022 Dec;19:139-152. doi: 10.1016/j.eng.2021.08.020. Epub 2021 Oct 28.


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been successfully applied worldwide in the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). However, the pharmacological mechanisms underlying this success remain unclear. Hence, the aim of this review is to combine pharmacological assays based on the theory of TCM in order to elucidate the potential signaling pathways, targets, active compounds, and formulas of herbs that are involved in the TCM treatment of COVID-19, which exhibits combatting viral infections, immune regulation, and amelioration of lung injury and fibrosis. Extensive reports on target screening are elucidated using virtual prediction via docking analysis or network pharmacology based on existing data. The results of these reports indicate that an intricate regulatory mechanism is involved in the pathogenesis of COVID-19. Therefore, more pharmacological research on the natural herbs used in TCM should be conducted in order to determine the association between TCM and COVID-19 and account for the observed therapeutic effects of TCM against COVID-19.

Keywords: Anti-inflammation; Antivirus; COVID-19; Immune regulation; SARS-CoV-2; Traditional Chinese medicine.

Publication types

  • Review