Traditional Chinese Medicine as the preventive and therapeutic remedy for COVID-19

Curr Med Chem. 2023 Mar 31. doi: 10.2174/0929867330666230331084126. Online ahead of print.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic still has tremendous impacts on the global socio-economy and quality of living. The traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) approach showed encouraging results during previous outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). With limited treatment availability, TCM herbs and formulations could be viable to reduce COVID-19 symptoms and potential sources for discovering novel therapeutic targets. We reviewed 12 TCM herbs and formulations recommended for COVID-19 management by the National Health Commission and National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the People's Republic of China. This article explored the Chinese national authorities' guidelines from 2003 to 2020, the scientific data in public databases for the recommended TCM remedies, and their potential mechanistic actions in COVID-19 management. Several TCM herbs and formulations could potentially benefit COVID-19 management. The recommended TCM oral preparations list are Huoxiang zhengqi, Jinhua Qinggan, Lianhua Qingwen, and Shufeng jiedu; the recommended injection preparations comprise Xiyanping Xuebijing, Re-Du-Ning, Tanreqing, Xingnaojing, Shenfu, Shengmai, and Shenmai. TCM remedies are viable options for symptom alleviation and management of COVID-19. The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic presents an opportunity to find novel therapeutic targets from TCM-active ingredients. Despite the recommendations in Chinese National guidelines, these remedies warrant further assessments in well-designed clinical trials for their efficacies in COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; Traditional Chinese Medicine; coronavirus; herbal formulation; herbal remedy; natural compounds; pneumonia.