TCM group offers to help US fight COVID-19
Global Times


Two employees in a TCM store in Dongyang, East China's Zhejiang Province, measure herbal medicine on October 31, 2018. (Photo: VCG)

Doctors and acupuncturists of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the US wrote open letters to the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California governor, offering to participate in fighting COVID-19 with TCM therapies and help to treat patients with mild symptoms in the country.

Willow Liu, president of the American Association of Chinese Herbs (AACH), one of the open letter advocates, told the Global Times that they really hope to participate in fighting COVID-19 officially and make contribution to US pandemic control as the effectiveness of Chinese herbs has been proven in China's virus prevention and control efforts.

In the letters, doctors and acupuncturists expressed their willingness to help COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms and offer herbal formulas for people in home quarantine as the virus continues to spread in the US.

The US has reported more than 580,000 infections as of Tuesday, more than triple the infection number of Spain, which has the second most cases, the Johns Hopkins University's data tracker shows. 

Letters were sent to Robert Redfield, director of the US CDC, California Governor Gavin Newsom and officials from the Department of Health Service in Los Angeles County. 

The TCM won't kill the novel coronavirus but it helps improve a patient's body system, said Zhang Boli, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and one of the top-level expert-consultants of the epidemic fight in Hubei Province.

TCM is regulated by the FDA as dietary supplements in the US, and it is not allowed to openly claim that TCM can treat diseases in the country. But there is evidence that Chinese herbs can relieve the symptoms by helping organs recover, Liu said. 

More than 90 percent of COVID-19 patients in China used TCM during their treatment, including 61,000 in hardest-hit Wuhan, and it prevented the patients from turning critical. But the application of TCM in the US is rare due to a lack of clinical data and research, experts told the Global Times. 

Doctors and acupuncturists familiar with both modern and traditional medicine and rich in clinical practice will be selected to participate in the COVID-19-related treatment, Liu said. 

Herbal ingredients will be carefully examined to guarantee safety and ensure the therapy will not contradict other treatment or treatments that a patient may have received. 

The letters also said Chinese acupuncturists can offer services to patients in need, such as online consultations on herb preparation (capsule, granules, or sachet) and mail herbs to patients.

Using TCM to prevent and treat COVID-19 infections has been popular among Chinese in the US and the Chinese Embassy to the US and several Chinese consulates have sent Lianhua Qingwen capsules, a traditional Chinese remedy, to Chinese students in the US.