WORLD How traditional Chinese medicine came to one Danish family's rescue during the COVID-19 epidemic


How traditional Chinese medicine came to one Danish family's rescue during the COVID-19 epidemic


17:47, May 05, 2020


People walk past the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark, March 17, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

"If it hadn't been for Dr. Zhou, I would have called an ambulance to take me to the hospital," Karin Vith Ankerstjerne, general manager of Innovation House China-Denmark, told Xinhua.

Dr. Zhou Pengyan is a Chinese doctor who has lived in Denmark for 30 years.

In early March, Karin, 51, attended her sister's birthday party along with her parents and two daughters.

"We paid attention and didn't even shake hands or hug. But during the dinner, a friend who had just arrived from Madrid disclosed that he had suffered from severe diarrhea accompanied by vomiting," Karin said.

Unexpectedly, about five days later, Karin began to show symptoms of suspected infection with the coronavirus.

Over the next week, Karin felt weaker and weaker day by day with symptoms of fever and breathing difficulties. She was transferred by her family doctor to a coronavirus hospital in Copenhagen.

"The doctor said I have all the symptoms of COVID-19, but as there were not enough test-kits available in Denmark at the time, I could not be tested," Karin said.

"The doctor checked my oxygen level in blood and decided that I was OK without hospitalization and sent me home to continue isolation and observation."

Nevertheless, things didn't get any better.

That's when she decided to give traditional Chinese medicine a try.

"Karin contacted me through a friend's introduction. At that time, Denmark was already knee-deep in the novel coronavirus epidemic and living under some social restrictions," Zhou told Xinhua.

"So I contacted her by phone and prescribed Chinese herbal medicine according to her symptoms," added Zhou.

"Dr. Zhou called me every day to check my reaction after taking the medicine, and adjust the medication according to the changes of my condition. It is impossible for doctors to do this in Denmark," Karin said.

Zhou said that after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe, many people called him, including those with confirmed cases and suspected symptoms.

"In Denmark, I have treated 50 to 60 patients. The earlier the treatment gets started, the better the effect."

Zhou offers video diagnosis to Danish patients outside Copenhagen and sends them Chinese herbal medicine.

He emphasized his treatment as "the specific prescription for one person," adding that the common prescription can only be used for patients without other diseases, but for patients, especially with allergies and asthma, careful considerations are required.

Besides Karin, her 78-year-old mother, husband, and daughters all showed suspected COVID-19 symptoms to some extent, and were also taking Chinese herbal medicine prepared by Zhou on Karin's recommendation.

"A few days ago, Karin told me that her mother had recovered, her daughter had stopped taking the medicine, while her husband had stopped dry coughing after trying Chinese medicine. She is still undergoing treatment, but her physical condition is improving," Zhou said.

"The novel coronavirus is the common enemy of all mankind," Karin wrote on her Facebook in a post sharing her experience with the disease, "and all countries should work together to combat the epidemic." 

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