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Can Chinese Medicine Prevent COVID-19?

As coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading worldwide after its outbreak in December 2019, the concern on the prevention of the COVID-19 is growing. Chinese Medicine has been used to prevent epidemic diseases for over 2000 years! It has played an important role in the prevention of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and HINI influenza. A research team from Beijing and the UK reviewed historical records on prevention and treatment of infections in CM classics, clinical evidence of Chinese Medicine on the prevention of SARS and H1N1 influenza, and Chinese Medicine prevention programs issued by health authorities in China.

They found out that the main principles were to supplement Qi to protect from external pathogens, disperse wind and discharge heat, and resolve dampness. The most frequently used herbs included Huang Qi, Gan Cao, Fang Feng, Bai Zhu, Jin Yin Hua, and Lian Qiao.

Huang Qi and Gan Cao supplement Zheng Qi; Fang Feng expels the external pathogens; Bai Zhu resolves damp, Jin Yin Hua and Lian Qiao clear heat toxin.

Based on recent media reports on the successful use of Chinese medicine to prevent and treat COVID-19 and modern application of Chinese Medicine to prevent SARS and HINI influenza, it’s reasonable to say that Chinese medicine (herbal formula) could be an alternative approach for prevention of COVID-19 in the high-risk population.


Luo, H., Tang, Q., Shang, Y. et al. Can Chinese Medicine Be Used for Prevention of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? A Review of Historical Classics, Research Evidence and Current Prevention Programs. Chin. J. Integr. Med. (2020).

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