Doctors Debunk Myths On Traditional Chinese Medicine Curing COVID-19

While wearing masks, social distancing, and regular hand washing are preventative measures we can take against COVID-19, some of us are still wondering what else can be done to further protect ourselves. .

During the first months of the pandemic, I remember relatives texting me over the WhatsApp channel about all kinds of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that could boost the immune system, with some even claiming they could be cured. the virus.

Although I grew up taking TCM regularly to treat minor illnesses, some of these messages still struck me with doubt. Many felt deceived, and if they were believed by the masses of uncles and aunts who received them, it could lead to worse results.

Therefore, I contacted 3 TCM specialists and a nutritionist to clarify the role of TCM in the fight against COVID-19:

TCM Cannot Help With Severe Symptoms Of COVID-19

“Chinese medicine is for treating the human body, not disease,” Dr Serena told Vulcan Post.

She explained that TCM is usually individualized and that they rely on the differentiation of the syndrome to prescribe drugs to their patients, which the other two TCM specialists also agreed.

Dictionary time: Differentiation of the syndrome (Bian zheng) in TCM is the use of observation, listening, questioning and pulse analysis procedures to guide the choice of treatment either by acupuncture and / or herbal TCM formulas (Fu fang).

National Library of Medicine

“For example, some people may have a phlegmic cough, warm cough, cold cough, etc., and we will diagnose the type of cough by differentiating the syndrome,” explained Dr Serena.

Based on research evidence, TCM may help relieve symptoms of COVID-19 by reducing the severity of the disease, shortening the length of time patients stay in hospital, improving recovery, and reducing the rate of illness. mortality, especially in patients who were placed in intensive care, according to Dr. Ren Jye.

However, Dr Serena shared that it’s also important to note that TCM can only treat mild symptoms and not severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing.

“I always ask my patients to check first if the oxygen in their blood has dropped, and if so, I will ask them to go to the hospital immediately,” she explained.

Deal with false claims in Circulatisure

Because there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to TCM, anything that tells you otherwise should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Since TCM is personalized based on each individual and their current state of health, these TCM specialists will first ask you a series of questions before prescribing medication.

“We will ask them to take pictures of their tongue to diagnose their condition such as the color of it and ask questions like how often you cough, the color of your phlegm, your lifestyle, how often you visit. to the toilet, etc. Janet shared.

As for Dr Serena, she added that she will ask how old they are, if they cough more during the day or at night, if they have mucus in their throat when they cough, if they are thirsty often, the color. of their urine, etc.

“We have seen some consumers who buy unregistered products or herbal formulas in boiling raw materials based on fake message chains or through friends and end up with side effects,” Dr Ren Jye told Vulcan Post.

He advised the public not to be misled by false information like this because treatment and prevention are two different things. Medicines intended for prevention should not be taken as treatment, and vice versa.

“Even for the same condition, different people may need different formulas for personalized treatment, and this may also need to be changed in a short period of time. The specific amount of each herbal therapy may also need to be adjusted accordingly, ”he added.

“It is illegal for anyone to claim that TCM herbs can cure COVID-19,” Janet said.

You can take TCM for enhanced immunity, but don’t rely on it 100%

Dr Ren Jye shared that Yu Ping Feng Shan, which is a blend of Chinese herbs containing Astragali Radix (Huangqi), Atractylodis Macrocephalae Rhizoma (Baizhu) and Saposhnikoviae Radix (Fangfeng), can form a protective screen to ward off cold, excessive heat, “wind” and disease.

“Things like the chrysanthemum or luo han guo, which are not too strong of an herb can be eaten to improve your immune system and fight off the “heat” during this hot season, ”Dr. Serena said.

However, she also pointed out that no one should bank on these herbs for COVID-19 prevention and travel to high-risk areas because you are still susceptible to infection.

How does western medicine view the role of TCM in COVID-19?

“For the most part, there is no conflict between Western medicine and evidence-based TCM, as the two practices share a similar belief that good nutrition is essential for achieving optimal health,” Celeste said. at Vulcan Post.

However, she stressed that when finding TCM treatment, it is important that patients turn to certified and qualified TCM providers.

Like TCM, nutritionists also customize and manage a patient’s nutritional intake based on the category of their infection.

“For ventilator patients or critically ill patients, studies have shown that higher protein and calorie intakes are needed. While COVID-19 patients who are in categories 1 and 2 with mild symptoms, it is important that they continue to eat well and healthily during the recovery period, ”she shared.

When it comes to boosting your immune system, Celeste explained that a healthy diet combined with increased intake of antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin D, and certain micro-minerals can help, as studies show. evidence-based.

While TCM can helps strengthen his immune system and relieve symptoms of COVID-19, it is clear that he has no healing ability from the virus.

Before we push those chain messages that recommend ginger or lemon as the cure-all, for example, then we should do our due diligence in researching what they really do for the body and avoid spreading more misinformation.

  • You can read more articles related to COVID-19 than we have written here.

Featured Image Credit: Celeste from Sunway Medical Center (right), Dr Serena from Serena Liow TCM & Acupuncture Center (middle) and Dr Lim Ren Jye from Sunway TCM Center (right)

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Jothi Venkat

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