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Can These Chinese Herbs Be Effective Treatments for COVID-19?

While many people are blaming the Chinese government for the uncontained spread of the coronavirus, we can also look to China for some possible methods of alleviating its symptoms.

For centuries Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, has used many different herbs to treat infectious disease. Can any of these remedies be effective against COVID-19.

Of course since the outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, practitioners of TCM were some of the first to offer possible treatments.

According to the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (NATCM), the herbal formula Qing Fei Pai Du Tang had a 90% response rate out of a total of 214 clinical cases of COVID-19 related pneumonia. Patients were treated in Shanxi, Hebei, Shanxi, and Heilongjiang Provinces in this clinical investigation.

Qing Fei Pai Du Tang is based on 21 herbs from 4 different herbal formulas, originally found in the Shang Han Lun (Treatise on Cold Damage Diseases). This Han dynasty clinical textbook was compiled by Zhang Zhongjing prior to 220 CE. The herbs in Qing Fei Pai Du Tang are the following:

  • Ma Huang 9g
  • Zhi Gan Cao 6g
  • Bai Zhu 9g
  • Shan Yao 12g
  • Ku Xing Ren 9g
  • Shi Gao 15-30g
  • Gui Zhi 9g
  • Ze Xie 9g
  • Zhu Ling 9g
  • Fu Ling 15g
  • Huo Xiang 9g
  • Chai Hu 16g
  • Huang Qin 6g
  • Jiang Ban Xia 9g
  • Zi Wan 9g
  • Sheng Jiang 9g
  • Kuan Dong Hua 9g
  • She Gan 9g
  • Xi Xin 6g
  • Zhi Shi 6g
  • Chen Pi 6g

Unfortunately, this herbal formula is not currently available in the US because the FDA has severe restrictions on the sale of Ma Huang and has made Xi Xin a banned herb.

Xi Xin is a type of wild ginger that is toxic and must only be used by licensed acupuncturists trained in proper usage. For well over a thousand years, this herb has been safely used in Chinese herbal medicines by highly trained TCM physicians; however, widespread consumer access to this herb presents legal complications and challenges.


What do you think, should these Chinese herbs be made available in the US, if they have proven to be effective in treating COVID-19? Please reply using the comments below.