Traditional Chinese Medicine Against COVID-19 70 scholarly articles selected from Chinese medical journals Huang Luqi (editor-in-chief)
Publisher: China Academic Journals (CD Edition) Electronic Publishing House Co., Ltd Publication date: August 2020 ISBN: 978-7-499-00951-6 e-Book: 497 pages Price: $98
(Reviewed by Dr Friedrich Staebler, EJOM Vol.9 No.6)
This e-book is a collection of 70 scholarly articles on Covid-19 and its treatment with TCM. They are selected from nearly 800 articles that appeared in Chinese medical journals from 29th January 2020 until the book’s publication in August 2020. It is digitally open-access on the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) platform. These articles were selected by an expert panel organised by the China Association of Chinese Medicine. Quoting the editor-in chief, Dr Huang Luqi, the anthology is: ‘Focusing on clinical diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19, it presents a summary of cases of severe and critical patients and patients with complex complications who achieved significant improvement or cure with TCM, supported by scientific methodologies and objective evidence. The original articles were online first on CNKI in Chinese and this book compiles selected papers in Chinese and English, intending to provide effective experience and methods from China’s TCM community for worldwide frontline medical staff and scientific, practical and updated literature for the global TCM medical professionals.’
Part I discusses the History of TCM against Epidemic Disease. Part 2 consists of seven highly scholarly papers on the TCM Syndrome of Covid-19, discussing the syndrome definitions and disease progression according to TCM criteria based on clinical research. This involved clinical characteristics, the patient’s state of qi, Blood, yin and yang prior to the infection, pulse and tongue diagnosis and the four diagnostic methods, as well as epidemiological and statistical data, sophisticated software, complex network analysis, extensive laboratory testing and biomedical testing like lung CT scanning. One paper analysed the similarities and differences of Covid-19 symptoms between northern and southern China, taking into consideration geographical and climatic factors (for example, dampness is prevalent in the Winter in Wuhan). Most papers gave the TCM diagnosis of Covid-19 in the earlier stages as Epidemic Toxin Causing Dampness, Invading the Lung and Obstructing the Middle (Spleen), later going deeper and turning into Heat and Dryness leading to qi, Blood and yin deficiency.
Part 3 presents 37 papers on Clinical Research into the treatment of Covid-19 with traditional Chinese medicine. Many studies concentrated on various formulae and decoctions with Chinese herbal medicine, often comparing their efficacy with control groups who had received conventional therapy, like antivirals (Umifemavir) and oxygen. Many tested formulae for the earlier stages are variations of a newly developed prescription called Qing Fei Pai Du Tang (‘Lung-Clearing Toxin-Removing Decoction’) that contain around 21 herbs from 5 classical formulae, like Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang, She Gan Ma Huang Tang or Xiao Chai Hu Tang, many using the pungent-dispersing and bitter-descending method. For more advanced stages, formulae like the ‘Pneumonia No1 Formula’ or the ‘Pneumonia Recovery Prescription’ were investigated.
Some papers researched the efficacy of rehabilitation formulas like ‘Bank up Earth to Generate Metal’ in the recovery stage. Some investigated patented formulae like the Lianhua Qingwen capsules or the Toujie Quwen granules. A few papers investigated Chinese medicine injections like the XIyanping Injection or the Matrine (Ku Shen) and Sodium Chloride IV Injection.
Most articles showed that the use of Chinese herbal medicine has a significant effect in the treatment of Covid-19, some giving attention to the possibility of side effects. Invariably the studies involved research criteria of a high standard showing how much the sophisticated debate amongst Chinese scholars and clinicians has developed in recent years and how much it matches Western standards.
Part 4 (14 papers on Analysis of Medical Records) and Part 5 (11 papers on Experience Analysis) look at articles that appeared in the very early stages of Covid-19, often describing individual case histories and going into more minute details of the disease progression, syndrome differentiation and treatment process, helping with the understanding of Covid-19 and making it a most useful tool for TCM scholars investigating that disease. They take a closer look at the TCM aetiology and pathology during the various stages, how the Chinese health system first responded to the different symptoms and how they adjusted the treatment (use of decoctions) according to TCM syndrome differentiation, giving an insight into how integrated TCM is able to deal with a novel disease like Covid-19. One paper analysed the pathology and syndrome differentiation in the elderly (patients over 65), another looked at TCM Rehabilitation Treatment for Discharged Patients with COVID-19.
Several articles in Part 5 investigated the minutiae of leading anti-Covid prescriptions like Qing Fei Pai Du and Hua Shi Bai Du Tang. One article investigated the use of moxa on a variety of acupuncture points to deal with the various aspects of Covid-19 (dissipating Cold and Dampness, relieving cough, warming the middle, activating Blood, moving qi, etc).
This e-book covers the early phase of Covid-19 (January 2020 to August 2020). I was very impressed by the detail, sophistication and scholarly quality of the research it presented and I found it a unique opportunity to read high quality Chinese papers on the subject of Covid-19 in English. All articles use the Latin pharmaceutical names of the treatment herbs, like Hb Ephedrae, not the pin yin names, i.e. Ma Huang, which practitioners like myself tend to use. The English can be a little quirky at times, but anyone who regularly reads Chinese scholarly papers gets used to that very quickly, since the meaning is almost always obvious.
The reader of this e-book should not expect a quick answer as to how to treat their patients who suffer from Covid-19. This book is highly useful in my opinion to anyone who does research into Covid-19 in the early stages and I recommend it to anyone who is writing a dissertation on that subject.
(Reviewed by Dr Friedrich Staebler, EJOM Vol.9 No.6)
Friedrich Staebler is a medical doctor who worked as a surgeon in Germany, then came to London to study acupuncture and TCM, followed by postgraduate studies in China and a degree in Chinese herbal medicine. Since 1983 he has been practising as an acupuncturist and integrated medical practitioner in London, using acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, homeopathy, reiki style healing and counselling. The aim is to help patients to help themselves, and to help the body to heal itself.