Given the formidable mortality and morbidity rates of the coronavirus infection, it is understandable that the public depends on the emergency use of unproven drugs. But traditional Chinese herbal drugs to manage COVID-19 should be taken with caution warns a new study. The current pandemic situation is an unprecedented challenge for the Chinese government as well as the general public. Health experts are desperately seeking a proven cure for COVID-19. When conventional treatment using drugs such as ritonavir, lopinavir, chloroquine, and hydroxychloroquine aren't as effective as expected, screening potential active components from traditional Chinese herbal medicine is considered a viable strategy in fighting the deadly novel coronavirus.
As COVID-19 spread across Africa and leaders put their countries in lockdown, Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina last month launched an herbal remedy that he claimed could prevent and cure the disease. The announcement caught medical experts, who have scrambled to find a cure for the disease that has killed more than 252,000 and infected at least 3.6 million people globally, by surprise. Rajoelina, a former DJ who in 2009 at the age of 34 became the continent's youngest national leader, claimed at the launch that the remedy, named Covid-Organics, had already cured two people. "This herbal tea gives results in seven days," Rajoelina, 45, told journalists and diplomats in April. Soldiers have since been going door-to-door in the Indian Ocean island country, which has reported 149 cases and no fatalities, dispensing the concoction.
SHANGHAI – A crowd gathers at a Shanghai hospital, queuing for remedies made with plant mixtures and animal parts including scorpions and freeze-dried millipedes -- medicines that China hopes will find an audience overseas. With a history going back 2,400 years, traditional Chinese medicine is deeply rooted in the country and remains popular despite access to Western pharmaceuticals. Now the authorities are hoping to modernize and export the remedies, but they face major obstacles. Some leave with boxes of pills, others take away plastic sachets filled with herbal extracts. Lin Hongguo, a 76-year-old pensioner, has bought herbal remedies that he will boil to make a tea to treat his "slow beating heart."
Beijing – When police arrested the middle-aged Uighur woman at the height of China's coronavirus outbreak, she was crammed into a cell with dozens of other women in a detention center. There, she said, she was forced to drink a medicine that made her feel weak and nauseous, guards watching as she gulped. She and the others also had to strip naked once a week and cover their faces as guards hosed them and their cells down with disinfectant "like firemen," she said. "It was scalding," recounted the woman by phone from Xinjiang, declining to be named out of fear of retribution. "My hands were ruined, my skin was peeling."