TCM works well on COVID-19 patients but different from Western medicine: Expert

By Yang Wanli | | Updated: 2020-03-16 20:28

Both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine have made combined efforts in treating COVID-19 patients, experts said on Monday.

TCM "works quite well" in patients with mild symptoms and those who have recovered from critical illness, said Du Bin, director of the medical intensive care unit at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office.

However, he said, he noticed there are doubts about TCM's efficacy. "I would say that TCM and Western medicine do not share the same philosophy. They have quite different philosophies and different evaluation systems for efficacy," he said.

Unlike Western medicine's way of evaluating a specific drug's efficacy by separating patients into groups randomly and comparing clinical outcomes after administering drugs of fixed doses, TCM doctors will give different medications to patients "with similar symptoms in the opinion of a Western medicine practitioner", with different doses every day, he said.

It will make the Western medicine's evaluation system invalid, so it is hard for a practitioner of Western medicine to assess the efficacy and safety of TCM from Western medicine's point of view, he added.

"My belief is that we should respect each other. We should know that Western medicine and TCM have their own strength and weakness. We should learn from them, and we encourage our colleagues in the TCM sector to adopt the evaluation or assessment system of Western medicine, to better introduce what they are doing to the rest of the world," Du said.

His comment was echoed by Wu Dong, a gastroenterology doctor at the hospital. Based on his own experiences, Wu said TCM also works well in some severe cases.

"The condition of some patients forced us to stop their nutrition supply, which is essential for them to recover. However, the TCM helped to improve their condition. The laxative effects resulted from the TCM enabled us to continue the nutrition supply," Wu said.

Please feel free to contact us by sending your questions to or commenting on China Daily app. We will ask experts to answer them.

Editor's picks
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349