Traditional Chinese medicine

Experts urge more research into TCM use

By WANG XIAOYU | China Daily | Updated: 2020-04-18 07:37
Pharmacists dispense medicines according to Lung Cleansing and Detoxifying Decoction prescriptions at Anhui University of Chinese Medicine on Feb 21, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Traditional medicines found helpful in treating patients during outbreak

Senior traditional Chinese medicine experts have called for strengthening research into using TCM drugs to treat infectious diseases and incorporating TCM into China's disease prevention and control system.

During the domestic novel coronavirus epidemic, the breadth and depth of TCM's involvement in unraveling the virus and treating patients are unprecedented, with several TCM drugs proving to be effective and being widely adopted, Wang Wei, vice-president of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, said during a news conference on Friday.

"TCM has played an irreplaceable role in coping with viral, contagious illnesses," he said.

"Its advantage lies in that TCM doctors can rapidly put forward a treatment plan based on a number of factors, such as the patient's clinical symptoms and other outward signs, the geographical and weather patterns.

"By contrast, Western medicine practitioners may lag behind due to time spent on pathogen analysis, research on animal models and clinical trials."

Historical records show that China has gone through at least 300 epidemics in the past, giving rise to an abundance of experience and writings in combating contagious diseases that are worth exploring, Wang said.

For instance, the creation of Qingfei Paidu soup, an herbal concoction that has shown great efficiency in treating novel coronavirus cases, has integrated prescriptions in age-old TCM tomes with latest observations of infected cases in Wuhan, the hardest-hit city amid the domestic epidemic.

"It shows the strong vitality of TCM and its unique role in treatment," Wang said.

However, he added that investment into in-depth research centering on TCM has been weakened in recent years and is insufficient.

"Stepping up research into TCM's role in curbing outbreaks of infectious diseases in the future will bring great benefits," Wang said.

"We strongly suggest adding research on TCM treatment methods into the list of national key scientific research projects."

As the domestic outbreak has abated, Wang Qi, a professor with the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, also called for summarizing experiences in treating infections with TCM and intensifying research into the mechanism of TCM therapies' impact on patients.

"We also need to explore how to integrate TCM into the national system of contagious disease prevention and control, and establishing relevant online platforms," he said.

"These efforts will contribute to building a disease control system with Chinese characteristics."

Wang also suggested setting up a permanent base designed for handling sudden outbreaks of infectious diseases.

The base will combine TCM with Western medicine to better fend off such illnesses.


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