Controversy over the role of herbs in the battle with corona virus

Health News World

Patients in Zhejiang were given herbal supplements alongside Western medicine and gave positive results, but scientists are still arguing about its role in fighting the virus.

While the corona virus death toll continues to rise, some patients have been cured, wearing masks and flowers discharged from hospitals in China. There were two notable hospital discharge cases on February 7 in Liyang, Hunan Province, a northern neighbor in Hubei Province, the plague.

During the next three days, three others were discharged from the hospital in Henan, Henan Province, bordering southern Hubei, and two others in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province. These are the first patients in cities outside of Hubei to fully recover after corona virus infection. The special thing is that they receive a combination of Western medicine and herbal medicine, the South China Morning Post said.

The rate of herbal use in Wuhan is very low

Each locality has its own cure patients, but in Hubei, the epidemic center, not many patients are treated with herbal medicine. That led the government’s anti-virus task force in Wuhan, sending an emergency notice last week to agencies and hospitals, requiring 24 hours to provide more herbal tea to patients and people. suspected infection.

Herbal tea has been used by patients in Guangdong and Zhejiang for positive results in the treatment of corona virus. Artwork: Medicalnewstoday.

According to Chinese health authorities’ data, less than one-third of patients in Hubei use herbal supplements, compared with nearly 90% in other provinces. The absence of traditional medicine is thought to have negatively affected the outcome, in an attempt to cure the sick, according to the government’s anti-virus task force.

The new directive reflects a growing consensus among Chinese health experts, that herbal medicine can and should play an important role in the fight against corona virus.

As of Feb. 17, the Covid-19 epidemic has killed more than 1,800 people, mostly in Hubei. The large number of patients has put pressure on health workers, along with the lack of documentation, that makes them bypass herbal treatments for patients with mild symptoms.

Meanwhile in Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces, the area with the highest number of people infected is Hubei. The patients here were given herbal water to relieve their symptoms, even before they were tested positive for corona virus.

The death rate in Guangdong province is about 0.1%, compared with 2.6% in Wuhan, the epicenter of the plague. None of the 1,155 patients in Zhejiang died from this deadly virus.

Since February 12, several large factories in Hubei have been operating again to produce herbal drinks for quarantined citizens, according to People Daily . Drinks are boiled and distributed in plastic packaging. A factory in Wuhan can meet the daily needs of about 30,000 patients.

Can herbs kill viruses?

Whether herbs can kill viruses is still a hotly debated topic in the scientific community. The virus is difficult to destroy, because it does not live as an independent organism, like bacteria.

A golden rule of herbal treatment is that a doctor must meet the patient. Among the first medical experts to come to Wuhan after the outbreak, there are several famous traditional medicine doctors in China, including Tong Xiaolin, Huang Luqi and Zhang Boli.

Scientists still debate the anti-virus properties of herbs. Photo: Getty

They spent many days and nights in isolated areas checking patients, such as their physical condition, asking questions and updating herbal formulas for patients according to the stages of disease development.

On Chinese social media, news of traditional medicine practitioners’ efforts were greeted with both compliments and disdain. While some advocate the use of herbs based on their experience, some remain skeptical, if not hostile.

“Why do traditional medicine doctors not leave Western medicine doctors to work,” one user wrote on Weibo.

A doctor in Beijing, said some frontline doctors prefer to use Western medicine, partly because their mechanisms and side effects are simpler and easier to understand. Meanwhile, herbal formulas sometimes contain dozens of ingredients, some of which are unfamiliar with modern science.

Some anti-virus drugs interfere with human genes to wipe out the virus inside. The prevailing opinion of biologists today is that the herb cannot afford it.

Herbs used to help fight SARS

There is a lot of data showing the effectiveness of herbs in fighting viruses. Although the Covid-19 epidemic has not shown any end in China, researchers have obtained some promising results from clinical observations.

Zhang, a member of the government advisory board, said in a survey last week, Team A in Guangzhou treated 50 patients who combined Western medicine with herbs and did not show any symptoms. Serious evidence.

In Shanghai, patients treated for combination take about 7-8 days before becoming negative for the virus, but if taking Western medicine alone, it can take more than 10 days to recover.

The herbal extract formula helped Dr. Tu Youyou successfully prepare the anti-malarial drug. Artwork: CNN.

Since the SARS outbreak in China in 2002-2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) has conducted an investigation into the effects of herbal remedies. In China, where about half of patients are treated with herbal remedies. Doctors report that Eastern-Western combination therapy significantly reduces the severity of symptoms, reduces mortality and side effects.

A study by the University of Hong Kong involving local patients, also proposed herbal treatment as a safe, effective and affordable way to prevent SARS.

A study by Professor Zhang Chenyu, Nanjing University, partially explained the question. In a landmark article published in the scientific journal Cell Research in 2014, Zhang’s research team discovered that honeysuckle can effectively eliminate influenza A virus in mice.

This flower plant contains a number of small molecules, also known as microscopic ribonucleic acids that can bind to the virus strain and slow its replication in the human gene. Before Professor Zhang’s research was published, it was believed that this type of molecule was easily broken down and degraded in the environment.

Professor Zhang’s research concluded that these plant genes were nearly intact after being boiled and tended to concentrate in the lungs of experimental mice. Treatment with this herb doubled the survival rate of the infected mice.

A few days after the full genome of the new strain of corona virus was published, a team of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai created a list of herbs that can inhibit the virus by simulation. on the computer.

Herbal supporters point out that China has experienced more than 320 epidemics since the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago. The traditional Chinese medicine system has accumulated a lot of experience in fighting epidemics.

It is also difficult to say exactly how well the herbs work, because in most cases used in combination with Western medicine, some critically ill patients receive modern techniques such as artificial lungs.

“The effects of many plants are difficult to quantify and when you put them all into a bowl of soup, it’s no longer a science, it’s an art,” an unnamed doctor said.

It should be remembered that Dr. Tu Youyou, who won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine for artemisinin malaria, has saved millions of patients’ lives. Her formula was discovered from compounds in some traditional herbs.

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