Traditional medicines used to assist COVID-19 treatment

July 21, 2021 - 10:00

Besides modern medical techniques and equipment, traditional medicines are used to assist COVID-19 treatment in Việt Nam.


Hospitals in Việt Nam use traditional medicines to support the COVID-19 treatment and improve health for people working on the front lines. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Besides modern medical techniques and equipment, traditional medicines are used to assist COVID-19 treatment in Việt Nam.

In the northern province of Bắc Giang – one of two biggest COVID-19 hotspots in Việt Nam between May and early July – the Bắc Giang General Hospital used traditional remedies to increase the efficiency of disease prevention and control, said hospital director Thân Trọng Hưng.

For example, they use powdered lime to sprinkle on the road, alum mixed with lemon to spray in doorways, aisles, floors or places of high contact such as doorknobs and table surfaces. Mild salt water is used for mouthwash seven times a day. Black beans and salt are boiled for daily use.

According to Hưng, lime powder has an antiseptic effect, alum is non-toxic and also has antiseptic effects. 

According to traditional medicine, lime powder or alum mixed with lemon makes virus particles fall to the ground. 

“Normally people get the disease inhaling the virus from the air. When the virus is pushed to the ground, the risk of infection will be reduced," Hưng said.

Saltwater mouth rinse could help with disinfection, create good airflow and prevent cross-infection, he said.

Hưng said that such traditional medicine tips were used at the hospital since last year and promoted this year when major outbreaks occurred in Bắc Giang.

For the last two months, the Bắc Giang General Hospital and other COVID-19 treatment health facilities in the province reported no cross-infections among medical workers, caregivers and patients.

During the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Việt Nam, from the Hà Nội-based National Hospital of Traditional Medicine, thousands of bottles of throat rinse, garlic nasal drops and herbal medicines for inflammation reduction and disinfection were sent to COVID-19 hit areas.

Doctor Trần Thái Hà, head of the hospital’s General Planning Department, said that the products proved to be effective during the SARS outbreak which hit Việt Nam in 2003.

As well as the National Hospital of Traditional Medicine, other traditional medicine hospitals across the country offered remedies to support COVID-19 treatment and improve health for recovered patients as well as health workers working on the front lines.

Head of Traditional Medicine Management Department under the Health Ministry Nguyễn Thế Thịnh said that the department spoke with traditional medicine hospitals to select suitable products to support the treatment of COVID-19 since March last year, as soon as the ministry asked for strengthened COVID-19 prevention and control.

As provinces of Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh reported major outbreaks, at least 15 traditional medicine products were selected and offered to COVID-19-hit areas.

Thịnh said that the department received good feedback from medical workers about the traditional medicine products. 

The products had been used widely for COVID-19 patients and people working on the front lines, he said.

“The department is collecting feedback and data to produce assessments about the effectiveness of traditional medicine in COVID-19 treatment,” he said.

“Developing a treatment regimen for COVID-19 is not simple as not all cases are the same,” Thịnh said, adding that currently, the regimen of using traditional medicine was developed at a supportive level for the treatment.

“Traditional medicine hospitals and businesses have worked together to provide completely free products to pandemic-affected areas. If it is not free, the cost of drugs to treat COVID-19 is also covered by health insurance,” said Thịnh. 

In Asian countries like China, Thailand and Cambodia as well as some European countries, traditional medicines are also used in COVID-19 treatment. 

Early this year, China approved the sale of three traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) drugs through a special approval procedure, offering more options for COVID-19 treatment.

According to China’s National Medical Products Administration, the three medicines, namely Lung Cleansing and Detoxifying granules, Dampness Resolving and Detoxifying granules and Lung Diffusing and Detoxifying granules, all originate from ancient classic TCM prescriptions.

They are based on three TCM preparations that have proven effective in treating COVID-19 patients in central China's Wuhan last year, Xinhua reported in March. —VNS