The herbal products come in granular form and have their origins in “ancient Chinese prescriptions,” the statement said. They were developed from TCM remedies that were used at the start of the pandemic and that have been “reviewed by many academics and experts on the front lines.”
The three products are “lung cleansing and detoxification granules,” “dehydration and detoxification granules” and “lung diffusion and detoxification granules,” the statement said.
The safety and effectiveness of TCM are still debated in China, where it has both followers and skeptics. Although many TCM remedies have been used for hundreds of years, critics argue that there is no verifiable scientific evidence to support their purported benefits.
In recent years, ancient remedies have been repeatedly hailed as a source of national pride by Chinese President Xi Jinping, himself a well-known advocate of TCM.
“Traditional medicine is a treasure of Chinese civilization embodying the wisdom of the nation and its people,” Xi said at a national TCM conference in October 2019. Throughout the epidemic, Xi urged repeatedly doctors to treat patients with a mixture of Chinese and Westerners. medications.
Tens of thousands of Covid-19 patients received herbal remedies alongside traditional antiviral drugs last year, according to the Department of Science and Technology.
“By adjusting the health of the whole body and improving immunity, TCM can help boost patients’ abilities to resist and recover from disease, which is an effective treatment,” said Yu Yanhong. , deputy director of the Chinese National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. , in March 2020.
By the end of March last year, China had largely brought its outbreak under control – and although it has suffered occasional outbreaks in various places, the numbers have remained low and daily life has resumed. The restrictions have been lifted, allowing people to travel across the country and assemble without face masks.
Now, authorities are looking to develop the industry, which was estimated to be worth more than 3 trillion yuan ($ 430 billion) by 2020.
The World Health Organization, which gave TCM its very first approval in 2018, initially advised against using traditional herbal remedies for Covid-19 on its website – although this line has been deleted subsequently because it was “too wide”.
Some in the biomedical community say the WHO has overlooked the toxicity of some herbal medicines and the lack of evidence for their effectiveness, while animal rights advocates say it will further endanger animals such as tiger, pangolin, bear and rhino, whose organs are used in some TCM cures.
Carol Yuan of CNN contributed to this report.