Wednesday 20 April 2022

“Traditional Chinese Medicine is bunkum”. The TL;DR summary of the experts

Every Hong Kong citizen has been given a pandemic-fighting kit, and we’ve got ours. Face masks, RATs and Lianhua  Qingwen, a “proprietary Traditional Chinese Medicine”. At the time I mocked TCM. “It’s ‘medicine’ with the impurities left in”, at best. In short: not Science.

There’s no authoritative data that TCM is effective. Lianhua Qungwen’s claims to have been “tested” were (1) with an exceptionally small sample of just 284 patients  (2) was not double-blind and (3) there were confounding factors: eg, used together with western medicine (!). With other medications, most infamously Ivermectin, such shoddy work has been laughed out of court. But not with Lianhua Qingwen, because  it’s TCM, and TCM IS promoted by our dear leader, Xi Jinping.

Now the SCMP is throwing shade on it too. In a full-page article today, “Shanghai needs food not TCM…”. It quotes skeptics both in China and rest of world. 

A leading neurologist in China has called for authorities to make it “very clear” whether traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Lianhua Qingwen is effective against Covid-19 before giving it precedence over food and other essential deliveries to people in lockdown.
At least 8 million boxes of Lianhua Qingwen capsules have been sent to Shanghai in its battle against the Omicron variant, at the same time as many of its 25 million people are struggling to find fresh vegetables, rice and masks.
“Dispatching of Covid medicines should follow rigorous tests and examinations. No fake and shoddy products should be given to the public,” Rao Yi, president of Capital Medical University in Beijing, said in a post on social media platform WeChat.
“If the efficacy of Lianhua Qingwen has never been strictly proven, the mandatory dispatch would hurt the interests of people in shortage of food and drug necessities,” he posted to his Rao Yi Science account on Sunday.…
Three medical experts led by Jinan University’s Xie Wangshi also expressed dismay at the prioritising of Lianhua Qingwen in supplies to Shanghai, in an article on Sunday at Chinese health platform DXY.…
The distribution of Lianhua Qingwen to healthy people has prompted doctors around the country to warn against taking it unless they are feeling unwell, as it could lead to stomach or kidney dysfunction, according to reports in Shanghai-based state media Jiefang Daily
Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical’s stock price fell 10 per cent on Friday and Monday – hitting the daily floor limit – after Wang Sicong, the son of Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin, raised doubts about the WHO’s support for Lianhua Qingwen.
The US National Institutes of Health has said that while it may help with symptom relief, its overall effectiveness against Covid-19 is inconclusive.…
In November, Singaporean health authorities issued an advisory against misleading claims about its efficacy in treating or preventing the coronavirus. “ There is no scientific evidence from randomised clinical trials to show that any herbal product, including Lianhua Qingwen products, can be used to prevent or treat Covid-19,” the advisory said. 
The treatment, which is claimed to detoxify the lungs and clear heat, lists 13 ingredients, including apricot kernel, rhubarb, honeysuckle and forsythia powder. According to Australian authorities, it also contains ephedra, which can be used to make menthol. 
In May 2020, Swedish customs disallowed the imports of Lianhua Qingwen as the authorities said they tested samples and found they only contained mentholEphedra is also a key ingredient in the drug methamphetamine…
I rest my case. Authorities from around China and the world (Singapore, Sweden, US, Australia) are skeptical about TCM, especially Lianhua Qingwen. Made to a Stone-Age recipe (Han Dynasty). There is no sound scientific reason to be using it. In fact, it could give you tummy and kidney problems. Go figure this one!