Chinese meds prove sensational in viral aftermath

Local | Wallis Wang 29 Oct 2020

Chinese medicine can help Covid-19 patients who have recovered regain their sense of taste and smell and alleviate insomnia, the Hospital Authority said.

The authority said it has recruited 411 recoverees in a Chinese medicine pilot scheme, which offers 10 free consultations at the authority's Chinese medicine clinics.

A 19-year-old patient said he was prescribed herbal drinks, which improved his fatigue problem and helped him regain his sense of smell.

The teenager, who was diagnosed with Covid in July, joined the Chinese medicine treatment program last month. Although he had been discharged from hospital, he was still suffering from fatigue and could not smell anything.

"Although I can't say I have fully recovered, I have my sense of smell back for several hours a day," he said. "I was afraid that I may lose my sense of smell permanently, but now I know I can recover eventually."

"We found that Chinese medicine treatment is better in improving those symptoms," said Bian Zhaoxiang, associate vice-president of Chinese medicine development at the Baptist University.

The authority said it has sent more than 2,800 emails to discharged patients appealing them to participate in the program, but only 411 people joined.

But Rowena Wong Hau-wan, chief of the authority's Chinese Medicine Department, believes the low participation rate does not necessarily mean Hongkongers do not believe in Chinese medicine.

"We did not ask patients why they did not choose the Chinese medicine treatment, so I think it's quite difficult to say people are not choosing Chinese medicine because they don't like it or don't trust it," Wong said.

The treatment program was launched in April and is supported by the Chinese medicine departments at the Baptist University, Chinese University, and the University of Hong Kong. It provides a maximum of 10 free consultations within six months of discharge, with no more than five doses of medicine per visit.

The authority also introduced an observational study last month, aiming to find out whether a patient's physical condition is related to infection chances.

It expects to recruit around 150 Covid-19 recoverees from those who joined the Chinese medicine treatment program earlier, but only 71 have come forward so far.

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