Taiwanese Study: Traditional Chinese Formulas Significantly Reduce COVID-19 Progression

By Weber Lee
Weber Lee
Weber Lee
August 31, 2022 Updated: September 7, 2022

An analysis published in the upcoming issue of Pharmacological Research finds that patients treated with “viral- and host-targeted traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formulae NRICM101 and NRICM102” were at significantly less risk of ICU admission or death, compared with those who were not treated with the herbal formulas.

NRICM101 was developed by Taiwan’s National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine in 2020, becoming the first TCM formulation to be legally sold in more than 50 nations as a COVID-19 treatment.

NRICM102 was subsequently developed based on NRICM101. Added ingredients in NRICM102 support the respiratory and immune systems, with a specific focus on severely ill patients.

The multi-center study by Taiwanese researchers retrieved data from 840 patients in 9 hospitals from May 1 to July 26, 2021. To assess relative risks, the study selected 302 patients without hypoxia—low levels of oxygen—and 246 patients with hypoxia.

Of the 302 patients without hypoxia, 151 received NRICM101 and 151 received normal care only. After a 30-day observation period, 14 of the 151 patients who did not receive NRICM101 progressed to severe disease. However, in the group that received NRICM101, none of the patients progressed to severe disease.

Among the 246 patients with hypoxia, 123 patients received NRICM102, while 123 did not. After the 30-day observation period, it was found that the use of NRICM102 was associated with a 74 percent reduction in the relative risk of death.

Dr. Su Yi-Chang is the director of the National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine. Speaking at the 14th Taipei Traditional Chinese Medicine International Forum, Su said that Chinese medicine is different from Western medicine, in that its formulations are designed to be multi-targeted. Chinese medicine is also less likely to produce drug resistance and there are fewer side effects since dosages are lower than in Western pharmaceuticals.

NRICM101’s composition includes ten herbs: Scutellaria root, Heartleaf Houttuynia, Mongolian Snakegourd fruit, Indigowoad root, Magnolia bark, Peppermint herb, fine leaf Nepeta, Mulberry leaf, Saposhnikovia root, and baked Liquorice root.

Chiou Wen-Fei, deputy director of the National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine, explained that in this formula, Scutellaria root and Heartleaf Houttuynia are the key ingredients to eliminating the COVID-19 virus, and Scutellaria root also has the effect of inhibiting the cytokine storm. However, these two ingredients, if taken individually, are not as effective as the multi-herb formula.