Effects of Chinese medicine for COVID-19 rehabilitation: a multicenter observational study

Linda Li Dan Zhong*, Yi Ping Wong, Chor Yin Leung, Bo Peng, Zhi Xiu Lin, Vivian Chi Woon Wong Taam, Yi Luo, Hai Yong Chen, Chao Dong Chao, Chor Fung Wong, Freddie Shung Chi Tam, Kui Chan, Kwan Yiu Lee, Lai Fun Ho, Alan Yat Lun Wong, Chi Fung Choy, Bacon Fung Leung Ng, Rowena How Wan Wong, Yi Bin Feng, Ching LiongZhao Xiang Bian*, COVID-19 CM Research Working Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of Chinese Medicine (CM) on the health condition of the post-COVID-19 patients, particularly with the CM Syndrome diagnosis and Body Constitutions (BC), as well as related clinical characteristics. Methods: 150 participants who had COVID-19 and discharged from Hong Kong public hospitals were recruited. They were provided with three to six months of CM treatments, during which assessments were made per month and at follow-up on their CM syndromes, BC, lung functions, and other medical conditions. This study was divided into two parts: (1) Retrospective survey: medical history of participants during COVID-19 hospitalization was collected during the baseline visit; (2) Prospective observation and assessments: clinical symptoms, lung functions, and BC status were evaluated in participants receiving CM treatment based on syndrome differentiation and clinical symptoms. Results: The median hospitalization period was 16 days. Symptoms were presented in 145 (96.6%) patients at the day they were diagnosed with COVID-19. Fever, fatigue, and dry cough were the most common symptoms, exhibiting in 59.3% (89 of 150), 55.3% (83 of 150), and 46% (70 of 150) participants, respectively. Among the 150 post-COVID patients, majority (71.3%) were of the two particular post-COVID CM Syndromes (Qi Deficiency of Lung and Spleen, and Qi and Yin Deficiency). Upon CM treatment, there was an observable increase in participants reaching a balanced BC (i.e. healthy body conditions). The increase was observed to be more prominent in those without the particular CM Syndromes compared to those with the CM Syndromes. Main clinical symptoms in participants with the CM Syndromes decreased upon CM treatment. Occurrence of fatigue also dropped after CM treatment though not all accompanied clinical symptoms were resolved fully. Further to the improvement in terms of CM assessments, lung functions of the participants were found to show improvement after treatment. Both the performance in 6MWT and scores in the LFQ improved upon CM treatments (P < 0.05). Conclusion: This study provided evidence for individualized CM treatment on COVID-19 rehabilitation concerning the clinical symptoms improvements, lung functions improvement, and achieving a balanced BC. It is believed that CM may be a key to further promote rehabilitation and resolution of residual symptoms. Long-term large scale follow-up studies on sub-categorising post-COVID patients according to different CM syndromes would be required to further elucidate treatment of persistent symptoms that may be associated with long-COVID.

Original languageEnglish
Article number99
Number of pages25
JournalChinese Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • Body constitutions
  • Chinese Medicine
  • Covid-19
  • Lung function
  • Observational study
  • Quality of Life
  • Rehabilitation
  • Respiratory system


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