18 Mar Master Sha on the role of traditional Chinese medicine in treating COVID-19
Master Sha is a spiritual healer, transformative leader, teacher, bestselling author, and Master of Eastern arts and the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used to treat all kinds of illnesses of the mind and body for more than two thousand years.
Years of training have shown me just how effective TCM is in the holistic treatment of mental and physical distress. Through the Source, which is the energy or Qi that exists throughout the universe, Chinese medicine can bring balance and flow. This helps our immune systems to stay strong and fight off disease.
Traditional Chinese medicine can work with modern drugs
Since the pandemic shattered the world at the end of 2019, scientists and researchers are busy searching for effective treatments for the virus. As we all know by now, COVID-19 is highly transmissible by air and touch.
At the time of writing, statistics show that there are 115 million confirmed cases. Globally there have been 2.56 million deaths. This is a level of infection and death not experienced at this scale since the Spanish influenza pandemic in the early years of the 20th century.
We now have a number of effective vaccines that are being rolled out around the world. But COVID-19 keeps evolving and appearing with new strains. It’s likely that annual vaccinations and boosters will be necessary as the world gradually learns to live with the virus.
And while researchers are exploring all kinds of existing and new modern drugs to find treatments for COVID-19, there are exciting developments within TCM treatments too.
New research project analysing Kun Bu
A recent research project in China is studying a specific ingredient that has long been used in Chinese medicine – the seaweed Ecklonia kurome. In traditional Chinese medicine, it’s called “Kun Bu” and has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal plant. The researchers in this project are looking at a carbohydrate found in the seaweed.
The carbohydrate in question blocks an enzyme that replicates SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. It’s this enzyme and its action that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Led by Ka Ding, from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, the team discovered the seaweed extract completely blocks the enzyme activity. They discovered that an extract from the seaweed, a crude polysaccharide, actually blocks the enzyme called 3C-like protease (3CLpro).
The enzyme is also known as the main protease found in coronaviruses. It is responsible for connecting viral polyproteins into essential proteins that replicate and transcribe the virus. Findings from the team show that this enzyme could become a possible drug for use in protecting against COVID-19 infection. Currently, the paper is undergoing peer review, but it is definitely a positive sign.
How does the seaweed extract block enzymes?
Back in December 2019, COVID-19 first appeared in Wuhan, China. Since then, researchers around the world have been studying the mechanisms of infection for SARS-COVD-2. The aim is to develop and produce antiviral therapies that are effective against the spread of the virus.
Thanks to these scientists, researchers have shown us that the initial step of infection is dependent on the spike protein. This is a surface viral structure that binds angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 ACE 2, which is the host cell receptor, and the co-receptor, heparan sulphate.
Because the traditional Chinese medicine Kun Bu contains a polysaccharide that has a sulphate group at the rear of the molecular chain, it’s feasible that this could transmit significant bioactivity. The researchers believe that if the spike protein can bind to the heparan sulphate, then natural polysaccharides could also attach to the protein. And if this happens, then it could possibly block the infection path of SARS-CoV-2.
Other research projects into TCM
This isn’t the only serious research going on in TCM to help COVID-19 patients. There are endless clinical trials going on around the world to find effective drugs to treat COVID-19, and, of course, several successful vaccines have been developed so far.
Another team of Chinese researchers from Yunnan University of Chinese Medicine and Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine have been researching Yinqio powder in connection with COVID-19. The findings are available to read in Phytotherapy Research.
The team says that Yinqiao powder can be used to treat very early stages of COVID-19. Pharmacological studies show that it can improve lung function, boost immune response to viruses, and soothe common reactions to modern drugs. Its active ingredients are hesperidin and rutin.
The latter has been found to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 by binding to the main protease (3CLpro) in a similar way to the seaweed extract I talked about earlier. The other ingredient, hesperidin, has been found to inhibit various receptors and enzymes that could be effective in treating COVID-19.
However, as with all of these studies so far, there needs to be much more research ending with definitive results before they’re used to treat people suffering from COVID-19.
TCM can help people in many ways
Other TCM ingredients that are being looked into for potential use in treating COVID-19 include Gancao, Bohe, Jie geng, Jing Jie Sui, Lian Qiaoio, and Jinyinhua. So far, a number of these have been confirmed as useful for making people with COVID-19 feel better.
TCM has obvious and provable benefits for people, whatever their current states of health. It’s not just useful in treating symptoms of illnesses, but also in helping to prevent illnesses in the first place.
Patients turn to traditional Chinese medicine for all kinds of reasons, from their mental health to physical problems. Elements of this proven treatment system aside from herbal treatments include Tai chi, cupping, and acupuncture. It’s complex, wide-ranging, and there’s no doubt in my mind that TCM will prove to be part of future effective treatments for COVID-19.