Therapeutic options of TCM for organ injuries associated with COVID-19 and the underlying mechanism

Jia Li Zhang, Wen Xiong Li, Yue Li, Man Sau Wong, Yong Jun Wang, Yan Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) caused by infection with severe acute respiratory coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been spreading rapidly throughout China and in other countries since the end of 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the epidemic is a public health emergency of international concerns. The timely and appropriate measures for treating COVID-19 in China, which are inseparable from the contribution of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), have won much praise of the world. Purpose: This review aimed to summarize and discuss the essential role of TCM in protecting tissues from injuries associated with COVID-19, and accordingly to clarify the possible action mechanisms of TCM from the perspectives of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-apoptotic effects. Methods: Electronic databases such as Pubmed, ResearchGate, Science Direct, Web of Science, medRixv and Wiley were used to search scientific literatures. Results: The present review found that traditional Chinese herbs commonly used for the clinical treatment of organ damages caused by COVID-19, such as Scutellaria baicalensis, Salvia miltiorrhizaSalvia miltiorrhiza, and ginseng, could act on multiple signaling pathways involved in inflammation, oxidative stress and apoptosis. Conclusion: TCM could protect COVID-19 patients from tissue injuries, a protection that might be, at least partially, attributed to the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-apoptotic effects of the TCM under investigation. This review provides evidence and support for clinical treatment and novel drug research using TCM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153297
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Active component
  • Coronavirus disease 2019
  • Pharmacological mechanism
  • Severe acute respiratory coronavirus-2
  • Signaling pathway
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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