Natural medicine in epidemic.
The article “Phytotherapic compounds againstcoronavirus: possible streams for future research” by Michele Antonelli et al ( Phytotherapy doi:10.1002/ptr.6712) raises a topic of extraordinary importance for western medicine, in a pandemic period, where many elements of reality are affected by wide uncertainty, and in particular when:
1) the nosological characteristics of coronavirus disease remains uncertain ;
2) and is not available a therapy to reduce the symptomatology and/or to interrupt the evolution of the disease.
Waiting for a greater clarification of the nosologic framework by the WHO, it could be important to purpose a treatment of the positive tested subjects (from whom 80% are asymptomatic and 15% affected by a general symptomatology like cough and fever).
So, which therapy can be considered more effective and less loaded with side effects?
I want to reinforce the message of the Authors, remembering that high-profile research based on randomized trials has in the past highlighted the clinical benefits of traditional Chinese medicine, both in the improvement of symptoms and in the shortening of the course of the SARS.
In particular, during the SARS epidemic, a controlled study conducted in Hong Kong on 1063 hospital workers treated with herbal formulas vs 15,374 untreated hospital workers, produced excellent results: no worker in the first group contracted SARS against n.64 affected by SARS in the second group (P = 0.035; Lau J et al. J. Alternat. Complement. Med. 2005; 11: 49-55).
Starting from these premises, I believe it is possible to prepare, in the shelter of the oldest natural medical tradition that has survived over time, a strategy of prevention (in the asymptomatic phase) and treatment (in the initial phase of the symptomatology) to contrast, in a natural and personalized way, with little risk of side effects, the evolution of coronavirus disease.
This strategy, in the hands of expert doctors, could be adapted to individual patients, in consideration of pre-existing pathologies, choosing from the plants that have proven to be most effective (Luo Hui, 2020).
I believe that, in the convergence of the oldest knowledge and the most recent scientific evidence, the best answer to this subtle epidemic can be identified and to be proved.