Background: Novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP), or coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is a worldwide health threat that has affected millions of people globally. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been introduced for the treatment of COVID-19. However, efficacy differs among herbal medicines, and the ideal prescription pattern for TCM herbal formulae for COVID-19 treatment needs to be explored. Therefore, the data mining method has been used in this study to analyze the TCM prescription pattern for COVID-19.
Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the TCM prescription pattern in Regional Schemes in China for COVID-19 in order to provide a new reference for the use of TCM in COVID-19 treatment.
Methods: By searching the TCM treatment protocols of COVID-19 in 23 Regional Schemes, TCM syndromes and herbal medicines were analyzed by data mining. The Ancient and Modern Medical Case Cloud Platform (V2.1 personal Edition) was used to perform frequency statistics, correlation analysis, and cluster analysis. A total of 82 TCM syndromes and 171 Chinese herbal medicines were found. The course of the disease can be divided into the early stage, middle stage, severe stage, and recovery stage.
Results: In the early stage, the focus is primarily on resolving dampness, dispelling cold, and diffusing the lungs. In the middle stage, the treatment priority is clearing heat and resolving toxins, promoting lung function, and relieving asthma. In the severe stage, the focus is on tonifying Qi, restoring Yang, and relieving the depletion of Yin and Yang. In the recovery stage, the main treatment is to invigorate the spleen and regulate Qi, tonify Qi, nourish Yin, and clear residual disease. There are certain differences between the Regional Schemes and the Nation Schemes, but the core prescription pattern of the former is consistent with the latter. The effectiveness of these 171 Chinese herbs include but are not limited to inhibiting COVID-19, strengthening immune system function, preventing heart failure, acting as antioxidants, oxidative stress inhibitory effects, maintaining organ function, and improving leukocyte survival.
Conclusion: This study may help to improve understanding of TCM herbal prescription pattern, practices, reveal the efficacy of combinations of Chinese herbs, and provide new ideas for TCM treatment for COVID-19.