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Home Health Coronavirus Europe Has Been in Anti-epidemic Vortex: Why not Use Traditional Chinese Medicine

Europe Has Been in Anti-epidemic Vortex: Why not Use Traditional Chinese Medicine

In the capital of Fife County, Scotland, a “castle” stands in the highlands, with a fairy-tale luxury. In fact, this is a Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic.

The castle-like building usually has two Chinese medicine doctors, and the patients are mostly local Westerners
The castle-like building usually has two Chinese medicine doctors, and the patients are mostly local Westerners

“Overseas, only middle class and above have the financial strength to go to Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic.” Tianjun Wang, chairman of the British Traditional Chinese Medicine Forum and founder of the British Traditional Chinese Medicine Alliance Network, opened a Chinese medicine clinic in London, UK, usually treating 10-15 patients on a working day. Chinese medicine is a high-end consumption in the UK.

Europe is now the hardest hit area for novel coronavirus pneumonia. TCM has handed in a good transcript in the national epidemic prevention and control exam. With the closure of the European order and the closure of TCM clinics offline, the demand for “cloud” consultations has risen against the trend.

“Since the outbreak, the number of visits and demand for traditional Chinese medicine on the Internet has been more than five times that of the previous time,” Tianjun Wang said that these growths mainly came from overseas Chinese. They adjusted the medicine according to the prescriptions found in the country and made the appropriate adjustments.

I have a prescription, can I get it overseas? Can the domestic formula adapt to overseas soil? What is the current status of overseas Chinese medicine clinics? The reporter had a conversation with a person from the European Chinese medicine community.

Chinese herbal medicines placed in overseas Chinese medicine clinics
Chinese herbal medicines placed in overseas Chinese medicine clinics

Overseas Chinese medicine clinics, only the middle class and above have the ability to consume

Calligraphy, celadon ornaments, Tai Chi patterns on windows … The subtleties of this European-style “castle” building reveal an oriental charm. However, perhaps more eye-catching here are the various bottles and jars marked with the names of Chinese medicines: Northern Adenophora, Atractylodes, Astragalus, Asparagus, Red Uncaria, Houttuynia, Pueraria …

“There are nearly 300 kinds of Chinese medicine in each of our clinics, which can basically meet the prescription requirements.” Yan Zhuang, executive director of the Association of Northeastern European Associations and Chambers of Commerce and the general manager of the European Taiji Medical Group, told the reporter that the company is the largest Chinese medicine in Scotland. The company has 4 Chinese medicine clinics in the UK and 1 in Belgium. In addition to providing acupuncture and physiotherapy services, these five Chinese medicine clinics also provide traditional Chinese medicine treatment.

In the capital of Fife County, Scotland, a "castle" stands in the highlands. This is a Chinese medicine clinic.
In the capital of Fife County, Scotland, a “castle” stands in the highlands. This is a Chinese medicine clinic.

That castle-like building is the headquarters of Yan Zhuang’s company. There are usually two Chinese medicine doctors, and the patients are mostly local Westerners. Westerners trust and accept acupuncture much more than oral Chinese medicine. At the clinic, most Western patients choose acupuncture, and only 60% of patients will buy Chinese herbal medicine after acupuncture.“ Tianjun Wang ’s observations are broadly consistent with Yan Zhuang ’s observations.” In most Chinese medicine clinics, less than one-third of Western patients are willing to take Chinese medicine. “

How do Chinese medicine clinics maintain their operations overseas? Who are their target customers?

Yan Zhuang’s Chinese medicine clinic has always been committed to taking the high-end route. The patients all use the appointment system, which is expensive. The single acupuncture is 60 pounds (500 yuan), and the weekly herbal medicine is 50 pounds (400 yuan). Before the outbreak, each Chinese medicine clinic will receive 20-30 people per day.

Yan Zhuang gives pulse to Western patients
Yan Zhuang gives pulse to Western patients

“Overseas, only those with middle-class or above have the financial strength to go to the Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic.” Tianjun Wang, chairman of the British Medicine Forum and founder of the Chinese Medicine Alliance Network, believes that from the British situation, most people go to public hospitals and family doctors for free. Traditional Chinese medicine requires patients to pay for their own expenses, and only the wealthier local people have the financial strength to pay.

For example, Tianjun Wang said that the salary of ordinary retirees in the UK is about 150 pounds a week, while it needs 40-60 pounds to see a traditional Chinese medicine doctor. “Some clinics even reach £ 100 at a time.” If retirees rely solely on retirement salaries, it will be difficult to pay for Chinese medicine.

Tianjun Wang has been engaged in Chinese medicine for 31 years. After working in domestic hospitals for 18 years, he applied for a senior lecturer at a university in the United Kingdom to teach local people to study Chinese medicine. Seven years later, he opened his own Chinese medicine clinic. Now he can treat 10-15 patients on a working day.

Domestic Chinese medicine experts enter the overseas Chinese WeChat group to answer questions
Domestic Chinese medicine experts enter the overseas Chinese WeChat group to answer questions

The epidemic was closed offline “Cloud” medical consultation promotes the growth of Chinese herbal medicine sales overseas

Early in the morning on March 26, a message for help came out from the WeChat group of the Belgian Association of Northeastern Association and Chamber of Commerce: Experts, my friend now has a feeling of burning in the lungs and a low fever. The hospital will not do any tests. She is currently isolated at home and her husband has entered the intensive care unit. I would like to ask, is there any way to relieve symptoms?

Thousands of miles away, this message was quickly responded to by Lijian Pang, an expert in the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Affiliated Hospital of Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine: “Isolated symptomatic treatment at home, Chinese medicine clears heat and detoxifies, and the temperature exceeds 38.5 degrees using antipyretics to relieve symptoms, if she has a history of epidemiology, the possibility of novel coronavirus pneumonia is very high…”

There are 66 members in the WeChat group of the Belgian Association of Northeastern Associations and Chambers of Commerce, and they are distributed in various European countries. Recently, with the help of the chamber of commerce and the local overseas Chinese federation, several experts from the affiliated hospital of Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine came in to answer questions for the Chinese and overseas Chinese in the group and work together to fight the epidemic.

Yan Zhuang is also in the group. She posted a dose of Huashibaidu prescription in the group. Huashibaidufang (Granule) was developed by Academician Luqi Huang, Dean of the Chinese Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, as the team leading the first batch of national medical teams for anti-epidemic Chinese medicine, and its clinical trial application was recently approved by the State Food and Drug Administration. This is the first clinical approval document for the treatment of novel coronavirus pneumonia.

Have a prescription, How to have medicine overseas?

With the announcement of the closure of the British and Belgium, the local Chinese medicine industry has entered a stagnation state. Due to the inability to guarantee a social distance of 2 meters between people, acupuncture and physiotherapy have been completely discontinued. However, online consultation on Chinese medicine and the delivery of Chinese herbal medicines can be carried out normally.

“Now we are consulting on the Internet. Although we can’t check the pulse, we can watch the tongue and observe the face and posture of the patient through the video.” Yan Zhuang said that after the network consultation, they sent the granular Chinese medicine directly to the patient’s home. In the past, the main patients in the clinic were Westerners. Now, the epidemic has led to a surge in the number of overseas Chinese patients and the demand for Chinese medicine.

In Italy, Junchao Yang, deputy director of the Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine and director of the Department of Respiratory Medicine, said that the overseas Chinese in Italy have a great demand for traditional Chinese medicine. On the first day of consultation, we received information from 424 compatriots in Milan, Turin, Venice, and other cities, and more than 1,000 compatriots have consulted in about a week.

Tianjun Wang, chairman of the British Traditional Chinese Medicine Forum and founder of the British Traditional Chinese Medicine Alliance Network, also has a Chinese medicine clinic in London. “Since the outbreak, the number of visits and demand for traditional Chinese medicine on the Internet has been more than five times that of the previous one.” He believes that the reason for the increase is that Chinese people pay more attention to domestic news and have higher recognition of traditional Chinese medicine.

For overseas Chinese medicine clinics without a fixed guest source, it is undoubtedly a dark moment. “The clinic is closed, and the impact is long-term.” Tianjun Wang believes that many Chinese medicine clinics are more difficult due to factors such as the continued or partial payment of rent and limited government subsidies.

Overseas, TCM
Overseas, TCM

“Deleted” prescriptions Chinese medicines have entered mainstream Western society, the Epidemic situation may be an opportunity

It’s impossible to get finished medicines, can Chinese herbalists in Europe dispense medicines according to the prescriptions published in China?

“We know medicinal materials and dosages of these medicines, but they cannot be copied.” Tianjun Wang said that some Chinese medicinal materials can’t be used in Western countries. For example, the dosage of ephedra can’t exceed 1.8 grams per day, and gypsum cannot be used in the UK. In other words, the overseas patients actually took a dose of “reduced version”.

They estimated that 10 years ago, there were about 3,000 Chinese medicine clinics in the UK. Today, this number has shrunk to about 1,000. For a long time, Chinese medicine has been used as “complementary and alternative medicine” in Europe. Nowadays, although Europe is the hardest hit area for Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia, it is in a vortex of fierce anti-epidemic disease, and domestic Chinese medicine has repeatedly won the fight against Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia, but “there are almost no reports from Western mainstream media about traditional Chinese medicine against Epidemic.” At the same time, an affirmative answer was given, which led to an increase in the demand for Chinese medicine by Chinese and overseas Chinese. Due to the lack of knowledge about the relevant information, the demand for Chinese medicine by local Western groups has not increased.

Yan Zhuang is very cautious about choosing new words for “prevention” or “treatment” of novel coronavirus pneumonia. “For propaganda overseas, all I can say is that it can improve immunity.” Yan Zhuang said that a Canadian doctor exaggerated the propaganda of Chinese medicine for the treatment of novel coronavirus pneumonia and was secretly interviewed by local reporters. Wang Tianjun also knew this. Today, this has become a warning for overseas Chinese medicine circles.

It takes a long time for oral traditional Chinese medicine to really enter the mainstream Western society. In the process, overseas Chinese medicine practitioners are constantly improving and trying.

“Westerners are not very receptive to the taste of boiled Chinese medicine. In the past, when we sold Chinese herbal medicines, 30% of Western patients reported that they could not drink this kind of Chinese medicine.” Yan Zhuang said that they are now making medicine powder. The medicine is shaken well, and the patient is taken with boiled water according to the measurement. This approach has greatly increased the acceptance of Western medicine by Westerners.

How can Chinese medicine open up Western markets? Tianjun Wang believes that this epidemic may be an opportunity for Chinese medicine. After the outbreak in the UK, the Chinese Medicine Alliance Network launched a Chinese medicine anti-epidemic assistance activity in the UK. From the beginning, more than a dozen people have now developed to more than 70 qualified Chinese medicine doctors to participate. In the beginning, this activity mainly served Chinese, and now the proportion of locals asking for consultations is increasing.

According to Yanhong Yu, at present, China has taken the initiative to cooperate with the World Health Organization to share the relevant situation of Chinese medicine’s participation in epidemic prevention and control and translated the latest version of China’s novel coronavirus pneumonia diagnosis and treatment plan into English. Through remote video communication, providing technical solutions, etc., to share treatment experience with Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Singapore, and other countries.

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Nancy Huang
I'm a journalist in Shenzhen, China. I have been working in several news agencies in China since 2008.

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