Qing Fei Pai Du Tang: Herbal Formula for Integrative COVID-19 Therapies in China

By Geoff D’Arcy Lic. Ac., DOM

In this second of two editorials by Geoff D’Arcy Lic. Ac., DOM, he describes the history of treatment for COVID-19 in China using a combination of conventional medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapies including Qing Fei Pai Du formula. Click here for part one of the series.

There are a few Chinese herbal formulas that have risen to the top of the Chinese experience of treating this coronavirus and its progression into the deeper and gravely serious COVID 19 pneumonia. One of the star formulas to emerge from this massive experience is the Qing Fei Pai Du formula.

The formula QFPDT was applied in the battle against COVID 19, but it’s unavailable in the USA as a formula because the US Food & Drug Administration has severe restrictions on the sale of Ma Huang and has made Xi Xin a banned herb. The formula with 2 substitutes (for the banned herbs) and all the rest of its other 19 ingredients can be separately sourced and blended. See below for more on this.

  • “The National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) together with the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine recommended “Qing Fei Pai Du Tang” for the treatment of COVID‐19.
  • “Nearly all confirmed patients in Shanxi in the coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic have taken it.”
  • “The results showed that the total effective rate of clinical treatment of 214 patients was more than 90%. “

According to The State Council of the PRC, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has gained enormous experience helping to “treat 85% of all (83,000) coronavirus infections in China.” According to Liú Qīngquán the director of the Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, and a member of the team dispatched to Wuhan, “TCM had been used in roughly 9,600 COVID-19 cases across the country as of February 10. After analyzing case reports from different areas, we have reached a conclusion that TCM is able to prevent mild cases from getting worse.”

 “Let Western medicines take the lead and TCM be a supplementary treatment,” he said, adding that while TCM can’t kill the virus, it instead can enhance people’s immune systems.” ~ Liú Qīngquán the director of the Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital

According to Dr. Huang Huang at the most respected TCM school in China, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, “The National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China together with the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine recommended “Qing Fei Pai Du Tang” for the treatment of COVID‐19. Qing Fei Pai Du Tang consists of a combination of formulas that have been used for thousands of years and whose use has been supported both by classical texts and by the clinical experience of later physicians.”

There are four classic Traditional Chinese herbal formulas that are combined into one (QFPDT) They all originated from the vast experience that Chinese Medicines have had with explosive epidemics ever since they were written about in the Shang Han Lun (A.D 219), which is among the oldest complete clinical textbooks in the world. TCM has been used and recorded for epidemics and pandemics for thousands of years.

 Midway through the coronavirus crises in Hebei a recommendation was made that a TCM prescription of QFPADT be used for lung clearance and detoxication to treat coronavirus patients. Nearly all confirmed patients in Shanxi in the coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic have taken it.

Reported February 23rd 2020, the “State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine carried out clinical observation of QFPADT in the four provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Heilongjiang and Shaanxi for the treatment of confirmed patients. The results showed that the total effective rate of clinical treatment of 214 patients was more than 90%.

QFPDT Clinical Protocols

In one study announced by China’s State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 701 confirmed coronavirus cases treated by QFPDT were analyzed. The 701 cases spanned 57 medical institutions in 10 provinces. Out of the 701 patients, 130 were cured and discharged; symptoms of 51 patients completely disappeared; 268 patients showed improvement in symptoms, and 212 presented with stable symptoms (those symptoms did not worsen). The following outlines the protocols:

Fever: Before taking QFPADT the herbal decoction was taken for just one day, 51.8% of the patients returned to normal temperature. After taking the remedy for six days, 94.6% of patients’ temperatures returned to normal. 

Cough: And out of the 701 cases, 214 patients presented with cough symptoms. After one day of taking Qing Fei Pai Du Tang, 46.7% of the patients’ cough symptoms disappeared. After six days, that figure increased to 80.6% of patients. 

Fatigue Poor Appetite and Sore Throat: TCM doctors also observed taking Qing Fei Pai Du Tang lessened the severity of other symptoms such as fatigue, poor appetite, and sore throat. 

Of the 701 patients, detailed, completed case information of 351 patients has become available. And out of the 351 patients, none of the patients categorized as “light and ordinary” (i.e., mild) were downgraded to severe or critically ill; 3 of the 22 severe patients were cured and discharged; 8 were improved to general condition, and a total of 46 patients were cured and discharged.

Dampness and COVID-19

According to the theory of TCM, the target organ location of COVID-19 are the lungs, and the etiology attribute is “damp and toxin pathogen.” Almost everyone in TCM agrees that dampness is at the core of this disease. Nearly all of the cases encountered so far in China have displayed a thick, white, sticky tongue coating.

The network pharmacology analysis showed that QFPDT has an overall regulatory effect via multi-component and multi-target. The primary site of pharmacological action is the lung, as 16 herbs to lung meridian, which indicated that the decoction is mainly specific for lung diseases.

Among the potential targets screen, most of them co-expressed with ACE-2, the receptor of COVID-19, indicating the potential improvement of COVID-19. The virus inhibits the replication of COVID-19 by acting on multiple ribosomal proteins. As is now well known, COVID-19 can lead to strong immune response and inflammatory storm. Functional enrichment analysis showed that QPD could inhibit and alleviate excessive immune response and eliminate inflammation by regulating immune related pathway and cytokine action related pathway. Furthermore, through the prediction of molecular docking, it was found that patchouli alcohol, ergosterol and shionone in the formula had better anti−COVID-19 effect, which provided new molecule structures for new drug development.

The literature says, “The treatment of COVID-19 showed that early intervention of TCM is important to improve and shorten the course of disease, delay disease progression and reduce mortality rate. Furthermore, the reason why TCM works is not only to inhibit the virus, but might block the infection, regulate the immune response, cut off the inflammatory storm, and promote the repair of the body.”

In TCM every patient’s individual constitution is different and receives the virus in different reaction patterns. TCM ideally prescribes herbs to supports the variations of constitutions and their different responses. Ideally herbal formulas are amended to the individual. The commonly identified in TCM pattern: External pathogen attacking the exterior, pathogen constrained with heat formation. Unresolved, exterior wind-cold which has become constrained and is transforming into heat

The formula can also be used for patients with the common cold and flu. However, this formula presented below is for a prescriptive treatment and it is not recommended to be used as a preventive prescription.


Geoff D’Arcy, Lic. Ac., DOM has been a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist for 38 years. He sees patients and is Director of D’Arcy Wellness Center + Spa in Natick, Massachusetts.  Geoff has co-founded two large integrative medical centers in Massachusetts. He is president of D’Arcy Naturals, a company that produces herbal formulas for humans and NaturalPetRx.com herbal formulas for pets. He is married to Po, his business partner, and has two daughters who both practice at the Wellness Center+Spa. Geoff can be contacted, darcygeoff@yahoo.com, DarcyNat.com, DarcyWellnessSpa.com
To obtain the formula specifications please contact Geoff D’Arcy Lic. Ac., DOM directly. The following is a summary of the herbal ingredients available in the United States for Qing Fei Pai Du Tang
Morus Alba Sang Bi Pi Mulberry Root Bark
Radix Glycyrrhizae Preparata Zhigancao Liquorice Root (processed with honey)
Semen Armeniacae Amarum Kuxingren Bitter Apricot Seed
Gypsum Fibrosum Shigao Gypsum
Ramulus Cinnamomi Guizhi Cassia Twig
Rhizoma Alismatis Zexie Oriental Waterplantain Rhizome
Polyporus Zhuling Chuling
Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae Baishu Largehead Atractylodes Rhizome
Poria Fuling Indian Bread
Radix Bupleuri Chaihu Chinese Thorowax Root
Radix Scutellariae Huangqin Baical Skullcap Root
Rhizoma Pinelliae Banxia Pinellia Tuber
Radix Asteris Ziwan Tararian Aster Root
Rhizoma Zingiberis Ganjiang Dried Ginger
Rhizoma Belamcandae Shegan Blackberrylily Rhizome
Rhizoma Dioscoreae Shanyao Common Yam Rhizome
Fructus Aurantii Immaturus Zhishi Immature Orange Fruit
Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae Chenpi Dried Tangerine Peel
Agastache Rugosus Huoxiang Pogostemon Cablin Benth
Flos Farfarae Kong Dong Hua Coltsfoot Flower Bud

References

Traditional Chinese Medicine: an effective treatment for 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia  http://www.cjnmcpu.com/fileZGTRYW/journal/article/cjnm/newcreate/2020-999.pdf
Traditional Chinese medicine for COVID-19 treatment  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043661820307556?via%3Dihub#bib0010
Traditional Chinese medicine used to treat 85% of COVID-19 patients http://english.www.gov.cn/news/videos/202002/26/content_WS5e55d0c8c6d0c201c2cbcf7b.html
TCM widely used in COVID-19 patient treatment, yielding good results http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-02/29/c_138830308.htm
Factbox: Potential treatments to defeat novel coronavirus   http://www.china.org.cn/china/Off_the_Wire/2020-03/06/content_75783296.htm
Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of Patients Infected with 2019-New Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2): A Review and Perspective    https://www.ijbs.com/v16p1708.htm
Chinese Herbal Medicine For COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Treatment https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/2009-chinese-herbal-medicine-for-covid-19-coronavirus-treatment
Traditional Chinese medicine in the fight against the novel coronavirus COVID-19 https://www.integrativetranslations.com/blog/category/coronavirus
Report from the Front Line in Wuhan   https://classicalchinesemedicine.org/report-from-front-line-wuhan/
Turn on Google translate for these references:
http://www.satcm.gov.cn/hudongjiaoliu/guanfangweixin/2020-02-23/13310.html
http://yzs.satcm.gov.cn/zhengcewenjian/2020-02-07/12876.html
https://www.guancha.cn/politics/2020_03_06_540279.shtml 6
https://k.sina.cn/article_1644119190_61ff44960200167hc.html?from=news&subch=onews
Huang Huang, International JingFang Institute, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (Translated by Li Jiayin ∙ Edited by Daniel Eng). Thoughts on COVID‐19 based on JingFang Medicine Classical Chinese Formula Solutions for COVID 19.