Lianhua Qingwen for COVID: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Lianhua Qingwen herbal supplement to treat COVID-19 virus

1. What are the ingredients of Lianhua Qingwen?

  • Lianhua Qingwen (LHQW) contains a popular herbal recipe called Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang (MXSGT) or “Treatise on Cold-induced Febride Diseases” in the Chinese clinical textbook as a treatment for respiratory disorders. [Nature]
  • Yinqiao Powder is used to help treat pneumonia effectively. [Pubmed
  • LHQW has an additional 13 ingredients: [See list: Frontiers in Pharmacology]
  • The main active ingredient can target specific molecules and perform many clinical treatment roles.
  • Chinese Pharmacopoeia records

2. How does Lianhua Qinqwen work?

The main functions of LQC include inhibition of binding between virus and host cells, inhibition of viral replication and release, reducing expression level of chemokines/cytokines, enhancing the immune system, and improving symptoms caused by different diseases.

3. General uses of LHQW

  • It was effectively used for the type A influenza virus HIN1 pandemic in 2009, H7N9, H3N2, and coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) in 2020.
  • It is also widely used to treat the common cold with wind-heat syndrome, chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), inflamed tonsils, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [Science Direct]

List of diseases in the LHQW has been used to reduce inflammatory cytokines and potential recovery:

Chronic Rhinosinusitis
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease
[See references]

4. Where is Lianhua Qinqwen made, and is it sold legally?

Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical manufactures Lianhua Qingwen. It is an over-the-counter medicine in China. It was developed using Chinese traditional medicine in 2003 to help treat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The government clarified that LHQW should not be used for prevention. In Shanghai alone, about 8 million boxes have been used to treat or prevent coronavirus from spreading. [Weixin]

It is currently widely used in Singapore, Japan, and the Philippines.

5. Is it endorsed by the Chinese government?

  • LHQW was initially approved by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) in 2004 and represented the first traditional Chinese medicine to pass the rapid drug approval channel of CFDA for treating severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
  • LQC was authorized by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) of China to treat severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from 2002–2003
  • In the Philippines, its Food and Drug Administration approved Lianhua Qingwen on 7 August 2020 as a traditional herbal product that helps remove “heat-toxin invasion of the lungs, including symptoms such as fever, aversion to cold, muscle soreness, stuffy and runny nose.” It is not registered as a COVID-19 medication, and a doctor’s prescription is required for its use.[12][13]

6. What are the known side effects of Lianhua Qinqwen?

  • 217 experimental and pooled studies show a lower incidence of adverse reactions.
  • The most common side effects of LHQW are gastrointestinal discomfort (73.9%) which mainly includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and mild skin rash [Science direct]
  • Significantly reduced incidence of adverse reactions during treatment of influenza A (H1N1).
  • Security indexes, the LHQW group has a reduced incidence of respiratory system damage, skin and appendages injury, nervous system damage, gastrointestinal system damage, and other adverse reactions. [Frontiers in Pharmacology]
  • Lianhua Qingwen should be avoided for patients with G6PD deficiency since its active ingredient and Lonicera japonica, will lead to hemolysis in such patients.
  •  A January 2022 meta-analysis from China reports that it may cause GI discomfort, rashes and itches, dry mouth, and dizziness. However, it emphasizes that the effects are more familiar with “conventional treatment.”[NIH]
  • It is not recommended for severe pneumonia and those with high blood.

7. Latest study that shows Lianhua Qinqwen work for faster recovery from COVID-19

  • According to research by Zhang Boli, LQC has been widely recommended throughout China for the treatment of novel coronavirus.
  • A 2021 study shows significantly higher recovery (91.5%) and symptom recovery shorter to an average of two days recovery of fever. [NIH]
  • Research done by Ming Niu et al. showed components of Lianhua Qinqwen (Lonicera japonica and Forsythia) could block the binding of novel coronavirus.
  • Lianhua Qinqwen has been included in the Chinese guidelines for preventing and treating infectious diseases and has been approved by 15 countries as Chinese patent medicine. [Science Direct Discussion]
  • Lianhua Qingwen can speed up recovery but does not affect preventing conversion to severe cases, according to a clinical trial led by Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan in 2020. [Nutra]

In 2022, health platform Dingxiang Yisheng said Lianhua Qingwen cannot prevent COVID infections and should not be taken as preventive medicine.

8. What is the recommended dosage for Lianhua Qinwen?

Adult 30 years old above4 capsules, 3 times a day
AdultBelow 30 years old3 capsules, 3 times a day
Young adult19 – 16 years old2 capsules, 3 times a day
Teens15 – 13 years old2 capsules, 2 times a day
Young teens 12 – 9 years old1 capsule, 3 times a day
Kids 8 – 6 years old1 capsule, 2 times a day.
Young kids5 – 3 years oldDilute 2 capsules to 3 teaspoons of water.
Take 1 teaspoon 3 times a day.
Infant2 – 6 monthsDilute 2 capsules to 2 tablespoons of water.
Take 1 tablespoon 2 times a day.
Infant Below 6 monthsDilute 1 capsule to 2 teaspoons of water.
Takes 1 teaspoon 2 times a day.
* Take after a meal.
* Highly effective on the onset of COVID-19. For symptoms, consult your doctor.

9. Is Lianhua Qinwen (LQ) FDA-approved in the Philippines?

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the product registration of LQ in August 2020, classified as a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

DOH and FDA said it could be used against “heat-toxin invasion of the lungs, as well as for fever, colds (stuffy and runny nose), and muscle soreness. However, it is not registered as a COVID-19 medication.

In 2020, a doctor’s prescription was required for its use because LQ contains 85 milligrams of Ephedra Herba, considered a dangerous drug. In 2021, the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) delisted LQ TCM.

Lianhua Qingwen may now be bought without a prescription from a doctor. [Inquirer]

10. Where can you buy Lianhua Qinwen in the USA?

In the Philippines, LQ is OTC (over-the-counter). It is available in most South Star Drug stores, Watsons, and Mercury Drug branches. You can also buy it from direct distributors from your trusted Chinoy or Chinese nationals.

Lianhua Qinwen is not directly and commercially available in the USA. Amazon does not have private sellers also. However, you can get in touch with direct Chinese or Filam distributors.

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