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JKM > Volume 44(2); 2023 > Article
Yu, Kim, Jung, and Lee: Effects of Korean Medicine Treatment at Public Health Center for Post-acute COVID-19 Patients: A Retrospective Case-series of 11 patients



The purpose of this study is to determine the clinical features of post-acute COVID-19 syndrome and the effectiveness and safety of Korean medicine treatment at the Public health center.


The study was conducted among 11 patients with post-acute COVID-19 syndrome who attended a single public health center from January to December 2022. We retrospectively analyzed the charts of 11 patients and collected clinical characteristics, previous treatments, Korean medicine treatments, outcome variables (Numeral Rating Scale (NRS), Leicester Cough Questionnaire (LCQ), Visual Analog Scale (VAS)), adverse events, etc.


Of the 11 patients, six were women, and the average age of all patients was 68.27±12.31 years. The most common symptom were cough(n=9, 81.82%) and sore throat(n=9, 81.82%), followed by sputum, fatigue, rhinorrhea, and loss of appetite, etc. All 11 patients were treated with herbal medicine, with Samso-eum(n=6, 54.55%), Yeonkyopaedok-san(n=5, 45.45%), and Haengso-tang(n=3, 27.27%) being the most commonly used. After herbal medicine treatment, the median cough NRS decreased from 5 to 1, and the median sore throat NRS decreased from 4 to 1, both of which were statistically significant. One patient reported adverse event of dyspepsia and heartburn, but it was mild.


The study presented the clinical features of the post-acute COVID-19 syndrome and suggested that Korean medicine treatment at public health centers may be effective and safe in alleviating associated symptoms.

Supplementary Information

Fig. 1
Flow chart for subjects selection
Fig. 2
Frequency of Herbal Medicine Prescriptions
SSE; Samso-eum, YKPDS; Yeonkyopaedok-san, HST; Haengso-tang, SCKBT; Samchulkunbi-tang, SMS; Saengmaek-san, BJIGT; Bojungikgi-tang, BHSST; Banhasasim-tang
Fig. 3
Change of Symptom NRS Before and After Treatments.
a) Cough(n=7) The median pre-treatment NRS is 5 with an interquartile range (IQR) of 2.00, and the median post-treatment NRS is 1 with an IQR of 2.00, b) Sore throat(n=7) The median pre-treatment NRS is 4 with an IQR of 2.50, and the median post-treatment NRS is 1 with an IQR of 1.50
p-value: Wilcoxon signed rank test
* p < 0.05
Table 1
Case Summary of Eleven Patients
Case No. Sex Age BMI Start day of treatment form confirmation Symptoms Comorbidities (⊕ On Medication) Previous treatments Herbal medicine Duration of treatment Adverse event
1 F 37 19.81 36 days 1. Cough
2. Sore throat
3. Sputum
N/A Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs YKPDS 17 days N/A
2 M 73 25.06 26 days 1. Cough
2. Sore throat
3. Sputum
1. Dyslipidemia ⊕
2. Rhinitis
3. Irritable bowel syndrome
4. Atrial fibrillation ⊕
5. h/o Pulmonary Tuberculosis
Antitussives SSE 17 days Dyspepsia Heartburn
3 M 68 26.37 175 days 1. Cough
2. Sore throat
3. Sputum
4. Rhinorrhea
5. Sweating
1. Hypertension ⊕
2. Diabetes mellitus ⊕
3. Dyslipidemia ⊕
4. Rhinitis
N/A 1st SSE
34 days N/A
4 F 59 22.66 70 days 1. Cough
2. Sore throat
3. Fatigue
1. h/o Pulmonary Tuberculosis Steroid inhaler SSE 27 days N/A
5 M 73 23.15 61 days 1. Sore throat
2. Fatigue
1. Hypertension ⊕
2. Rhinitis
3. h/o Pulmonary Tuberculosis
4. Gout ⊕
N/A SSE 30 days N/A
6 M 66 25.90 70 days 1. Cough
2. Sore throat
3. Rhinorrhea
1. Hypertension ⊕
2. Rhinitis
3. h/o Gastric cancer
Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, Antitussives YKPDS 20 days N/A
7 F 76 N/A 22 days 1. Cough
2. Sputum
3. Fatigue
4. Anorexia
5. Sweating
6. Diarrhea
1. Hypertension ⊕
2. h/o Gastric cancer
21 days N/A
8 F 81 N/A 180 days 1. Rhinorrhea
2. Fatigue
3. Anorexia
4. Chilling
1. Hypertension ⊕
2. Angina pectoris ⊕
N/A 1st SSE
21 days N/A
9 M 75 N/A 36 days 1. Cough
2. Sore throat
2nd HST & SMS
3rd HST
21 days N/A
10 F 79 N/A 183 days 1. Cough
2. Sore throat
1. Hypertension ⊕
2. Diabetes mellitus ⊕
Western medication 1st YKPDS
14 days N/A
11 F 64 27.24 35 days 1. Cough
2. Sore throat
1. Diabetes mellitus ⊕
2. Dyslipidemia ⊕
N/A HST 10 days N/A
Table 2
Frequency of the Symptoms in Patients
Symptom Number of Patients (%)
Cough 9 (81.82)
Sore throat 9 (81.82)
Sputum 4 (36.36)
Fatigue 4 (36.36)
Rhinorrhea 3 (27.27)
Sweating 2 (18.18)
Anorexia 2 (18.18)
Diarrhea 1 (9.09)
Chilling 1 (9.09)
Table 3
Numeral Rating Scale(NRS) Change of Patients symptoms(Others)
Case No. NRS Change of symptoms (before → after treatment)

Rhinorrhea Sputum Diarrhea Anorexia Fatigue Sweating
3 7→0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
7 N/A 5→1 2→0 6→1 7→2 6→2


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