Former Mandaluyong City mayor Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos Jr. self-medicated with Chinese traditional herbal medicine Lian Hua Qing Wen after testing positive for the coronavirus.
According to Izzy Lee's report on "24 Oras," Abalos got the medicine from former senator Bongbong Marcos, who also contracted COVID-19.
"I really don't self-medicate, pero looking at the background, mukhang effective naman, mukhang ayos naman," he said. "In certain countries it's approved. Sabi ko why not, there's nothing to lose."
Abalos said he immediately took four capsules and felt better the following day.
"Pinagpawisan ako ng sobra, para akong naligo," he said. "Pagkatapos, I felt para akong Superman, lahat ng kasu-kasuan na masakit nawala. Lahat ng fever, everything. It's as if nothing happened."
However, Abalos did not give the medicine to his parents, former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. and wife Corazon.
Both of them tested positive for COVID-19 and as senior citizens have a higher risk of developing severe illness.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Lian Hua Qing Wen as a traditional medicine, but not as treatment for COVID-19. Prescription of a doctor is also needed before it can be bought in pharmacies.
In China, it is being used to treat COVID-19 patients with mild or moderate symptoms. It is originally used for common cold and flu due to its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
"Hindi ito gamot for COVID. But it can help COVID patients. We have to be very clear on that. Wala pang gamot for COVID," said Dr. Sharief Hassiman, a Western and Chinese Integrative Specialist.
The FDA reminded the public to avoid self-medicating with Lian Hua. Patients with co-morbidities and those taking other medications should also be careful about taking it. —MGP, GMA News