Advisory on Herbal Products Claiming to Prevent or Treat COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019)

Consumer, Healthcare professional, Industry member, Chinese Proprietary Medicines, Health supplements, Traditional medicines, Chinese Proprietary Medicines, General safety, Health supplements, Traditional medicines

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is aware of reports of herbal products, including traditional Chinese medicines, being used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients overseas.

There is currently insufficient scientific evidence to support the use of any herbal product for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. HSA requires any product that claims to treat infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, to be supported by scientific evidence from controlled clinical studies to substantiate that such a product is safe and effective for such a purpose.  Any product that makes claims in relation to COVID-19 must first be submitted to HSA to assess the scientific evidence and be registered before it can be supplied locally.

At this time, all herbal products formulated for common cold and flu, including traditional Chinese medicines, should only be used to manage symptoms such as headache, runny or blocked nose, sore throat and cough.  

Consumers should take note of the following:

  • To date, HSA has not approved any herbal product for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19
  • Do not purchase any herbal products that make such claims, whether they are from local or overseas sources
  • Products with unsubstantiated claims can cause serious harm to your health
  • Seek medical attention promptly if you feel unwell

Dealers and sellers are reminded not to make any false or misleading claims that the products they are selling can prevent, protect against or treat diseases such as COVID-19. Dealers and sellers who make such false or misleading claims in their marketing can be prosecuted and imprisoned for up to 2 years and/or fined up to $5,000.

For more information, please refer to the HSA advisory on products claiming to prevent or treat COVID-19.