Lan Jirui, a doctor of Chinese medicine in Beijing, told AFP: "It's the same logic as Western medicine.
"If the drug is bought on the prescription of the doctor, it will probably be effective. If it is bought randomly from the pharmacy, then maybe not."
Cannot kill the virus
Throughout the pandemic, TCM doctors and self-taught practitioners have taken to the internet to share recipes and health protocols.
Li Wen, a 68-year-old retired acupuncturist, has been pricking himself with needles to combat his flu-like condition. He also bought two Chinese medicines, including a bamboo-based anti-fever remedy.
"I supplement that with a nutritious diet of pears, turnips and ginger," he told AFP.
"Chinese medicines can be helpful to fight the virus, but cannot kill the virus," he said.
"But I remain cautious about Western drugs. Their side effects should not be overlooked."
Hoping to treat a cough and sore throat, Danni, a 39-year-old Beijinger, has been taking Pei Pa Koa, a syrup derived from plant extracts.