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JKM > Volume 43(2); 2022 > Article
Lee, Hwang, Lee, Yim, Jung, Park, Park, Ko, and Cho: Two Cases of Korean Medicine Treatment for Patients Complaining of Long-lasting Discomfort after COVID-19 Vaccination



This study examined the effectiveness of Korean medical treatment for two patients complaining of discomfort after receiving Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.


The patients were hospitalized for 50 days and 12 days, respectively. They were treated with herbal medicine, acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and moxibustion. We used the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) on numbness in extremities and headache, Manual Muscle Testing Grading System (MMT), Criteria for Sweating Categorization, and 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) to evaluate the clinical effects of the treatment.


In Case 1, headache improved from peak NRS 9 and average NRS 7 on admission day to both NRS 3 on discharge. The SF-36 score was also increased, suggesting that the quality of life was improved. In Case 2, numbness in the extremities improved from NRS 8 on the day before admission to NRS 2 on discharge, and general condition also improved.


This study suggests that Korean medicine can be an effective treatment for patients who experience long-lasting discomfort after being vaccinated with COVID-19, but with no abnormal findings in the examination.

Fig. 1
Changes of NRS Scores for Headaches
*The NRS (Numerical rating scale) score was a self-assessment of the patient’s headache severity.
Fig. 2
Changes of Sweating
*Grade 0 (No hyperhidrosis): No sweat at all.
Grade 1 (Mild hyperhidrosis): The skin is moderately moist.
Grade 2 (Moderate hyperhidrosis): Pearls of sweat form on the skin.
Grade 3 (Severe hyperhidrosis): Sweat drips.
Fig. 3
Changes of Numbness in Extremities During Day and Night Time (A) Upper Extremity Numbness (B) Lower Extremity Numbness
* Numerical Rating Scale
One day before admission
Day of admission
Fig. 4
Manual Muscle Testing Grading System (MMT) Grade of Upper and Lower Extremities
Fig. 5
Self-evaluation of General Weakness
*The score is a subjective rating scale on general weakness.
A score of 0 indicates the lowest level of energy, and 100 indicates the highest level of energy.
Table 1
The Composition of Gwankeibujalijung-tang
Herbal name Botanical name Amount(g)
人蔘 Ginseng Radix 12
白朮 Atractylodis Macrocephalae Rhizoma 8
乾薑(炮) Zingiberis Siccatum Rhizoma Preparat 8
肉桂 Cinnamomi Cortex 8
生薑 Zingiberis Rhizoma 6
大棗 Zizyphi Fructus 6
附子(炮) Aconiti Iateralis Preparata Radix Preparat 4
白芍藥 Paeoniae Radix 4
甘草(炙) Glycyrrhizae Radix Boiled 4

* 위 용량은 1첩을 기준으로 함.

Table 2
The Composition of Geopung-tang
Herbal name Botanical name Amount(g)
生薑 Zingiberis Rhizoma 12
半夏 Pinelliae Tuber 8
桂枝 Cinnamomi Ramulus 8
白朮 Atractylodis Macrocephalae Rhizoma 4
白芍藥 Paeoniae Radix 4
靑皮 Citrii Reticulatae Viride Pericarpium 4
甘草(炙) Glycyrrhizae Radix Boiled 4
枳殼 Aurantii Fructus 4
陳皮 Citri Pericarpium 4
南星 Arisaematis Rhizoma 4
烏藥 Linderae Radix 4

* 위 용량은 1첩을 기준으로 함.

Table 3
The Composition of Gagamgunja-tang
Herbal name Botanical name Amount(g)
香附子 Cyperi Rhizoma 20
白何首烏 Cynanchi Wilfordii Radix 8
黃芪 Astragali Radix 8
白芍藥 Paeoniae Radix 6
當歸 Angelicae Gigantis Radix 6
山藥(炒) Dioscoreae Rhizoma Baked 6
白朮 Atractylodis Macrocephalae Rhizoma 4
川芎 Cnidii Rhizoma 4
大棗 Zizyphi Fructus 4
甘草(炙) Glycyrrhizae Radix Boiled 4
玄胡索 Corydalis Tuber 4
陳皮 Citri Pericarpium 4
生薑 Zingiberis Rhizoma 4
砂仁 Amomi Fructus 4
蔓荊子 Viticis Fructus 3
蘇葉 Perillae Folium 3
細辛 Asari Herba Cum Radice 2

* 위 용량은 1첩을 기준으로 함.

Table 4
The Composition of Seungyangikki-tang
Herbal name Botanical name Amount(g)
白灼藥 Paeoniae Radix 8
桂枝 Cinnamomi Ramulus 8
黃芪 Astragali Radix 8
人蔘 Ginseng Radix 8
大棗 Zizyphi Fructus 6
生薑 Zingiberis Rhizoma 6
白何首烏 Cynanchi Wilfordii Radix 4
當歸 Angelicae Gigantis Radix 4
甘草 Glycyrrhizae Radix 4
肉桂 Cinnamomi Cortex 4

* 위 용량은 1첩을 기준으로 함.

Table 5
Criteria for Sweating Categorization
Grade for excessive sweating Grade
No excessive perspiration 0
Skin moist with perspiration 1
Perspiration oozing from the skin 2
Perspiration dripping from the skin 3
Table 6
Changes of SF-36 Scores
SF-36 Subscale Day 1 Day 50
PF 0 35
RP 0 0
BP 0 42.5
GH 65 65
VT 0 0
SF 0 0
RE 100 100
MH 76 100

PF, Physical function; RP, Role limitation due to physical health problems; BP, Bodily pain; GH, General health; VT, Vitality; SF, Social function; RE, Role limitation due to physical emotional problems; MH, Mental health

Table 7
Prescription of Western Medicine
Medicine Method Dose
Concor tab. 2.5mg qd 1/2
Novasc tab. 5mg qd 1
Rosuzet tab. 10/10mg qd 2/3
Pidogul tab. 75mg qd 1
Cal-D 3 tab. qd 1

* qd, quaque die


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