Searches across all academic databases retrieved a total of 601 titles, of which 238 were duplicate and 363 were unique. Of the unique articles, 296 were eligible as they mentioned at least one TICAM for the potential management, treatment and/or prevention of COVID-19 or COVID-19 induced conditions. The remaining 67 full-text articles were excluded for the following reasons: not about COVID-19 (n=38); not about or focused on management, treatment, prevention of COVID-19 or COVID-19 induced conditions (n=24); and not related to TICAM (n=5). A bibliometric analysis flowchart is provided in Figure 1.
Across all 296 publications and 1556 authors, 1373 were unique. The number of publications per author ranged from 1 to 7. Authors were affiliated with a total of 977 affiliations across 56 countries. Authors were all from the same affiliation country in 222 publications, two countries in 42 publications, three countries in 17 publications, four countries in 6 publications and two single publications contained 8 and 11 countries of affiliation. The number of articles containing affiliations from the following countries were as follows: China (n=105), United States (n=51), India (n=33), Italy (n=26), England (n=24), Ireland (n=12), Australia (n=11), Canada (n=9), Spain (n=9), Turkey (n=8), Hong Kong (n=7), Iran (n=6), Pakistan (n=6), Saudi Arabia (n=6), Brazil (n=5), Egypt (n=5), Germany (n=5), South Korea (n=5), Switzerland (n=5) and Vietnam (n=4). Additionally, three affiliations each were associated with the following countries: Bangladesh, Belgium, Denmark, France, Malaysia, Romania, Singapore, and Thailand. Two affiliations each was associated with the following countries: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Greece, Jordan, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, Taiwan One affiliation each was associated with the following countries: Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa and Wales. Seven articles did not have declared affiliations/countries associated with their articles. Eligible articles were primarily published English (n=251), followed by Chinese (n=35), German (n=4), and Italian (n=2). Additionally, four of the articles published in English were also published in an additional language, Spanish. Eligible articles found were indexed by the academic databases searched as the following publication types: article (n=166), letter (n=62), review (n=47), editorial (n=12), note (n=6), erratum (n=1), preprint (n=1) and short survey (n=1). The general characteristics of eligible articles are summarized in Table 1. In addition, articles that have received at least 10 citations as of the search date in the SCOPUS database are provided in Table 2.
In total, the 296 eligible articles were published in a total of 157 journals, of which 33 were identified to be TICAM-focused journals. Ninety articles were published in TICAM-focused journals. After hand-searching each journal on InCites Journal Citation Reports, it was found that one hundred twenty journals had a 2019 impact factor. Of these 120 journals, impact factors ranged widely from 0.17 to 60.392. In total, 193 articles were published in a journal with a 2019 impact factor. The number of articles published per journal ranged from 1 to 15; details about the fifteen journals with the highest number of articles are provided in Table 3.
A total of 327 TICAMs (60 unique) were mentioned across the 296 eligible articles, as follows: Traditional Chinese Medicine (n=92), vitamin D (n=63), melatonin (n=15), phytochemicals (n=10), general herbal medicine (n=9), vitamin C (n=9), Ayurveda (n=8), natural products (n=8), probiotics (n=7), cannabidiol/cannabis (n=6), chiropractic (n=5), general TICAM (n=5), acupuncture (n=3), homeopathy (n=3), marine natural products (n=3), antioxidants (n=2), flavonoids (n=2), tea (n=2), celastrol (n=1), dietary supplements (n=1), fungi (n=1), garlic (n=1), garlic essential oil (n=1), glycyrrhetinic acid (n=1), hispidin, lepidine E and folic acid (n=1), indigenous herbal medicine (n=1), marine algal antioxidants (n=1), massage (n=1), meditation/mindfulness (n=1), microbial natural products (n=1), opioids and cannabinoids (n=1), phytotherapy (n=1), silvestrol (n=1), spinal manipulative therapy (n=1), stilbenes (n=1), traditional Mongolian medicine (n=1), traditional Persian medicine (n=1), turmeric (n=1), vitamin K antagonists (n=1), vitamins and trace elements (n=1), yoga (n=1) and zinc iodide and dimethyl sulfoxide (n=1). A number of studies incorporated one or more other TICAMs in combination with the aforementioned therapies as follows: moxibustion (n=5, with acupuncture), ascorbic acid, zinc and N-acetylcysteine (n=1 with vitamin d) curcumin and glycyrrhizic acid (n=1, with vitamin c), essential oils (n=1 with phytochemicals), essential oils and phytochemicals (n=1 with general herbal medicine), exercise (n=1 with vitamin d), guided relaxation (n=1, with meditation), melatonin (n=1, with vitamin d), natural products (n=1 with general herbal medicine), plant bioactives (n=1, with probiotics), probiotics and nutraceuticals (n=1, with dietary supplements) quercetin and estradiol (n=1, with vitamin d), Traditional Chinese Medicine (n=1 with acupuncture, n=1 with general TICAM) and yoga (n=1 with Ayurveda, n=1 with meditation). This is summarized in Figure 2.
The entire dataset containing all of the aforementioned characteristics of all eligible articles is provided in Supplementary File 1 for the benefit of researchers and clinicians who seek to read the original publications, use this data to support further research, and foster future collaborations to investigate promising TICAMs in combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.