FDA's 2-month winter herbs check

SHINE
Along with the arrival of winter, consumption of traditional Chinese medicine herbs and winter supplements has entered their peak. 
SHINE
Ti Gong

Jiang Juncheng helps residents identify ginseng in Jing’an District.

Along with the arrival of winter, consumption of traditional Chinese medicine herbs and winter supplements has entered their peak. 

To ensure people’s health and safety, Shanghai Food and Drug Administration has organized a 2-month “winter supplement” throughout the city. 

Major targets of the campaign include pollution, fake or poor quality materials, excessive heavy metals, pesticide residue and other key risks of traditional Chinese medicine. 

By the end of November, 230 traditional Chinese medicine producers, sellers and users have received checks on 1,874 batches of Chinese herbs. 

Results of the check will be announced soon, said Shanghai FDA.

The Chinese have a tradition of taking TCM supplements in winter to boost their health. 

In TCM, there’s always something you should be doing, some herbal medicine or food therapy you need to be taking to keep your system in tune with the seasonal changes. 

It is believed that winter is the best time for “reinforcing” therapy (jinbu), which stores yang (hot) energy in winter to make one strong in the spring. 

This is typically done by eating Chinese herbs or relevant food therapies. Taking these supplements is believed to make people much stronger and healthier in the coming spring as a consequence. 

So there is a Chinese saying, “Take proper TCM supplement in winter and you can kill a tiger in the spring.”

Thousands of people, especially the elderly, get prescribed TCM in hospitals and go to TCM pharmacies to buy such supplements. Industry insiders also visit local communities to give courses for residents to help them choose the best TCM supplements and herbs.

Shanghai Xiyutang TCM Store sent professionals to Baohua neighborhood, in Jing’an District, to help residents identify ginseng and cordyceps sinensis, two expensive TCM herbs. 

Jiang Juncheng, an expert with over 20 years experience in ginseng planting in Jinlin Province, said the most common practice in the market is to sell cheap mountain ginseng at a much higher price. 

The wild mountain ginseng grows naturally in the old forest, and Jilin Province is reportedly home to ginseng of the best quality. The older the wild ginseng, the thicker it is, the better the effect, and the higher the price.

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