Skeptic News: Doctors warn about dangers of illegal TCM herbal sales

From: Shanghai Daily

Food and Drug Administration officials said yesterday that they will tighten inspections on illegal sales of gaofang, a Chinese herbal recipe to reinforce energy in winter, after some online stores were found selling do-it-yourself herbs.

Doctors warned people not to buy so-called gaofang from online stores as they have had some patients suffering adverse reactions after eating the herbal mixture that they purchased online. “Some patients complained about dizziness, stomach pain or even numbness on parts of the body after taking gaofang they bought online,” said Dr Wang Fengqi from Shanghai Hongkang Hospital’s TCM department.

The herbal mixture needs to be made in accordance with an individual’s physical condition and should only be taken if prescribed by a TCM doctor.  An online search for gaofang produces a long list of stores on Taobao.com. Most don’t have a license to sell TCM medicines. Taobao officials said they will investigate the issue.

According to TCM experts, gaofang is a condensed tonic of herbs and animal ingredients in a paste that reinforces energy.

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