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Saturday July 25, 2009

Many turning to herbs as flu fears increase

CHINESE medicine hall owner Wong Siew Wai, 49, from Subang Jaya said there had been a slight increase in sales of Chinese herbs and herbal teas.

“Some opt to buy the pre-packed herbal medicine to balance ‘heatiness’.

“There are also some suppliers who have increased the prices for some herbs,” he said.

Herbal relief: A customer buying Chinese herbs at the Herbs N Food outlet in SS15.

Loo Tet Nyen, managing director of Herbs N Food Sdn Bhd, a chain store that sells Chinese traditional medicine and herbs, also said there had been a boost in business and agreed that some of the suppliers had increased prices by about 10%.

According to the chain store’s herbs department head Lee Foong Sang, the sales for herbal medicine had increased by 50%.

“There’s also been an increase in demand for mineral water,” he said.

Loo recommended some traditional Chinese medicines like the Porcupine Bezoar, which he claimed was a remedy for dengue and flu and maybe even the A(H1N1) flu.

“It is actually the kidney stone of a wild porcupine, which has consumed wild herbs.

“As it could only be found in some parts of South-East Asia, I have customers coming all the way from Hong Kong and China in search of this medicine,” he said, adding that it can be found at Chinese traditional medicine shops.

Best of both worlds: Masks are also available at many Chinese medicine halls.

However, the hefty price may put some off as it could fetch up to RM680 for a mere 0.38gm.

Loo explained that it was due to the rarity of finding a wild porcupine with a kidney stone.

He added that it was important to build up our body strength during the haze and heat wave period to prevent illnesses.

“Aside from taking supplements, it is also important to strengthen your body’s immune system by drinking more water and exercising, such as taking up Qi Gong,” he advised.

Jenny Cheong, a 54-year-old housewife who often buys Chinese herbs for her family, noticed a slight increase in prices.

“Normally, one packet of herbs is sufficient for my family of four but now the quantity is less so I have to buy two packets,” she said.

The recent A(H1N1) flu pandemic has also led some to go running to the doctor at the slightest hint of flu or if they experienced any of the symptoms.

Clinic owner Dr Paramjeet Gill said there had been an increase in the number of patients in the past week. At the time of the interview, which was on Monday morning, there were about 10 patients waiting to see the doctor.

“Some people usually don’t go to the doctor when they have the flu but recently they would.

“Some are a little paranoid and the first thing they ask is if they have A(H1N1). But there are many other types of flu besides the A(H1N1).

“In some cases, the patients are perfectly well but they came because their employers want them to be medically examined as they had just returned from an overseas trip,” he said.

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