Suspected contamination of Chinese herbal powder
15 Jan 2011
The Department of Health (DH) today (January 15) advised members of the public not to consume the Chinese herbal powder Ramulus Cinnamomi with brand name "百草牌", wholesaled by the Dynamic Medical Company, as it was suspected to be contaminated.
The issue was revealed by DH during the investigation of a suspected aconitine poisoning case involving a 27-year-old woman. The woman presented with palpitation, dizziness, chest discomfort and shortness of breath after consuming Chinese herbal powder and attended the hospital for treatment. She has already been discharged. Laboratory investigation by Hospital Authority detected aconitum alkaloids in both the patient’s urine sample and herbal powder. Investigation revealed that the herbal powder was prescribed by a Chinese medicine practitioner (CMP) for common cold. The herbal powder should not contain aconitum alkaloids according to the formula.
DH conducted investigation to the CMP premises immediately and collected herbal samples for chemical analysis. Today, the laboratory results revealed that the Chinese herbal powder Ramulus Cinnamomi contained aconitum alkaloids. The powder (batch number: B20100513) was manufactured in China, and was supplied by a local licensed Chinese herbal medicines wholesaler named Dynamic Medical Company
Ramulus Cinnamomi is a commonly used herb which in itself is not toxic.
DH conducted investigation to the wholesaler, and samples have been collected for urgent chemical analysis. The investigation continues. As a precautionary measure, DH instructed the wholesaler to recall the powder, and to inform all its patrons of the possible contamination. Dynamic Medical Company has set up a hotline (telephone no. 2454 2573) for enquiry.
No further report has been received about patients feeling unwell after taking the Chinese herbal powder Ramulus Cinnamomi from the wholesaler. DH has informed drug regulatory authority in the Mainland for further investigation and management.
CMPs and Chinese herbal medicines retailers who have purchased the Chinese herbal powder Ramulus Cinnamomi (batch number: B20100513) from Dynamic Medical Company should immediately stop prescribing it and submit it to the Chinese Medicine Division of DH on 16/F, Two Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong during office hours. Members of the public should seek advice from health care professionals if they have any doubt about their Chinese medicinal products.