Chinese medicine contains lead and pesticides?To understand the safety and inspection mechanism of Chinese medicine-PanSci

Author / Physician Lin Youyan

The lead pipe incident caused a lot of noise. Yesterday (11/23), the news reported that “the initial judgment of the blood lead in the three people in Shuangbei was related to occupation and taking Chinese medicine.” The title homicide method appeared again, which made the Chinese medical profession jump up. The author tried to check the content of the news and found that it is really serious to take out of context…

Apple Daily: “All three of them are not lead account holders. At present, they are suspected to be related to the use of unknown Chinese herbal medicine or occupational exposure. They will continue to track their health conditions and do not need treatment for the time being.”

China Times Newspaper: “Taipei City is a 75-year-old male bus driver who has retired for 15 years….Because of taking Chinese herbal medicines of unknown origin for a long time,…. A 45-year-old female teacher who lives in New Taipei City started in 2010. Taking Chinese herbal medicine…”

SET Sanli News Network: “Three of them had excessive blood lead. The problem of lead water pipes has been ruled out. They may be related to the consumption of Chinese medicine and their occupations. One of them is a man who runs a bus, the other has been engaged in soldering for more than 30 years, and one A female teacher has been taking Chinese medicine for 5 years.”

TTV News: “Both cases have a long-term habit of taking Chinese herbal medicine. Among them, this 75-year-old man from Taipei City has also had kidney dialysis for 25 years.”

The title is not guilty of murder… the facts are covered up

In fact, I carefully checked the relevant reports and found that the two New Taipei citizens with high blood lead levels were caused by taking “Chinese herbal medicine of unknown origin” instead of taking Chinese medicine! So why did everyone know that blood lead was tested only after taking Chinese medicine? This has something to do with people reading the news and reporters’ headings.

Traditional Chinese medicine has long been burdened with the notoriety of “containing heavy metals”, “excessive pesticides,” and even “taking Chinese medicine to dialysis the kidneys.” However, in fact, finding a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner to prescribe treatment will not make people dialysis. Even from the health insurance database, taking Chinese medicine will reduce the risk of diabetic dialysis! (2015/3/16 China Times Newsletter)

Source: National Health Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare

However, the reason for the high rate of dialysis in Taiwan is actuallyIt is the implementation of health insurance! It is the implementation of health insurance! It is the implementation of health insurance!(Because it is important, I say it three times) Quoting Dr. Hong Haoyun’s article:“Diabetic nephropathy” accounts for about half, and “hypertensive nephropathy” accounts for about 30%, The rest are the problems of drug abuse, acute infections, and autoimmune diseases.

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Unknown Chinese herbal medicine ≠ Chinese medicine

For a long time, many people have not figured out what Chinese medicine is.Chinese medicine is a medicine applied under the guidance of Chinese medicine theory, In Taiwan, it refers to the medicinal materials recorded in Chinese official and various Chinese herbal books as traditional Chinese medicine. Simply put, as long as it is not used under the guidance of Chinese medicine theory, any medicine cannot be regarded as Chinese medicine!

Source: Apple Daily

Although it is said that Chinese medicinal materials are used, there is still a possibility of eating problems without a qualified Chinese medicine doctor’s diagnosis and a prescription based on the theory of Chinese medicine! In the past few years, there was a news that a Chinese medicine practitioner took Longdanxiegan Decoction, a scientific Chinese medicine, for 13 years, which caused kidney failure and dialysis for compensation by the pharmaceutical company (link to Apple Daily in 2012). But this is entirely the problem of the Chinese medicine practitioner himself!There is no medicine that can be taken for more than ten years without changing, And did not prescribe prescriptions according to one’s own syndrome type and physique. Such Chinese medicine is unqualified!

In addition to qualified Chinese medicine practitioners, the source of medicinal materials is also a very important issue! It is often seen in the market that vendors put medicinal materials on the ground or on the table for the public to buy, but will these medicinal materials of unknown origin be safe to eat? To buy medicinal materials, you still have to go to a qualified Chinese pharmacy or Chinese medicine dealer. Only when you know that you have a “Chinese medicine dealer license” issued by the government, it is guaranteed!

Does Chinese medicine contain heavy metals and pesticides? There is an inspection mechanism to check!

A friend asked that more than 90% of Taiwan’s Chinese medicinal materials are imported from the mainland, so there is no need to worry about heavy metals and pesticides? In fact, the Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the Ministry of Health and Welfare has been checking the “Chinese medicinal materials border management” mechanism for this part since the Republic of China in 102! (Q & A for border management of Chinese medicinal materials)


To put it simply, border inspection is to implement import inspections based on the items that have ranked first in terms of import volume over the years. The ten items of red dates, huangqi, angelica, licorice, rehmannia, poria, chuanxiong, white peony, eucommia and atractylodes are randomly selected. Check.OverallApproximately 55% of Chinese herbal medicines are included in the inspection items, And is under continuous review.

Chinese medicine listing
The listing process of Chinese medicinal materials is framed as a mechanism unique to Taiwan. (Also refer to Kang Jian’s article: Deciphering the Safety of Chinese Medicine/How do you get the Chinese medicine you take?)

In the second edition of the Taiwan Pharmacopoeia, there are already many pesticide and heavy metal residue standards for Chinese medicinal materials, but because they have not been included in border inspections, the sampling of medicinal materials is even more important. In recent years, local health bureaus have sampled and tested the qualified rate of Chinese medicinal materials sold on the market as high as 90%. However, there are still many Chinese medicines that have not yet established inspection standards, which requires continuous improvement. As for the “chemical agriculture model expansion and Chinese medicinal materials treatment or disease-causing” that has been spread wildly on the Internet a while ago, this is from July 2012 to April 2013 from nine well-known Chinese medicine companies in Beijing, Tianjin, Hong Kong and other cities in mainland China. The test result I bought is not Taiwan! Tweeted^.

In addition, many medicinal materials imported into Taiwan are bought by GMP pharmaceutical companies. At present, many large-scale Chinese medicinal plants have implemented the “Reassuring Chinese Medicinal Materials” certification. Each pharmaceutical factory has its own laboratory, which conducts inspections in accordance with the specifications of the second edition of the Taiwan Pharmacopoeia, and performs processing and packaging according to quality and grade classification. But frankly speaking, there is still room for improvement in the equivalence and medicinal properties of Anxin Chinese herbal medicines, but at least it is much safer.

Taiwan’s unique border inspection mechanism for Chinese medicine!

In fact, most of the world has inspection standards and regulations for Chinese medicinal materials, such as the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, Japanese Pharmacopoeia… etc. However, the border inspection mechanism is exclusive to Taiwan! !

Taiwan is currently an importing country of Chinese medicinal materials. For Chinese medicinal materials to enter Taiwan, they must first have an inspection certificate of origin, and must comply with Taiwan’s regulations and go to the customs for review together with the goods.At the customs in Taiwan, there is a unique border inspection of Chinese medicinal materials in the world before entering the customs.. Although it is impossible to conduct random inspections on all Chinese medicinal materials, at least more than half of the imported Chinese medicinal materials are inspected. Only after passing the inspection will they come to Taiwan, and the pharmaceutical factory must pass the inspection mechanism of each GMP pharmaceutical factory before it can be made into concentrated Chinese medicine.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine
Source: Ministry of Health and Welfare

Taiwan’s GMP pharmaceutical factories also need to undergo regular inspections and on-site inspections by the Ministry of Health and Welfare every year to comply with the regulations to obtain GMP certification. However, it is only safer than the top five pharmaceutical companies, while other pharmaceutical companies are relatively less complete in terms of insufficient equipment, laboratory conditions, storage methods and transportation methods…

As for Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and other countries, although they have inspection mechanisms, they do not have inspection mechanisms prior to entry; while the European Union, the United States… and other countries classify Chinese medicinal materials as food-grade, and there is no drug-grade inspection standard. . Therefore, if Chinese herbal medicines are used in Taiwan, if they are provided by qualified doctors, pharmaceutical companies, or pharmacies, there is less need to worry about pesticides and heavy metals!

The point is: find qualified Chinese medicine practitioners and qualified Chinese herbal medicines!

It is relatively safe to use Chinese medicinal materials in Taiwan, but the long-standing medical habits of the people and the disadvantages of self-administration have made it more likely that they only prefer to seek secret doctors rather than qualified doctors. In addition, the underground radio station sells medicine, asks God to ask God to buy herbs… etc., somehow it makes Chinese medicine stigmatize, which is very unfair to qualified Chinese medicine practitioners!

The safety of Chinese medicine is very important! According to Taiwan’s environment, the five cores of “stop, watch, listen, choose, and use” have also been set. “Stop” means to stop improper medical treatment, drug purchase and medication behavior. “Seeing” means that when you see a doctor, you should find a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner for diagnosis and treatment, and you should explain it clearly to the doctor. “Listening” means listening to professional Chinese medicine doctors and pharmacists, “selecting” means buying safe and effective Chinese medicine, and “using” means following the doctor’s instructions when using Chinese medicine.

Source: Chinese Medicine Safety Net of the Department of Chinese Medicine, Ministry of Health and Welfare

Therefore, the most important thing is to find qualified Chinese medicine practitioners and qualified Chinese herbal medicines! Let’s shout out a few times together,Stop stigmatizing Chinese and Western medicines! ! !Stop stigmatizing Chinese and Western medicines! ! !Stop stigmatizing Chinese and Western medicines! ! !

Originally published in the blog of Chinese physician Lin Youyan.

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