Fri, Nov 26, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Technology may refine Chinese medicine

Staff Writer, with CNA

Modern technology could make Chinese medicinal powders more easily available to consumers, the Department of Health said as it unveiled a new technique for converting herbs into powders.

Traditional Chinese medicinal powders have many disadvantages, said Yu Chien-chih (余建志), the leading researcher on the project, which was commissioned by the department’s Committee on Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy.

For example, the ingredients in the powder could deteriorate owing to moisture in the air, the taste is sometimes too bitter and the medication volume too bulky, said Yu, also an assistant professor at China Medical University School of Pharmacy.

ANTI-MOISTURE

To solve the problem, Yu first applied an anti-moisture coating to the powder grains, which preserves them for longer periods, decreases unpleasant taste and increases the stability of the ingredients.

With the medicine humidity-proof, he lowered the amount of excipient, a substance of no therapeutic value, but added to give it form. As a result, the medicine is more concentrated and patients can take less per day.

“Of 25g of traditional medicine consumed [today], about half of it is starch, a common form of excipient,” Yu said. “When refined, the 25g is reduced to 8.6g, only about one fourth of its original weight.”

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