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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Cost of traditional medicine shoots up

By Guo Anfei and Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)

08:59, March 02, 2012

A staff worker shows Yunnan-produced sanqi, a kind of herbal medicine, in a pharmacy in Qingdao, Shandong province. The drought in Yunnan province has resulted in a TCM price hike. (China Daily/Yu Fangping)

GUANGZHOU / KUNMING - It was too much for housewife Xie Xiaolan. For once, the fish head soup she often made for her family would have to do without the tianma.

The cost of the herbal medicine, made from the starchy roots of orchids, was becoming too expensive.

It was the same for other herbal ingredients used in traditional Chinese medicine due to the severe drought in Yunnan province, the principal source.

"My husband and I frequently suffer from light migraine, and doctors told us tianma can help cure migraine and headache," Xie, 47, told China Daily on Wednesday.

"But now I have to cook the soup less often, maybe every two or three months, because of the price hike in traditional Chinese medicine," added Xie, who lives in Yuexiu district of Guangzhou.

One kilogram of tianma now sells for 360 yuan ($57) at Taojin agricultural market in the city, a rise of more than 10 percent over the past two months.

"Many friends and neighbors who frequently use the TCM in herbal soup to cure diseases also plan to cut back use, unless the prices of the herbs fall," Xie added.

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