SUN TEN Quarterly Newsletter Fall 2012: Herbal Medicinal Safety and Professional Procurement


Herbal Medicinal Safety and Professional Procurement


by Sun Ten Herb Sourcing Team


Chinese herbal medicinals are mainly produced in Mainland China. More than 90% of the herbal medicinals used in Taiwan are from Mainland China. Governments of various countries have started to set up management organizations and establish management criteria, among which safety, quality and effectiveness are the common evaluation standards.


The curative effects of Chinese herbal medicinals are affirmed by over two thousand years of traditional medical practice. Through modern scientific research on medicinal efficacies and clinical trials, we can reassure their curative effects and dosages. Currently, the quality of the Chinese herbal medicinals used by various countries are mainly evaluated in terms of dryness, foreign bodies, impurities, extraction ratios, contents of marker constituents, and fingerprints. Traditional Chinese herbal medicinals are well recognized from their long-term curative effects and safety in clinical practice. However, due to environmental changes (natural and artificial) and commercialization, the safety of Chinese herbal medicinals need to reexamined. Through modern scientific testing and verification, they can continue to provide healing benefits to the public. A summary of recent safety issues regarding Chinese herbal medicinals include: the use of correct medicinal species, trace amounts of toxins contaminating medicinals, toxic metals, pesticide residues, improper processing (such as sulfur fumigation), improper additives (such as chemicals used to increase medicinal weight), microbial contaminations, aflatoxin, and improper usage.


The procurement of traditional medicinals is done through dealers. Most of the dealers differentiate the quality of the medicinals by traditional identification techniques, such as their appearances, colors, smells, and tastes. However, this method cannot properly address the above-mentioned safety issues anymore. The main objective of the pharmaceutical GMP is traceability. Once Sun Ten Pharmaceutical developed foreign investment in Mainland China, we started close long-term cooperation with medicinal suppliers. This was done to obtain the medicinals from their places of origin and manage and control their processing procedures such as cleaning, processing, cutting, packaging, storage, and transportation in order to ensure medicinal quality and safety. Over the decades, we have accumulated abundant experience and provided good support to encourage the stability of medicinal quality.



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