- Title: Chinese herbal remedies in high demand as coronavirus spreads in New York
- Date: 9th March 2020
- Summary: WUHAN, HUBEI PROVINCE, CHINA (RECENT - FEBRUARY 22, 2020) (REUTERS) DRIVING SHOT OF EMPTY BRIDGE DRIVING SHOT OF EMPTY ROAD DRIVING SHOT OF EMPTY TUNNEL
- Keywords: Chinese herbal medicine Chinese herbs Kamwo TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine coronavirus herbal medicine herbs
- Reuters ID: LVA006C4BWRWN
- Location: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES / WUHAN, HUBEI PROVINCE + BEIJING, CHINA / INTERNET
- City: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES / WUHAN, HUBEI PROVINCE + BEIJING, CHINA / INTERNET
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:00:14
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: Kamwo Meridian Herbs, a shop in the heart of New York's Chinatown, said customer demand for traditional Chinese remedies for respiratory and other ailments have gone up since March 1, the day New York announced its first case of the novel coronavirus, though the herb shop was worried about its shipments coming in from China.
"We are concerned," said Thomas Leung, CEO of Kamwo Herbs. "And that's just pertaining to my shipment coming up. Six months down the line, we have another shipment coming, we have no idea what that's going to look like because it depends on what the situation on the ground is, how long this whole episode is going to take. So you see now the beginning of a lot of businesses trying to stock up more. And we're cautiously trying to stock up more and not trigger a panic. But, you don't know, like you have a few people buying. And next thing you know, there's going to be a stampede in terms of buying merchandise."
To counter the outbreak in China, which has reported nearly 81,000 cases, the government initiated a series of emergency research programs that include traditional Chinese medicines, which are widely used in the world's most populous nation.
Last year, the World Health Organization formally recognized traditional medical therapies such as acupuncture and herbal supplementation medicine, conferring more mainstream recognition of the practices, which date back more than 2,500 years.
At Kamwo, prescription orders for herb formulas used to treat flu-like symptoms and boost the immune system almost doubled since late February as confirmed cases of coronavirus started spreading across the United States.
On a recent afternoon, the store was bustling with activity as the delicate scent of medicinal herbs wafted through the air. Against the backdrop of an apothecary cabinet, workers loaded herbs onto old-fashioned weighing scales as customers placed orders for formulas that include honeysuckle, cinnamon twig, peony root and other substances.
Patients infected by the coronavirus, which has already contributed to at least 22 deaths in the United States as of Monday and nearly 4,000 worldwide, often present symptoms such as fever and cough, similar to those found in influenza patients.
To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19.
With demand so high, herb purveyors and practitioners have become concerned about a growing supply crunch for certain herbs that come almost exclusively from China.
Mayway, a Chinese medicine business in San Francisco, said on its website that it had experienced an "unusual increase in ordering quantities" and asked its customers to limit their orders to what was needed. It said it anticipated supply delays "due to the low volume of container ships currently leaving China," according to its website.
Worldwide, traditional medicine, including Chinese practices, generate some $60 billion a year, according to a WHO Bulletin.
(Production by Hussein Al Waaile, Roselle Chen and Maria Caspani)
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