The Department of Health (DH) today (December 31) published reference standards on safety and quality for 42 commonly used Chinese Materia Medica (CMM) in Phase V of the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards (HKCMMS).
"In parallel with the growth of Chinese herbal medicine, there is the challenge to establish quality control standards for commonly used CMM. In providing a stronger evidence-based reference on the safety and quality of herbal medicines, the HKCMMS helps to address safety and quality issues such as contamination with heavy metals and other contaminants," a DH spokesman said.
"The development of reference standards not only constitutes an important foundation for the manufacture and quality assurance of herbal preparations, but also has greatly contributed to our understanding of Chinese medicine," the spokesman continued.
The criteria for selection of CMM for the research include the following:
* common usage in the local community;
* international concern in respect of their safety and quality;
* high economic value in the local market; and
* priority being accorded to the CMM listed in the two schedules of the Chinese Medicine Ordinance.
Research work was conducted by research teams from six local universities, namely the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the City University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Baptist University, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the University of Hong Kong.
An International Advisory Board (IAB) comprising local, Mainland and overseas experts was appointed to advise on the research's principles, methodologies, parameters and analytical methods. The Government Laboratory developed analytical methods for determination of heavy metals, pesticide residues and mycotoxins, and participated in inter-laboratory verification.
The State Food and Drug Administration as well as the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People's Republic of China also provide valuable advice and support for the project.
The publication, HKCMMS Volume V, sets out the names, sources and descriptions of the 42 herbs, as well as methods of identification (including microscopic identification, thin-layer chromatographic identification and high-performance liquid chromatographic fingerprinting).
The 42 herbs are Acori Tatarinowii Rhizoma, Apocyni Veneti Folium, Arecae Pericarpium, Artemisiae Argyi Folium, Asteris Radix et Rhizoma, Baphicacanthis Cusiae Rhizoma et Radix, Cibotii Rhizoma, Cinnamomi Ramulus, Croci Stigma, Cyperi Rhizoma, Dipsaci Radix, Eupatorii Herba, Farfarae Flos, Gynostemmatis Herba, Hyperici Japonici Herba, Kochiae Fructus, Lonicerae Japonicae Caulis, Lophatheri Herba, Lysimachiae Herba, Mori Ramulus, Morindae Officinalis Radix, Oroxyli Semen, Perillae Caulis, Persicae Semen, Phyllanthi Fructus, Plantaginis Semen, Platycladi Cacumen, Polygoni Avicularis Herba, Rubiae Radix et Rhizoma, Selaginellae Herba, Sophorae Fructus, Spatholobi Caulis, Trachelospermi Caulis et Folium, Trichosanthis Semen, Trigonellae Semen, Tritici Levis Fructus, Tsaoko Fructus, Violae Herba, Visci Herba, Viticis Fructus, Xanthii Fructus and Zanthoxyli Radix.
The DH will issue letters to Chinese medicine trade associations, wholesalers and manufacturers of Chinese medicines and representatives of laboratories, inviting them to briefing sessions.
The standards for the 42 CMM will be put into use for a trial period of 12 months, starting from April 2013, upon completion of all briefing sessions for traders and laboratories.
Highlighted in the 2009 Policy Address and again reiterated in the 2011 Policy Address, the Chief Executive emphasised the importance of expediting the setting of standards for CMM commonly used in Hong Kong, and increasing the number of CMM covered by the HKCMMS to about 200 by 2012. With the concerted efforts of the research teams from six local universities and the China Medical University of Taiwan, the goal of establishing standards for around 200 CMM was reached when the IAB met in December 2012 to endorse the research results of the last batch of around 60 CMM.
The HKCMMS Volume V is accessible at the DH website (www.cmd.gov.hk/html/b5/service/hkcmms/vol5/main.html). Printed copies of the publication will be available for sale from early April 2013.
Limited copies of CDs containing HKCMMS Volume V can be obtained from the following locations:
* The Chinese Medicine Division of the DH on 16/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon;
* The HKCMMS Office of the Chinese Medicine Division on 2/F, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong Street, Kowloon; and
* The Secretariat of the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong on 22/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
Ends/Monday, December 31, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:51