Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Caution about substitution of Chinese herbal medicines Flos Campsis by Flos Daturae Metelis (with photos)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (August 24) advised members of the public not to consume a Chinese herb called "Flos Campsis" purchased from a licensed Chinese herbal medicines retailer, Wah Keung Medicine Co., in Tai Hing Estate, Tuen Mun.

     It was suspected that the herb was substituted by a toxic herb Flos Daturae Metelis.  

     DH received a notification from the Hospital Authority on August 23 about a suspected poisoning case involving a 57-year-old woman, who has a history of taking a self-prepared herbal decoction.

     "The lady developed symptoms suggestive of atropine and scopolamine poisoning including severe dizziness, blurred vision, generalised weakness, hot sensation, dilated pupils and tachycardia 30 minutes after taking a herbal decoction on August 13," a spokesman for the department said.

     The herbs, bought from the Chinese herbal medicines retailer above, were for eczema. Drug remnant and urine tests performed by the laboratory detected tropane alkaloids (atropine and scopolamine) which further confirmed the clinical suspicion.

     Her symptoms subsided after admission to Tuen Mun Hospital. She was discharged on August 14.

     DH's investigation today at the retailer revealed that  Flos Campsis was substituted by Flos Daturae Metelis. DH has seized all stocks of "Flos Campsis" from the retailer for further chemical analysis. Investigation continues.

     Flos Campsis and Flos Daturae Metelis are two different Chinese herbal medicines.

     Flos Campsis does not contain tropane alkaloids. The herb itself is not toxic. It is indicated for removal of "blood-heat", "blood-stasis" and "wind".

     On the other hand, Flos Daturae Metelis, which contains tropane alkaloids, is for relief of cough, alleviation of pain and arrest spasm. Flos Daturae Metelis is one of the potent and toxic Chinese herbal medicines in Schedule 1 of Chinese Medicine Ordinance.

     The two herbs are remarkably different in plant origin, indication and precautions. Caution should be taken during dispensing to prevent substitution by mistake.

     As a precaution, members of the public who have purchased "Flos Campsis" from the involved retailer are advised to stop using it and seek advice from their attending Chinese medicine practitioner.

     Members of the public who feel unwell after taking the herb should seek advice from healthcare professionals.

Ends/Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Issued at HKT 20:52


Photo Photo
Print this page